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819 of 836 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My son is like Auggie and this book is incredible.
My 5th grader has craniofacial anomalies and I feel that this book could not have been better written. RJ Palacio caught Auggie's voice so well and captured his challenges and strengths so beautifully that I still can't believe that she doesn't have a child who is living this life. I'm not going to try to summarize the story as many other reviewers have done that - I...
Published on March 17, 2012 by Sarah Jones

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522 of 634 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I /wanted/ to give it a better rating...
...but I couldn't. Here, I'll explain why.

First Sentence: I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid.

How I Acquired the Book: Borrowed from my town's library.

The Review: When I first read the synopsis of this book, my thoughts instantly turned to a friend of mine who had a facial anomaly, just like the main character, August, in this...
Published on June 11, 2012 by thehydrogenpoptart


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819 of 836 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My son is like Auggie and this book is incredible., March 17, 2012
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This review is from: Wonder (Hardcover)
My 5th grader has craniofacial anomalies and I feel that this book could not have been better written. RJ Palacio caught Auggie's voice so well and captured his challenges and strengths so beautifully that I still can't believe that she doesn't have a child who is living this life. I'm not going to try to summarize the story as many other reviewers have done that - I just want to talk about the emotional resonance of the work.

The sheer truth of Auggie's journey is what meant the most to me. There are so many small moments that struck me to the core - e.g. Auggie's feelings about Halloween, the way Auggie has an easier time when his classmates understand that there's more to him than his face, Auggie's struggle to move past his need for coddling, even the food that Auggie eats. The most emotional moment for me came toward the end of the book when Auggie's father tells him that he loves the way Auggie looks, because that it exactly how my husband and I feel about our son.

I wish that everyone would read this book, because it will help them understand the humanity of my son and everyone like him.
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146 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it. Share it. Talk about it., February 21, 2012
This review is from: Wonder (Hardcover)
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It takes a lot of skill to weave the voices of eight narrators into one compelling story, and Palacio does it so well. WONDER is a tremendous debut, a novel that coaxes out grins even as it wrings out tears. I really loved this one, and I pushed it into my middle grade son's hands as soon as I finished.

Auggie is a fifth grader. His face is so badly deformed, he spends much of his preschool years hiding under a toy astronaut helmet. When he starts attending school for the first time, he makes enemies and friends, enduring the worst kind of taunts and enjoying the best kinds of friendships.

WONDER is Auggie's story, but it's also ours. WONDER captures the dual nature of childhood, both how cruel and how tender we can be with one another. It's about the wounds we inflict and the scars we carry, all the things that teach us to do things differently the next time.

WONDER is the kind of story made for curling up and sharing, for talking and connecting. WONDER is worth talking about.
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160 of 171 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh -li-Via, August 22, 2012
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This review is from: Wonder (Hardcover)
I am reading this out loud to my 9 year old whose taste in reading matter is beyond her reading ability. I also grew up with a brother with a disability. I disagree with the reviewer who said it detracted from the story that there were many narrators. In particular I found when I got to Via's chapters, and her description of the ambiguity of her feelings, how she sometimes felt overlooked, and the relief of going away to be with her grandma, I had a hard time keeping reading, and was choking back the tears. I never understood about why I had this particularly close relationship with my grandma, or that some of these ambiguous feelings could be common to siblings of children who are different. Like Via I love my brother, and was always fiercely defensive of him, and like her I struggled with my human weaknesses around him.
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157 of 179 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Story! You will tear up and Cheer!, February 14, 2012
This review is from: Wonder (Hardcover)
August has a face like nothing anyone has ever seen. Like a screaming and running away kind of face. He has accepted that this is the face he has. Now he has to figure out how to cope with a world that has never seen a face like his. He has been homeschooled his whole life and now for 5th grade, his parents want him to go to school. A regular school. With kids who don't know him. Kids who have never seen him. For fifth grade. I know I have always thought that 5th grade is the hardest school year of anyone's life, much less, someone like August.
As we watch him and his classmates grow it is gratifying that none of them are as cruel and heartless as we all know modern children can be. You will tear up and stand up and cheer as you follow along with the life of August, his friends, his sister, her friends and how everyone is affected by what happens in August's life. Yes, everyone deserves a standing ovation, at least once in their lives
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must read for middle schoolers AND their parents!, October 14, 2012
This review is from: Wonder (Hardcover)
A lot of times, the cover alone is what draws me to a book. That was the case for this book. I purchased it at our school Scholastic book sale because the cover and synopsis intrigued me. I have boys that are 11 and 12 and I work at our middle school/high school, so I am familiar with how cruel kids can be. I wanted to see how the author tackled this delicate subject and how realistic she portrayed the classmates. This is Palacio's first novel and I will be watching for future ones from her.

This story broke my heart and as a mom, I tried to imagine myself in the mom's position. Would I have been brave enough to send him "like a lamb to slaughter" as his dad said, or decide it was time he was in the "real world"? For many years, Auggie was protected by his family on outings and his face was only shown when necessary. He wore an astronaut helmet, a hat, or kept his hair long to hide himself from the public. When others saw him, their expressions ranged from shock to horror. The doctor himself fainted when Auggie was born. This type of facial deformation is beyond my imagination and reading stories like this make me appreciate that we were blessed with healthy children. Auggie is a bright and witty child quick with a one-liner and once he had the chance to be himself, others fell in love with him. But, do we give kids like Auggie that chance? One of my favorite lines from Auggie in the book is when he is meeting some students from his new school and one of the asks why he hasn't gotten plastic surgery. Auggie replied, "This is after surgery!". This was the perfect way to lighten the mood and show Auggie's true personality.

The book is told through short chapters and in parts told from each character's perspective. The story flows quickly and gives you everyone's perspective which I appreciated. I think my favorite section was from Auggie's teenage sister, Via (short for Olivia). Via has always been Auggie's biggest fan, but as she begins high school she wants to be known as Olivia, not as Auggie's sister. I appreciated how honest the author showed Olivia's fears and desires to have a life separate from Auggie, as well as the changes that happen to friends once high school begins.

How often do we judge others by their appearance? My sister-in-law sees this every day in her work with the homeless. I know I have been guilty of looking first at the appearance of someone before approaching them. In the book, Auggie wonders what the world would be like if we all wore masks and got to know each other before we knew what we looked like. Wouldn't this be a fun experiment to try?!

In the story, Jack was one of the children chosen by the Principal to welcome Auggie to the new school. Not all of the chosen kids took their job as seriously as Jack did and really did like Auggie. Unfortunately, he makes a mistake in the story and hurts Auggie deeply. Again, I felt like Jack was any number of kids I know, struggling between being in the "cool" crowd and being "real". Adults have a hard enough time struggling with making the right choices and Jack really came through. I want my kids to be like Jack.

This book was filled with solid, moral lessons. I will be having my boys read this and should be required reading for all middle school kids AND parents, in my opinion. The story of Auggie is a lesson in itself, but how he relates to our reality is what really opened my eyes. There will always be jerks in the world, people who don't get it and never will, but as long as the number of good people outweigh the number of bad, the good will always win. At least, I am hoping that is the kind of world I am living in.

"Wherever you are, whenever you can, try to act kinder than is necessary." Page 301
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522 of 634 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I /wanted/ to give it a better rating..., June 11, 2012
This review is from: Wonder (Hardcover)
...but I couldn't. Here, I'll explain why.

First Sentence: I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid.

How I Acquired the Book: Borrowed from my town's library.

The Review: When I first read the synopsis of this book, my thoughts instantly turned to a friend of mine who had a facial anomaly, just like the main character, August, in this book. So I was excited to read it, to get a glimpse of what my friend's life could be like.

In that aspect, it did not disappoint. Auggie's voice is brilliant, and you can tell R.J. Palacio definitely spends a lot of time around kids. Auggie sounds just like my friend when he was in fifth grade, and is highly believable. It is this that makes the book so heartwarming and realistic. A book full of Auggie would be great.

But this book is /not/ entirely full of Auggie. The first and last 80 pages or so of it are AMAZING, definitely the best parts, because they're told from Auggie's point of view. But the rest of the book is told from different characters' points of view, like Auggie's friends and family. This just does not work. Each character gets 20 to 50 pages, and as I just was getting used to and liking their voice, BAM, the point of view changed again. In the middle of the book I found myself scanning the book to get to Auggie's part more quickly. Not only that, but the plot is lost in these parts, and these supporting characters are not well-developed.

That said, I completely respect and admire Ms. Palacio for doing something so ambitious. It may have not been the best it could be, but Wonder has absolutely raised my awareness and sympathy of people like Auggie. While this novel doesn't deserve a standing ovation, I will be waiting to see if Ms. Palacio's next novel deserves one.

-reviewed by a teenager. (I apologize for any teenagery and/or snarky comments in this review, if they have offended you. I understand they can be very annoying, just like teenagers themselves. In any case, thanks for dealing with them and thanks for reading this review.)
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars August is no ordinary kid, March 12, 2012
This review is from: Wonder (Hardcover)
"I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid...I know ordinary kids don't make other kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don't get scared at wherever they go. My name is August, by the way, I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse."

August may not look like an ordinary kid, but he loves to do things that ordinary kids like to do such as play games, joke with friends, and do things with family. He was born with a facial malformation and has undergone extensive, painful surgeries that have eventually improved many factors of this life. However, the kids at his new school don't understand why August is different. As August says, "They were just being normal dumb kids."

You see August has been home schooled by his mother all his life and she finally decided that it may be beneficial for August to go to school and try to interact with kids his own age. At first, he wasn't thrilled with the idea, but he made a few friends and he really liked going to school, until he runs into some problems that may change his mind.

This book is ultimately about August and how life effects him and is not only written in his point of view, but in other points of view such as his sister Via, his new friend Jack and Summer and others he meets on the way which are very important to the story as well.

How can I express my feelings for this book? It is funny, moving and thought provoking. It is wonderfully written and the characters are real. I recommend that everyone of all ages read this book and hopefully it will make you reflect on your life and how you feel about yourself and others. One could only hope to become the person that August is. August is COOL BEANS!

Thank you to R.J. Palacio, Random House Children's Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Require This One!, March 7, 2012
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This review is from: Wonder (Kindle Edition)
RJ Palacio's "Wonder" should be required reading in the middle grades. The book is told by multiple narrators, so we get to know a lot of feelings and how some misunderstandings develop.

The most important character is August Pullman, a child with severe facial deformities. He has been home-schooled, but now that he's ready for middle school (5th grade in this book), his parents encourage him to try a private school.

Auggie is not too enthused, but he goes along for a "look-see" visit. The counselor and principal have set up some student guides that they can count on to make Auggie feel at home. The visit goes fairly well, and Auggie begins his journey.

He quickly finds out the importance of where you sit at lunch (table = social status). When no one else will sit with him, Summer walks over. They become friends by talking to one another. Summer thinks Auggie is funny. She sees more in him than a face.

Palacio gives us the full gamut of middle schoolers, from the "plague" if you touch the wrong person to the excitement over class projects. The lesson here is kindness. Why not choose kindness when you can?

I like it that Palacio also gives Auggie's older sister, Via, a voice. She has been pushed into the background due to Auggie's various needs and operations. In high school, maybe no one will even care that her brother is Auggie?

Children can learn to get along and to quit bullying. As more and more kids are mainstreamed, it is important for these issues to be talked about. From wheelchairs to feeding tubes to kids with autism--no one should be made afraid at school.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely loved this!, March 4, 2012
By 
Andi (Huntersville, NC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wonder (Hardcover)
This is seriously one of my top ten favorite books EVER. I don't care that the book is written for middle schoolers and the main character is ten. It's simply one of the finest works of fiction I have ever read.

August ("Auggie") was born with a severe facial deformity that gives him a strange and almost horrifying appearance. But he is surrounded by such a strong and loving family, and he grows up to be an intelligent, amazing, and extremely likable person. He shows that you cannot always judge a book by its cover. Because Auggie is a shiningly beautiful person inside. He accepts his fate and lives with it. He knows when people see him on the street and point and start talking about him. It's normal. Because he knows that he would probably do the same if his situation were reversed.

When Auggie's mom convinces him that it's time to join other kids in a private school (rather than continuing to be home-schooled), he is initially frightened and wants nothing to do with it. But he decides to give it a try, and events occur that will change his life forever. He learns that sometimes both adults and kids can be cruel, but there are also a lot of good people in this world, too.

I cried happy and sad tears throughout this book, but my happiest tears were for the ending. If everyone could just have an Auggie in their lives, I think we would be better people. This book will stay with me for a long time, in a GOOD way.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDER is a wonder--FIVE ENTHUSIASTIC STARS!, March 6, 2012
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This review is from: Wonder (Kindle Edition)
reposted from my blog: [...]

A few weeks back, I ranted a bit (okay, a lot), about the absence of aspirational heroes in Middle-Grade fiction these days. For the most part, I'm still feeling tantram-y about the general state of things in this regard.

HOWEVER--

WONDER, by R.J. Palacio , goes a long way to correct this.

Let's face it: there are books and then, there are BOOKS! And, by the latter category, I mean those rare gems that not only captivate us but also change us--for the better--by us having had the good fortune to have read them.

WONDER is such a wonder. It tilted my obit, just a touch, and here's why:

The story is about Auggie, a normal kid with a horrifying facial deformity. Yes, I said *deformity* although, like everyone else in the story, the impact of that word diminishes for the reader as we, too, get to know this remarkable little man.

The story unfolds through the eyes of first, Auggie, then in sections devoted to the people who know and love him. It's a study in perspective---how each character views and copes with the daunting challenges of everyday life when you're always the center of unwanted, and sometimes hostile, attention.

The writing is sublime perfection. Simple, and yet, so, so powerful. Palacio's voice carries the sophisticated eloquence needed to lift such a melancholy story into the realm of inspiration.

One of my favorite passages:

"Why do I have to be so ugly, Mommy?" I whispered.
"No, baby, you're not..."
"I know I am."
She kissed me all over my face. She kissed my eyes that came down too far. She kissed my cheeks that looked punched in. She kissed my tortoise mouth. She said soft words that I know were meant to help me, but words can't change my face."

My heart aches, just typing that.

There is so much wisdom in this book. I'm in no way surprised that so many have plucked pearls from its text. I am particularly fond of this one:

"I think that there should be rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives."

Wouldn't we all be better people if we gave more of those and received at least one?

Read this book. You'll be grateful you did.
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Wonder
Wonder by R. J. Palacio (Hardcover - February 14, 2012)
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