Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Author: R.J. Palacio Website, Twitter
Published: 1 March 2012 (Bodley Head Children's Books)
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, Waterstone's, Book Depository
Source: Borrowed from library.
Plot 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?
This book tells the story of August, who having been homeschooled his whole life is about to start fifth grade - his first ever experience of real school. He's grown used to the stares and comments about his facial disfigurement, but entering a building full of kids who speak their mind and judge quickly provides even more hurdles for August to face.
I really liked this book. I think the thing to remember with this book is that whilst not everyone can relate to August's specific problem, the issues raised in this book are still pretty relatable on the whole. Everyone has been teased because of something about them, or has witnessed teasing around them. It's a pretty cruel world sometimes and people aren't very nice! And although August is somewhat of a unique case, the problems he faces in this book aren't always unique to him.
One of my favourite aspects about the book was the way that the story was told from several characters' point of view. We start off seeing the world through August's eyes, which is a real eye-opening, sad at times, inspirational at others view of the world. Then the book moves around and tells the story from the eyes of his sister and school-friends etc. which was a really enjoyable way to read the story. Each character has their own views on August and getting each person's perspective and getting to see their own flaws and problems was brilliant. I particularly liked hearing about August's sister Via and his friend Jack Will. All the characters had their own things going on and I loved that we got time dedicated to each one.
The overall tone of this book isn't all sad. There's some really great messages weaved into the story about friendship, and the obstacles we all have to face, but it's not at all preachy. I loved seeing how all the kids coped with the bullying that went on in the school and how they viewed their friendships with each other. This book definitely captured that child-like innocence! There were plenty of times I had a huge smile on my face and by the end I was laughing along as I read.
A great contemporary story about friendship and family that'll leave you feeling fuzzy inside. A definite must read.
What to read next: The Fault in our Stars by John Green.
Books like this: House Rules by Jodi Picoult.