Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Author: R.J. Palacio
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Middle Grade
Source: Purchased e-book
Amazon     Barnes and Noble     IndieBound
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads:

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

My Thoughts

Wow.  This book . . . yeah, it is totally amazing!  I have been hearing a lot of Newbery buzz about Wonder (it wasn’t even a honor book, which it totally should have been!), and it’s definitely been on my radar since it was released last year.  But I never picked it up.  A work colleague has been telling me for months that I need to read Wonder.  And I do want to read more middle grade books this year, so I put the audiobook on hold.  You guys, I should not have dragged my feet on reading this.  It is one of the best books I’ve read in awhile.

So you may notice this isn’t an Audio Review.  That’s because I listened to only 1 disc of Wonder, and needed to read it more than when I was just in my car.  So Sunday night, I ended up buying the ebook for $10!  I never spend that kind of money on ebooks (it seems really expensive for something I can’t put on display like a physical copy).  But I HAD to read it right then, so I splurged.  That is how amazing Wonder is.

This is one of those books that makes the reader FEEL ALL THE FEELS!  I felt happiness, sadness, frustration, courage, love, adoration, sympathy!  Seriously.  What I think people can learn most from reading is empathy.  By connecting to different characters, and reading their emotions and reactions to different situations helps people be empathic towards others.  Wonder demonstrates this perfectly!

August, or Auggie, is the most adorable little boy.  He has been dealt a bad hand, being born with a facial deformity.  But Auggie is an amazing kid.  He’s not perfect, and he definitely gets frustrated and upset by his appearance.  Palacio developed this amazing personality for Auggie, and it is so genuine.  Starting school as a fifth grader is terrifying for Auggie, but he does it, and he does it was grace.

Palacio doesn’t have us only follow Auggie, though.  We also get a chance inside Via’s (Auggie’s sister), Summer’s, Jack’s, Justin’s and Miranda’s mind.  It’s amazing, and she does such an amazing job explaining each kids reaction to seeing Auggie for the first time.  The whole cast of characters was just amazing.

I think my favorite part of this whole book is how it made me think and feel about my own family.  Somehow it made me appreciated my family, knowing that if I was born with Auggie’s condition, my family would love me unconditionally just as Auggie’s family loves him.

You guys, Wonder is one of those books that makes you fall in love with nearly the whole cast of characters, and at the same time feel closer to your family.  This is one of the books that gets a big, satisfied sigh upon finishing it.  Also, I wanted to pick it right back up and read it again.  And, luckily, since I bought the ebook, I will have it with me always 🙂

Seriously, you guys should read this one.  Even if you don’t normally read middle grade books, I feel like this is one of those books that everyone will love.  Here’s the book trailer:

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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12 Responses to Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

  1. Candice says:

    I have been major hesitant to read this book, despite all the WONDERFUL reviews I’ve read about it. I feel like I really should, but at the same time really don’t want to. Sigh… oh well. Maybe one day I will! 🙂 Glad you loved it so much; your review on it is great!

    • Quinn says:

      You know, I sort of felt the same way. I was hesitant to read Wonder. But, it was amazing. very uplifting, and also very genuine. I hope you give it a try. I think you will enjoy it.

  2. I think I will recommend this one to Sis 🙂 Great review!

  3. Oh wow, you know you’re in trouble when you unnecessarily spring for the e-book! I’ve had that happen when I left a hard copy somewhere. You know it’s love when… I don’t usually go middle grade (except the classics. which are GRADE-LESS! see, e.g. Anne of Green Gables!) but wow! You really sold this one!

  4. Suzanne says:

    OH yes, Wonder is pretty special. I was a little surprised it was overlooked in the awards, too. (Have you read the Newbery winner, The One and Only Ivan? It’s quite special, too). Both books are ones that I think need to be read by lots and lots people, not just their target audience. Wonder makes me want to be a better person.

    • Quinn says:

      I was also surprised that Wondr didn’t at least get a Newbery Honor. Actually I was VERY disappointed. I haven’t read The One and Only Ivan. I have a hard time getting into animal main character books.

  5. stellem says:

    Eek!! So thrilled to see your high praise and enthusiasm for this one!!! I need to read it. I neeeeeed to read it!

  6. This sounds like a really cute book. I don’t read too many middle grade novels, but do like to occasionally. I have nephews that are that age though and I always like to keep an eye out for good books for them. Great review.

    • Quinn says:

      If you do decide to read anything MG, I would definitely look into Wonder. It’s actually kind of grade-less, I’d say. I have a hard time believing anyone wouldn’t enjoy it.

  7. Pingback: Wonder by R.J. Palacio | The Lemon-Squash Book Club

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