Wonderfully heartwarming: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Thank God for friends with kids whose schools require them to read this so I didn’t have to buy a copy. Not that I don’t think this is worthy of buying–quite the contrary. I think everyone should read this and I agree that this should be required reading in middle school.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial difference that prevented him from going to a mainstream school –until now. He’s about the enter fifth 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?

It’s just that I finished this book in less than a day. It’s a catchy and easy read, and if you need a cup of warm chicken soup and a hug in the form of a YA read, then you should devour this!

So I’ll make this simple. I’ll start with what I liked about Wonder:

  • The song excerpts in every chapter. Wonder by Natalie Merchant is one of my favourite songs and I love how it perfectly suited the story.
  • That almost all main characters (that are kids or young adults) had chapters so the reader can see their point of view and narration.
  • The overall heartwarming vibe of the story.
  • ALL the characters seemed loveable! Everybody! They’re all relatable and likeable, even the adults.
  • I’m glad that this wasn’t the typical us kids vs adults YA theme
  • Whilst Auggie’s character was adorable, I liked that almost every character were given a few chapters of narration so the reader can get their POV
  • The attention to detail in character growth. The part where (SPOILER ALERT) Daisy the family dog passed away and everyone in the family was busy grieving, Auggie found himself alone to comfort himself for the first time. You can see that it was at this point where he has learned to take care of himself and be independent, and that he wasn’t tucked to bed by either parent or Via.
  • The references to YA classics. Auggie and his mum were reading The Hobbit, and there were a couple of references that applied to what Auggie was going through. Same with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, which Auggie was reading when he went off to summer camp (or the equivalent).
  • The overall feel-good vibe

Now while Wonder is well-loved by many and it really is impossible to not like this book, I really have one comment on what I wish was there. So here’s the one thing I didn’t like about Wonder:

  • Where is the POV of the ‘bad guy’ Julian? I wish this was also explored to give balance and understanding where the nastiness is coming from. It was an enjoyable feel-good read, but you hear just the ‘good people’ side. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I saw a scene where Julian was going to get suspended for a couple of days (actually in the book it was Jack) and in that scene, you can see where Julian got the entitled attitude (from his parents) – although this was also seen in the book via the parents’ email correspondence with Mr. Tushman.

What did you think about Wonder?

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