Wonder

Wonder

Book rating: 03 Paperback

By (author) R. J. Palacio

List price $15.70

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  • Publisher: The Bodley Head Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 214mm x 28mm | 381g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0370332296
  • ISBN 13: 9780370332291
  • Edition statement: Trade Paperback.
  • Illustrations note: B+W chapter heads
  • Sales rank: 21,976

Product description

"Wonder" is the funny, sweet and incredibly moving story of Auggie Pullman. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, this shy, bright ten-year-old has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the stares and cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. 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, underneath it all? Through the voices of Auggie, his big sister Via, and his new friends Jack and Summer, "Wonder" follows Auggie's journey through his first year at Beecher Prep. Frank, powerful, warm and often heart-breaking, "Wonder" is a book you'll read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

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Author information

R. J. Palacio is a graphic designer by day and a writer by night. She lives in New York City with her family and a black dog called Bear.

Customer reviews

By Valerie Sherrard 02 Aug 2012 3

This promising story failed to deliver what I felt it could have, dealing, as it was, with a hard-hitting and edgy subject. August, a severely deformed student (in a society that so worships beauty) enters school for the first time, and faces some of the reactions one might expect under these circumstances.

The problems I had with the story were:

- The story is told by August, his sister Via, his friend Jack, and Via's boyfriend Justin, yet the characters' voices were all very similar.
- The characters were largely one-dimensional and this detracted from the emotional impact that more realistic portrayals could have achieved.
- August's parents were practically saints.
- The dialogue often did not ring true.
- Some happenings were too bizarre to be believable. For example, the school principal sends an email to parents of a child who has been assaulted, and in this message he launches into character praise of the responsible child.
- The ending tied everything up far too neatly.

The biggest problem I had with the story structure was the way conflicts were almost glossed over. There was far too little shown of what August (and even Jack) went through during periods of adversity and shunning. This was a significant missed opportunity.

In my opinion, a story that is meant to offer an honest depiction of life as a deformed child owes more to the reader than pat resolutions on all fronts, with the lone remaining bad guy neatly removed, and everyone else living happily ever after.

Despite all of that, I did enjoy much about "Wonder" and was entertained enough to read through to the end. Younger readers will undoubtedly find far less to fault in this story, and may well benefit from seeing the world through the experiences of someone like August. If it can help make young readers into kinder, more thoughtful people, then all of this book's shortcomings can be easily forgiven.

Review quote

What a gem of a story. Moving and heart-warming. This book made me laugh, made me angry, made me cry -- Malorie Blackman I am terrifically jealous of everybody that gets to read Wonder for the first time. Every page is honest, brave and delightful. The most sparkly book I've come across for whiles -- Laura Dockrill A story of intense action and intense introspection ... a beautifully told lesson in empathy that requires that the reader find sympathy for each of the principle actors in the story. Palacio is a wonderful storyteller and her characters are bright, well-rounded and intensely likeable. Wonder is a beautiful book that is full of sorrow and triumph, emotional without being manipulative - highly recommended -- Cory Doctorow boingboing.net Wonder by R. J. Palacio is the tremendously moving story of young Auggie, who was born with a rare syndrome resulting in a severe facial disfigurement. Throughout his life he is ignored, avoided, laughed at, called names and physically bullied. All this sounds very bleak, but Auggie and his family are so delightful, and there are individual acts of kindness that ultimately make Wonder an uplifting, hopeful and important book -- Clare Poole The Bookseller 20111209 Can I just say right now that I loved Wonder by R.J. Palacio? I want EVERYONE to read it. (That's right, I shouted!) In fact, if it were out right now I'd be buying copies to give to other people to read. I loved it, it was so sweet and real. It's sad, funny, inspiring, infuriating, eye opening and awesome! It's hard for me to express just how much I loved this book. It's an eye opener for any age Attack of the Book

Back cover copy

Don't judge a boy by his face. 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 are around him whose lives he touches forever, WONDER is an funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.