Born with a rare facial deformity, Auggie Pullman is entering a real school for the first time. Severed from the protection of hiding his face in his house or underneath an astronaut’s helmet, Auggie must attempt to navigate a hostile middle school world. Palacio tells Auggie’s story through varying first person viewpoints, driving home the message that kindness is truly life’s best practice.
While Wonder is a book clearly aimed at a younger audience (middle school), I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to readers of any age. Every character is relatable and interesting, and some of the narrators are teenagers, so it’s not just a book about “little kids”. If you’ve ever been bullied (or perhaps have bullied), Palacio’s novel speaks to just how damaging that behavior can be, and illustrates that it’s possible to overcome adversity. A funny novel that will sometimes have you reaching for a Kleenex, Wonder is worth your time.
However, as important as I think Palacio’s novel is, it does sometimes get preachy. Some situations are presented as “too” perfect, and some of the things the characters said I just didn’t agree with (see the full analysis for more). Then again, this is a fiction book, so the “real” world may not matter. If you’re looking for a “feel-good” book that makes the world look awesome, this is it. If you prefer more “realistic” realistic fiction, maybe not so much. But read it anyway and see what you think 🙂
*Bluebonnet Nominee, 2013
This one has a great book trailer! Click here to see it!
For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.