06 December, 2015

REVIEW: WONDER by R. J. Palacio

Title: Wonder
Author: R. J. Palacio
Series: -
Genres: YA, Fiction
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Source: Paperback
Pages: 315

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SYNOPSIS: You can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

I saw Wonder on sale on BookDepository and I couldn't help but buying it. It is a stand-alone so I didn't have to deal with "waiting for sequels" or "second books syndrome" etc after reading it. You know, sometimes is good to read just a book. A simple story, instead of a whole complicated one. I had heard about this book before, people told me it was a bittersweet read. I agree.

THE WORLD: The story takes place on Earth. In the US. No magical world, no epic fantasy, but definitely full of wonder.

CHARACTERS: The main character is August "Auggie" Pullman. He is a normal ten year old boy living with his parents and his older sister Olivia "Via", who likes playing videogames, sleeping with his dog Daisy by his side, etc. but he is not seen as normal by the other kids because he was born with a rare genetic disease (actually, a mix of several genetic diseases!) that made his face hideous. The story starts with August as a narrator, when he is about to start his first year of middle school. He had never been to regular school before because of his medical issues and also in part because his parents are very protective of him. He is aware of how rough school is going to be because sadly, you know, kids can be cruel and hurtful, some may mean it and some not but Auggie had to deal with all of them at once... 500 kids staring at you and mocking you... I can't even begin to describe how sad I was while reading all of Auggie's thoughts. My poor brave little boy who I got attached to from page one. Ugh, prepare your tissues. Afterwards, more into the story, the narrations flips between Auggie's and other characters' like Via, and her boyfriend Justin, and Via's ex-bestfriend Miranda. I liked Auggie's and Via's perspectives the best.

LOVE: There is no romantic love involved. This story is about family love and friendship.

PLUS: Everything is a plus. The story is very simple actually, an ugly kid having to go to middle school for the first time ever, yet I cried twice while reading it. Why? because the narration is marvelous and stunning, the story is meaningful, and Auggie is truly a wonder. The book is classified as Fiction but I tell you somewhere in the world there are kids in similar situations to Auggie's, it is not as far from reality as we would like. It is just a sad truth.

MINUS: I don't see any minuses with the story or narration or characters but I do have to say that it could be a touchy subject because the book deals with bullying. It is narrated in a way that I would say is okay even for middle gradders. I actually have a feeling this book was specially targeted to young readers... anyway, no minuses.

OVERALL: 5 stars and goes to the favorites list. As a big proud sister reading Auggie's and Via's thoughts touched me deeply. I could relate to them both for several reasons. Everyone please go read this book. It doesn't matter if you're 50 or 12, I know this book would be good to educate younglings about judging based on appearance but for older readers it is still a delightful read. This book in one word: Wonder-ful.


What did you guys think about WONDER?