“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
Synopsis: August Pullman has always been different. Born with a facial abnormality, August is about to start fifth grade and will be going to a real school for the first time. All he wants is to be ordinary, but it’s hard to be when you stand out. Wonder by R.J. Palacio is told from multiple perspectives, following Auggie’s journey of learning what it truly looks like to be ordinary and the joy of being born extraordinary.
If you haven’t read this, please stand up. Great, now get your butt down to your local bookstore (preferably Half Price Books because reasons) and purchase it. Call in sick tomorrow and read it. You’ll thank me later. As Auggie’s friend Summer would say, “Cool beans.”
Feelings: I am feeling all of the feels. I loved everything about this book. I loved Auggie’s POV – his voice, his humor, his heart. I don’t always love multiple POV narrating, but this one was done right. When a new character took over, we backtracked just enough to see their side of what just happened, then the story continued forward. I wanted to wrap Auggie up in a warm hug, high five his friends, and text his mom, “You’re going to be ok.” I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to text a fictional character before…but somehow it feels normal right now.
Issues: I had zero issues. I didn’t feel as thought anything was missing or unrealistic. In fact, I felt the opposite. This story is so real and relevant in our world and in our schools, that I vote it should be mandatory for all humans of all ages to read it. Is that a thing? Can I make that a thing?
Characters: Somehow Palacio perfectly captures the minds of middle school students in her writing. All characters have their flaws, but thus is life. Everyone learns a lesson in some fashion and the reader is along for the journey, sympathizing and nodding in understanding. One incredibly moving aspect of this book is its message on kindness. It’s not enough to tell kids to be kind to each other anymore. Through the eyes of August Pullman, we see what it’s like to be on the other side of dirty looks, terrified staring, and ugly words.
Final thoughts: I’ve decided that this will be the book I read out loud to my students this year. This story is dripping with authenticity, which is my word for the year. It’s such a quick and easy read, but it packs a punch. I think this is not only a great read for middle school aged readers, but parents can benefit from picking it up as well. Being in middle school during this day and age is so different from how it was even 10 years ago. If you can get into the world and minds of your kids by simply reading a book, wouldn’t you?
Pick this up if you liked:
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (similar themes as Wonder)
Smile by Raina Telgemeier (a great, funny graphic novel about a middle grade kid’s everyday life)
Goodreads rating: 4.42/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.8/5
My rating: 5/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn