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Wonder Hardcover – February 14, 2012
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From the Publisher
USA Today bestseller
Time Magazine's 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time
New York Times Book Review Notable Book
Washington Post Best Kids' Book
A School Library Journal Best of Children's Books
A Publishers Weekly Best of Children's Books
A Kirkus Reviews Best of Children's Books
A Booklist Best of Children's Books
"Wonder is the best kids' book of the year."
"In a wonder of a debut, Palacio has written a crackling page-turner filled with characters you can't help but root for."
The New York Times:
"Rich and memorable...It's Auggie and the rest of the children who are the real heart of 'Wonder,' and Palacio captures the voices of girls and boys, fifth graders and teenagers, with equal skill."
The Wall Street Journal:
"What makes R.J. Palacio's debut novel so remarkable, and so lovely, is the uncommon generosity with which she tells Auggie's story…The result is a beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.”
The Huffington Post:
"It's in the bigger themes that Palacio's writing shines. This book is a glorious exploration of the nature of friendship, tenacity, fear, and most importantly, kindness."
"Full of heart, full of truth, Wonder is a book about seeing the beauty that's all around us. I dare you not to fall in love with Auggie Pullman."
- Rebecca Stead, Newbery award-winning author of When You Reach Me
"It is the deceptive simplicity and honesty of the work that make Wonder so memorable. Every single character seems real and well drawn and oh-so human...This book is beautiful." - Christopher Paul Curtis, Newbery award-winning author of Bud, Not Buddy
"A beautiful story of kindness and courage. There are many real and well-developed characters, and they each have their shining moments. Of course, Auggie shines the brightest." - Clare Vanderpool, Newbery award-winning author of Moon Over Manifest
"Wonder is a beautifully told story about heartache, love, and the value of human life. One comes away from it wanting to be a better person." - Patricia Reilly Giff, two-time Newbery honor-winning author of Lily's Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods
"Wonder is a shining jewel of a story that cannot help but encourage readers of all ages to do better, to be better, in how they treat others in life. I'm totally in love with this novel." - Trudy Ludwig, anti-bullying advocate and author of My Secret Bully, Confessions of a Former Bully, Better Than You, and Just Kidding
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly:
“Few first novels pack more of a punch: it's a rare story with the power to open eyes--and hearts--to what it's like to be singled out for a difference you can't control, when all you want is to be just another face in the crowd.”
Starred Review, Booklist:
“Palacio makes it feel not only effortless but downright graceful, and by the stand-up-and-cheer conclusion, readers will be doing just that, and feeling as if they are part of this troubled but ultimately warm-hearted community.”
Starred Review, School Library Journal:
"Palacio has an exceptional knack for writing realistic conversation and describing the thoughts and emotions of the characters...A well-written, thought-provoking book."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews:
“A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.”
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The writing style is ridiculous. It’s simply lists of actions and dialog. There is no heart or nuance.
“This happened. It was funny. I got sad then.”
Anyone could have written this book. There was no voice.
The perspective switches were pointless and poorly done. Nothing was added to the story. Just more spoon feeding this garbage into our eyes. Most was just rehashing events and conversations we had already read; they did nothing to progress the plot.
The family is so cookie cutter perfect. There were no relatable flaws in any of the characters. No long lasting conflicts to give depth.
The story had the potential to be really beautiful. Wish an author with a hint of style, talent and voice had written it.
I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
One mark of a true classic is that it seems somehow like it always must have existed, in precisely the form that one encounters it. That's the way I felt while reading this -- it read so easily, almost inevitably, as though somehow the story arose from some universal shared unconscious.
Wonder is the story of Auggie Pullman, who suffers from manibulofacial dysostosis, a rare condition of abnormality in the bone development of his face. The story begins with his family's efforts to finally shift him from home schooling to a real middle school, which to date he has been prevented from attending on account of his time spent recovering from various surgeries. The tale is told through various perspectives starting with Auggie's, who shares with us how he has had to become accustomed to the look of shock that comes over even kind people's faces when they first see him. The parents are naturally anxious about how he will be received by the other students, and wonder whether he will be able to experience true friendship.
Wonder is a brisk, accessible read because it is presented in the form of the thoughts of the characters, with no extended, meandering narration to wade through. A couple of aspects struck me as making it an especially remarkable book.
One is how the book doesn't dwell solely on Auggie's struggle alone. Of course Auggie has the roughest time of it. But it's of course also very rough for his parents for obvious reasons, and also on his sister, for the perhaps less obvious reason that she has had to receive less of her parents' attention than she otherwise would, due to Auggie's needs. She finds herself in the awkward situation of many of her own needs not being fully met, and feeling the reality of that, but also not feeling that she is entitled to resent it.
Another aspect that makes this book a treasure is how much one can't help but love several of the characters. Auggie's drawn an unlucky hand in life, but he's also been dealt some advantages: he is a smart, capable student, and has a sharp sense of humor that delights those who bother to get to know him. He also is lucky for some of the remarkable people around him: his parents, his sister Via, the remarkable middle school director Mr. Tushman, his English teacher Mr. Browne, Via's friend Miranda who adores Auggie, and two wonderful friends from school, Summer and Jack Will. Jack Will in particular grabbed my heart - a boy of modest means amid more affluent classmates, who suffers socially for his friendship with Auggie. Sometimes the book seems to depict an almost unrealistically good world, in that the fortitude of so many brave, kind people overcomes the hostile social forces surrounding Auggie. Realistic or not, it's certainly a compelling world.
Finally, the book is filled with moments of wonderful insight. Jack Will's mother is sacrificing enormously to send him to an expensive school, but the only thing that seems to truly trouble her is when she fears for a moment her children would be less than kind to someone else. Via helps Auggie to understand that, however great his challenge, he cannot live a truly fulfilling life until he realizes that other people too have problems that, if not as great as his, are nevertheless worth his compassion. Mr. Browne presents words to live by that are for the reader's benefit as much as Auggie's. And I so wish every school could have a Mr. Tushman as its head. He shrewdly understands the dynamics surrounding Auggie, and applies a subtle, yet powerful loving hand in helping Auggie triumph over adversity.
Wonder is a book that, once read, will never leave your heart and memory.
Top international reviews
It's okay, nowhere near as good as many reviews make out on here. Perhaps I am so disappointed as my expectations were very high but it's definitely not deserving of the thousands of 5 stars! It is definitely more suitable for children. I found the first part engaging but skimmed the last part which was pretty dull. Nothing really happens and there's no real message in it other than to do what seems obvious to me - look beyond the cosmetic to the person inside. Or look at people with your heart as the Little Prince points out!
Certainly much will be lost on anyone who doesn't get American culture and doesn't have children at middle and high school.
Who said "Children experience the world as it is presented to them." Google doesn't even seem to know. Maybe I made it up, but I was struck by that in this fantastic story about a boy born with not one, but two genetic defects that made him intellectually 'normal' but physically very different. He wasn't disabled or handicapped, just deformed, and though he knew himself to be different, he was just that - himself. As he leaves homeschooling and goes to a private, but normal, schoolhe faces the challenges you'd expect - the 'assigned' friend who becomes a real friend, the betrayal of people who pretend to be his friends, the discovery of true friendship by a child who chooses kindness. While the book glosses very briefly over a lot of the reality of being a person who has to undergo numerous surgeries time and again, and the physical impact that has on said person, it does a good job of presenting the world through the eyes of a 9/10 year old boy. It looks at one year of school through a variety of different points of view and takes not only the main character but all the other characters through a growth journey.
It's a serious subject but is presented with lots of laughter and lightness, and I'm so thrilled that Kyra has been reading it and enjoyed it enough to recommend it.
I tell my girls all the time that courage and kindness will get them through life, and this book thoroughly reinforces that point.
A highly recommended read, especially for young people - I believe there's so much value in learning to see the world through others' eyes, and sharing even briefly in their experience.
This is a story about a young boy who after years of home-schooling by his mother, is told that she can't really continue doing so and that for him it might be better to go to a 'normal' school. He is confronted with the ensuing conflicting feelings about change and the 'outside world’ that he has mostly been sheltered from. Throughout it is obvious that Auggie strives to be himself and wants to be accepted for whom he is.
The story is beautifully told from many different perspectives: Auggie himself, his sister, sister's boyfriend, sister's former best friend and two of his friends at the school. This technique works really well and each person's narrative is well constructed. The vocabulary attributed to these different personalities is extremely well done and throughout reigns a great sense of humour.
Although bullying is totally inexcusable in any form, it is very difficult to stand up to it and Auggie comes out appearing wiser than his years in the way in which he reacts and subtly rises to it. In that respect the book is most certainly never gritty, nor do I think the author ever meant it to be.
The overall tone of the book is in fact a happy one and I think the author achieved her intention for it to be an uplifting one. Nevertheless, I also felt that she wanted to make people aware that bullying exists and that these actions can be accompanied by a myriad of unexplained reasons and emotions, while also trying to make the reader (hopefully many of them also middle schoolers and others) aware that we are all different and that each and every one of us is unique.
Join Auggie as he starts his adventure as this book has lots of understanding what it is like to be in Auggie's shoes. Auggie is just an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. I recommend it to everyone who doesn't understand what it is like to be different, as it will really quickly tell you how hard it is to fit in, even though you act normal but look different.
Auggie was born with severe facial defects. Even after numerous operations his looks are still nowhere near 'normal' He is bright, he is funny & he just wants what everyone wants- to be accepted. Having been home schooled up until now, his parents are in two minds, but really think he needs to go to school. Needless to say this will not be an easy step. Children can be very cruel to children who are even slightly 'different'- what will they make of Auggie?
Told by Auggie & his sister & his fellow students this is a powerful book but it is ultimately an affirmation that there are good people around & in a world where we can choose to be many things, we should always choose to be kind.
I loved this book & I will remember Auggie & co for a long time.
We follow the story of August (Auggie) Pullman. Auggie is ten years old and has severe facial abnormalities. Little kids scream when they see him and older kids make fun of him and call him a freak. Auggie has been homeschooled through grade four, but for middle school his parents decide to send him to a private school, Beecher Prep, in New York City. Wonder is the story of his fifth grade year and the friends he makes along the way.
Although the book is primarily told from Auggie’s perspective, it also switches to a few other points of view. With a total of six different voices, we are shown an insight into August’s personality and life in a way that would be impossible to otherwise know.
This story about growing up is full of heart and humor and is written brilliantly. Auggie’s smart and funny personality will win over readers but his story is not an easy one to read. This book is an emotional rollercoaster that will see you veering from sadness to hilarity to anger. As with growing up in general, not all kids are nice and some kids behave one way in front of adults and another way in front of other kids. We learn that some adults are also cruel and just when you think life can’t possibly get any harder or more challenging, sometimes it does.
The chapters are short and easy to follow. I think the intended audience is YA but this blends itself into both the adult and children sections alike. I instantly warmed to Auggie and I wonder if growing up with a disabled younger brother myself, made me relate to this story all the more. Via, Auggie’s older sister is a fantastic character and I could relate to her thoughts and actions.
Overall, I would recommend this book as an easy and heart-warming read, maybe slightly predictable but I don’t think that this detracts from the enjoyment. I believe there are other books in the series, so I will add those to my TBR list also.
Yes this book is truly a wonder!
If I am completely honest I never really enjoyed reading books until I read Wonder by R. J. Palacio, which was the very first novel that I had difficulty putting down.
Wonder is the story of 10 year old August Pullman (Auggie to his friends) who has a severe facial deformity. The author skillfully takes us through approximately 18 months of Auggie’s life with a mixture of humour, tragedy, adversity and triumph and I challenge any reader not to find the story both heart-warming and inspirational.
Written from the perspective of Auggie, his friends and family it really draws you into his life and challenges and also gives you insight into how those that know him feel about him both as a person and someone with the type of deformity that he has to cope with.
I would recommend this book for both children and adults and have already ordered my next R.J. Palacio book.
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