Tuesday 25 February 2014

Book Review - Wonder

Author: R.J. Palacio
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 14th February 2012
Publishers: Knopf Books
No. Pages: 315
Source: Purchased
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school - until now. He's about to start 5th 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?

At what point do you attempt to review a book like Wonder? Do I start with how I absolutely beautifully simple that cover is? Or do I begin with how many tears streamed down my face? Do mention how instantly heartbreaking the first part ended, or do I talk about how joyful and wonderful the ending was? I think I'll just have to attempt to do all those and more, because Wonder deserves your time, your tears and your emotions.

I was a fool with this book. I'd heard it was an emotional read from Cat from Little Book Owl and while I won't say I didn't not believe her, I thought it'd be the kind of emotional I had some control over, but Palacio proved that she was a fantastic author and left me going through a rollercoaster of feelings, from sadness, to anger, to grief and finally to overwhelming joy; I'm an emotional person, but boy, somebody call the water company, because I couldn't stop crying. The whole premise of a young boy with a 'deformity' was something I'd not seen done by any author and I seriously hadn't considered it much until this book showed me how careful such a subject has to approached, and how it can quite simply go wrong, but this book did not. Palacio did her research, and from somebody who has family members with different disabilities and a cousin with Downs Syndrome, I appreciated just how much time she must have spent on the research and on her developing the characters within this story.

I have to say, the different perspectives at first really threw me, I wasn't expecting to see and read the story throughout no more than six perspectives, varying from friends, to family and after around 2 perspectives, I was perfectly in sync with each of the characters. I think that by allowing the story to be told from different sides allowed Palacio to delve into how one little boy, in this case, August, can affect and touch so many different lives, how there is always two sides to every story, or in this case, six, and just how many emotions are flying around. The writing within each section was done to represent each of the characters points of view, and from a personal point of view, I could appreciate Via's perspective; I know first hand that living with somebody who doesn't fit into the 'normal' category can be quite demanding both physically and emotionally, and I always appreciated Jack and Summers perspectives, as they showed me how difficult bullying is, especially when it's taken for friends, and I have to mention how beautifully Palacio managed to make almost every character in the story grow into something more, whether it be because of kindness, strength, bravery or plain proudness.

However, the crown has to go to August. Whenever I was reading from Auggie's perspectives, I felt a mixture of pride, nervousness and general joy and happiness, and reading about what he went through throughout one entire year was both difficult and wonderful. I could really relate to him; he was such an easy character to read about and I know if he had been an actual person in my life, they would be one of my closest friends; he had this sense of humour that showed he knew how to take his situation lightly, but was also so honest and raw that really reminded me of myself with my sarcasm. Yet when he was emotional, I could feel it, it would hit me deep down and cause me to be just as emotional as he was, because his voice was so beautiful to read from. I honestly can't remember the last time I cried so much from one character, and I think if Auggie had been a little young or a little older, the story would not have been as wonderful as it was.

The story itself is a powerful one, teaching us about how important kindness and acceptance in todays society is, how negative prejudice and bullying is, and how it only takes on person to change and touch so many different peoples lives. I did find some perspectives a little dry and unentertaining, but overall, I can't let go of how many heart strings this story tugged, how fantastic it was to have a character parents really involved, how proud I felt at the end at how well Auggie had taken on such a scary aspect of his life. If I describe how much I cried, it'd be something along the lines of blurring eyesight, fanning myself with my hand and sniffling galore. I ugly cried at the end of this book, and if I could end on any positive note about this book, it'd be with this quote:

It's like people you see sometimes, and you can't imagine what it would be like to be that person, whether it's somebody in a wheelchair or somebody who can't talk. Only, I know that I'm that person to other people, maybe to every single person in that whole auditorium. To me, though, I'm just me. An ordinary kid. But hey, if they want to give me a medal for being me, that's okay. I'll take it. I didn't destroy a Death Star or anything like that, but I did just get through the fifth grade. And that's not easy, even if you're not me.


  1. I need to read this!! I don't read a lot of MG, but this one sounds too good to pass up. I too love the cover and think it's awesome how simple and how I can see it from across a store and know what book it is. I hope they never change it!! I didn't realize this was told in different POVs. Interesting. I like that usually, but definitely didn't think this was one of those books. It definitely sounds like sobfest and I am due for one of those!! Great review!

    1. I love that about the cover too!
      The different perspectives of the book really help tell the story, so don't be worried :D
      Thank you Michelle! :)

  2. I've heard so many good things about this book...I really can't wait to read it! Thanks for sharing such a great review with us! :)

    1. You're welcome Ebony! It's really really good :)

  3. I absolutely love the sound of this book, although I am scared it will turn me into a sobbing mess. Such a wonderful review, it makes me want to bump this right to the top of my TBR pile.

    1. Oh it will, I was crying by page 60 odd, honestly, it hits down inside, but it's so worth it!
      I would definitely advice most people to read this, everybody needs a book like this on their read shelf, such a good book! :)

  4. Ooh this sounds like a good tearjerker and I've heard nothing but good things since it came out, too! And wow 6 POVs and you were totally in sync with them all? That's some impressive writing talent! I love multiple POVs myself but very rarely do I find them well done and distinct and flowing well together. I definitely want to meet August she sounds like a wonderful character that really matches your emotions to hers! I MUST read this one I would for-sure enjoy it! Wonderful review!

    1. Palacio has some serious writing talent with this book yes, she's really good at all the different perspectives.
      August was a wonderful character, I think anyone would like him if they read this book.
      I can't wait to hear about when you get it and read it Giselle! Thank you! :)

  5. Oh man, I was so nervous at first because the two paws on top (which I realize now are links to other places?) made me think you'd only rated this 2 stars and that made me so sad! I loooooved this book so much, and I'm glad you found to be as touching as I did. Such a beautiful, beautiful book.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Aww sorry for the confusion! Yeah, the two paws up top always link to Goodreads and Amazon, sorry..
      I loved this book too, it really was a whirlwind of emotions. As you said, a beautiful book :)


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