Author: R J Palacio
Audience: Middle Grade
Taken from Goodreads
I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others.
Wonder is a middle grade book that I have been planning on picking up for a while, mainly because I have a facial disfigurement, much like the main character August. Mine is not as severe as August, but I still resonated with a lot of the struggles that August was going through, and felt like they were well represented. It is not often that a story is written featuring a character with a facial disfigurement, where they are not the villain, which was picked up on in the book. So it was really good to see some good representation, especially within a middle grade book.
All of the characters within Wonder had their own personalities, and while they may have had their faults, they were normal. There was nothing flashy about who they were or what they did; they all acted the way that I have seen people act in real life. Whether it was Via, August’s sister and her feeling left out due to her parents only concentrating on her brother. Or August and all of the emotions that he went through when joining a new school and having to face his peers. Or even the other parents or people on the street with their staring and then quick looks away. Nothing was glorified or glamorised from the ordinary reality of everyday life.
In Wonder there are a range of different pov’s, and while I liked seeing the events from other people’s perspective, I would have loved to have spent longer with some characters and less with others. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more from Via and the struggles that she was facing, as I felt like there was more to be told about her. In contrast, I think the story would have been fine without the pov of Via’s boyfriend. We only meet him a couple of pages before the start of his pov, so it didn’t feel as natural as the others. He also doesn’t add a lot to the story, so I feel like the time dedicated to him could have been better used on other characters.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Wonder and found it to be an uplifting read, while also addressing some topics that are generally not addressed. Within its pages it covers facial disfigurements/medical issues, bullying, the loss of friendships, pet bereavement along with many others. It is a book that I think should be given in schools and read by everyone, as it does show what it is like to be different, and the issues that no one ever thinks about when they are not different.
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