Book Spotlight: WONDER by R.J. Palacio

About the Book: Middle Grade Contemporary




Hardcover: 315 pages

Publisher: Knopf

Release Date: February 14, 2012


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. (Source: Goodreads)

About the Author:

R. J. PALACIO lives in NYC with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For more than twenty years, she was an art director and graphic designer, designing book jackets for other people while waiting for the perfect time in her life to start writing her own novel. But one day several years ago, a chance encounter with an extraordinary child in front of an ice cream store made R. J. realize that the perfect time to write that novel had finally come. Wonder is her first novel. (Source: Goodreads)


My Thoughts:

I actually listened to the audiobook of Wonder, which probably made for a more emotional read because I could “hear” Auggie’s voice–his heartbreak, his hope, his wonder, his happiness.  I could totally relate to Auggie’s mom and how she desperately tried to protect him from the outside world, which isn’t as nice and tolerant of anyone different from their own selves. But at the same time, she wanted to let Auggie have a normal, comfortable life–which is what Auggie wanted for himself as well–and so she had to learn to let him go…into 5th grade at Beecher Prep.

The cast of characters are wonderfully flawed and realistic. Some of the students reacted exactly the way you would expect them to react to Auggie and his deformity. But Auggie is a brave boy who, while realistic in his expectations, is also like any other kid–he wanted friends, acceptance, and to have fun. But there will be lots of lessons to be learned–both for the people around Auggie, and Auggie himself.

A great, heartwarming read, I’d recommend this to anyone, despite the MG label. It’s a wonderful way to learn compassion and empathy, and realize that we–no matter what we have going on with ourselves–are not so different from everyone else. We all want to be loved for who we really are.


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