Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Don't miss this one.

Halloween is Auggie's favorite holiday, because he can wear a mask.  August Pullman, or Auggie to his family and friends, is an ordinary kid in most ways.  He was born with facial deformities, and despite countless surgeries, he still looks different on the outside.  On the inside, where few people are allowed, he is funny and smart and so so brave. Auggie embarks on a journey much more scary than any surgery - the 5th grade. 

You will be hard-pressed to find any character as courageous as Auggie in children's literature this year.  RJ Palacio gifts her readers with a fast-paced, heart-wrenching, honest look at a great family who was dealt a great challenge. 

Told from different points of view, the reader not only gets to see inside Auggie's mind, but that of his sister, his friends, and even someone who sees his situation from afar.  The role of the sister really got to me (those of you who know me understand why this is so) and I applaud RJ Palacio for giving her such an honest voice.

One of the most powerful parts of the book was not how loudly the other kids made fun of Auggie, it was how QUIET they were.  It sucks to be called names, but it's even worse to be ignored.  The kids at school had a secret game called The Plague, which was compared to the Cheese Touch.  No one could touch Auggie without getting The Plague.  The thing is, all the kids thought he didn't could he not?  This is bullying that no one sees coming.  It's hard to identify, and even harder to stop, but it hurts the worst.

WONDER has stuck with me since I read it, and there are so many scenes I could point to and gush all over, but I don't want to give anything away.  (The Precepts!!!)  Do yourself a favor - read the book, give it to a middle grader to read, and then talk about it. 

If your school has a summer reading Book Club for 9-12 year olds, this book gives you so much to discuss.

Book Extras:
Official Author Website

About the Book:
  • Reading level: Ages 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375869026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375869020

  • About the Author: (from the author's website)
    I live in NYC with my husband, two sons, and two dogs. For many years, I was an art director and book jacket designer, designing covers for countless well-known and not so well-known writers in every genre of fiction and nonfiction. I always wanted to write, though. I kept waiting for the perfect time in my life to start writing, but after more than twenty years of designing book jackets for other people, I realized that the perfect time would never really present itself. It's never the perfect time to start writing a book. So I decided to just go for it. Wonder is my first novel. And no, I didn't design the cover, but I sure do love it.

    twitter: @rjpalacio

    *Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.


    Zibilee said...

    Sandy really loved this book and her review, coupled with hers really makes me want to read this book sooner rather than later. It does sound like the perfect middle-grade book that also makes it as a crossover. Fantastic review today. I can't wait to read this one!

    bermudaonion said...

    I loved this book too. Your point about the Plague is excellent and spot on.

    cathgus said...

    Just saw this review. Can't wait to share it with our middle school librarian and I am anxious to read it. Thanks for posting!

    Meg @ write meg! said...

    Sounds like a very moving story, and the premise reminds me a bit of Marcelo and the Real World (love that one). Definitely going to look for Wonder!

    Prince Of Wales Island Fishing said...

    I read this one as an ARC and loved it- although I don't love the cover. Leah lists it as one of her favorite books and has had my mom read it and now my sister. You're right - it is a great read aloud. I am reading it to fifth grade right now.

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