Wonder by R.J Palacio


Synopsis: You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

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?

I rarely afford a book 5 stars, but I really feel that Wonder deserved every one of them (not an easy feat, I am pretty stingy). Wonder by R.J Palacio is a middle grade book, which as a 23 year old is a territory I rarely step into understandably enough. However I heard such wondrous and complimentary things about the novel that I really wanted to read it. I always worry that a novel will not live up to the hype but this one definitely does.

The story of August Pullman was inspired by a real-life incident at a ice-cream shop involving Palacio’s own children and a child with a facial deformity. Wonder is a feel good story with a surprisingly simple and inspiring message ‘be kind’. I don’t think we realise what it means to be kind sometimes and I think this novel has a strong message to teach children. The novel does pull at your heart strings and makes you feel a little bit fuzzy inside.

This story is told through a variety of narratives 6 to be exact – Auggie, Via, Jack, Miranda, Summer and Justin. This can be a big no-no in novels but this time it really worked. The varying perspectives are to help the reader understand the struggle of the community around August – which can be sometimes feel exaggerated or miscommunicated in one narrative – and how they learn empathy compassion and acceptance.


The way Palacio explains her characters, gives them backgrounds, motivations etc is extraordinary and if you read The Julian Chapter you understand and accept the characters and their behaviours. I don’t think I ever hated any of her characters they never hid anything which is a refreshing change to have such a insight into all the characters.

I am in love with all these characters, they are all so well written. R. J Palacio has a wonderful gift for writing her characters. I have a hatred for authors who write their characters to be more mature than their supposed ages. Palacio doesn’t make her characters more mature than their years they are believable 10/15 year old children.

August Pullman is the protagonist of this novel, he is 10 and has a severe facial deformity (Treacher Collins Sydrome). He is one of the most loveable and adorable characters ever and all I want to do is give him one massive hug. It is really interesting so he is progression through out the story. He grows and comes into his own as a person.

This novel is a rare gem. I throughly enjoyed it. The short chapters and varying narratives made it an easy and quick read that I am sure I will read again. I would definitely recommend this book. Palacio has also written three e books The Julian Chapter, Pluto and Shingaling as well as a collection of precepts in 365 Days of Wonder. 

Buy Wonder at Amazon for £3.49


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