Wonder // RJ Palacio

Posted on Wednesday, May 29, 2013

This book review was written for my English final, but I decided to post it here because it's a really heartbreaking book that everyone should read.

Wonder by RJ Palacio

When August Pullman was born, his nurse fainted. People looked away in disgust and children ran away from him, screaming. August was never like the other kids. He was born with a series of facial anomalies that necessitated in a lot of surgeries. Most people would probably guess that he looked somewhat normal after 20 surgeries, but although we don’t get an accurate description of his face, he looks anything but normal.  His eyes are placed almost halfway down his cheeks, his lower eyelids are pulled down and his his upper lip has a big gap.

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

When he turns ten, his parents decide that it’s a good idea for August to start public school for the first time, and this book follows August through fifth grade. It is told from multiple first-person points of view, including August’s himself, his sister Via’s and some of his friends. It is definitely a character-driven book and even though you don’t necessarily agree with the characters, you always get where they’re coming from. This made most of the characters in the book phenomenal. They were realistic and flawed, but easy to understand, and I was rooting for them throughout the entire book. However I felt like some of the characters, including August’s parents were a bit too perfect which pulled down my rating of the book a bit. 

Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.

Even though I liked most of the characters, I felt like some of them were a bit unnecessary and made the story more difficult to follow, like Via’s boyfriend Justin. There were a couple of chapters from his point of view in this book, but they didn’t add anything to the story. Even though I enjoyed the length of the book, some of those parts could have been cut out off the book.
My favorite character in this book, however, was Via. Although she never got any attention from her parents, she never once complained and she was always supporting of her brother. To me, she was the most relatable character.

Your deeds are like your monuments. Built with memories instead of stone.

The book falls under several genres; Middle Grade, Young Adult, Realistic and Contemporary fiction. I think it fits for children and teenagers over the age of 10 as well as parents and teachers. The style of the book is simple, although the plot can get complicated.

Somethings you just can’t explain. You don’t even try. All your sentences would jumble up like a giant knot if you opened your mouth.

The book touches on a lot of difficult topics, like having a disability, bullying and death. I feel like the book created a really strong role model for children with facial anomalies as well as giving people a hint to what it’s like being August.

Here’s what i think: The only reason I’m not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way.”

All in all I give the book 4/5 stars. It was really amazing and heartbreaking, with great character development throughout the book, but some of the parts were unnecessary.

“Everybody deserves a standing ovation because we all overcometh the world.


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