Book Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio | Simple, loving and truly wonderful

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Publication Date: January 3rd 2013 (first published February 14th 2012)
ISBN13: 9780552565974
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Pages: 410
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Middle Grade
Part of Series? No
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Blurb: 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?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Book tag: Young Adult
Young Adult
Book tag: Fiction
Book tag: Middle Grade
Middle Grade
Book tag: Contemporary
Book tag: Favourite
Book tag: Family
Book tag: Medical
Book tag: Friendship
Book tag: Book to Screen
Book to Screen


Introduction & Storyline

Before starting this book, I had heard so many great things about it. I never heard anything bad about this, so obviously my expectations were high about this. And yes, it didn’t disappoint me. In fact, it was way too good for my imagination. There are some stories which touch you deeply, and surely it was one of them.

This is a story about 11 years old August Pullman who doesn’t have a normal face. He has a rare medical facial deformity, which he refers to as “mandibulofacial dysostosis“, more commonly known as Treacher Collins syndrome and a cleft palate. After his birth, he went through multiple operations on his face to look like what he was now. He was homeschooled by his mother until fifth grade. The story starts when his parents decide to send him to a private school called Beecher Prep. The story revolves around what difficulties Auggie (August) faces int he school, how everyone treated him, how he made friends there.

His Principal arranged some students to be friends with him. Although they were scared of him at the beginning, they eventually started liking him, except for one boy Julian. There were a few children whom he could have called his friends. Rest of the students treated him like he had any kind of plague and they will be infected even if he touched them. At first, Auggie didn’t like the school, he was devastated, but his parents and sister were always there for him and encouraged him and he started liking the school.

The story further progresses telling various turn of events which eventually make Auggie everyone’s favourite. He was successful in making people believe that he is perfectly normal, just his face is different.



POVs and Writing

It was a fast paced story. There were small chapters and the story quickly progressed. It was not dragging one. The main thing that I liked most about this book was that there was not a single PoV of just August, rather there were 6 different POVs. Surely, it sounds a way more, but when you keep reading through each person’s chapters, you don’t feel it. Rather you would feel as if it was necessary to write the story from the perspective of all those characters. The persons having their individual PoV includes Via (August’s sister), Miranda (Via’s old friend), Justin (Via’s boyfriend), Jack and Summer (Auggie’s new friends at Beecher Prep). The added bonus in my copy was Julian’s chapters (Auggie’s classmate who didn’t like him at all).

The writing was simple and up to the mark. R.J. Palacio knew that what she was writing and what she had to present. Each character was shown flawed at first and then it was little sympathetic. I really liked how she portrayed Via’s thoughts. It’s true that it was most difficult for Via to handle his deformed brother and facing everyone’s reaction when they see him. But she also loves him a lot. Palacio perfectly managed both the conflicts. Similar conflicts were showed for Summer, Jack and Justin.

Julian’s PoV was an added bonus as I said earlier. It was very interesting to see how he changed from a bad boy to a good one and how his grandmother played an important part in that transformation. I really love the story that his grandmother told him.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”OjI72″ via=”no” ]Julian’s chapter – A bullying story from the bully’s point of view #wonder by #RJPalacio[/ctt]

Palacio portrayed the kids really well – how they talk, what they think, how mean they can be, how brave they can be, what friends and friendship mean to them. She really “gets” to their feelings.

There was also a part where bullying was highlighted. It shows how it can have different impacts on students lives especially of those ages.



What I Liked

  • The way the story is told from everyone’s point of view and not just from August’s.
  • How not just August’s life has been mentioned, but other people’s life too like Justin.
  • That story didn’t stop when changing from one person’s pov to another one’s, rather it was progressive.



What I Didn’t Like

  • I was disappointed by my copy. There were lots of editing errors and the whole Justin chapter was wrongly structured (though it was not the fault of the story 😛 )
  • I wished to read a few pages from Isabel and Nate’s point of view too (August’s parents).



Favorite Quote(s)

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

The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.

I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.

The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average– though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.



Final Thoughts and Impact

I felt that this book was real. I felt the emotions of each person, that how difficult it was to handle that kind of kid. When you finish reading it, you feel good. It’s heartwarming. It is a tear jerker. For me, it was the point when Julian’s grandmother told her story to him. It really moved me. And it had a perfect message:


Many of us don’t read middle-grade books. But I really feel that this is an important read, not just for middle grade readers but for all the ages. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

I can happily say that it’s one of my favourites now. It left me thinking about the story for many days and made we think that how we treat others often.

This is soon going to be a feature film and I can’t wait to see the movie.

[ctt template=”1″ link=”dMwIP” via=”no” ]A fast paced story with simple writing. Story to live with you for a long time.[/ctt]



Overall Rating

5 Stars - Animal Farm by George Orwell



Would Recommend To

  • Middle grade readers
  • Readers who don’t mind to shed a few tears 😛
  • Book readers who like to read about some different topics
  • Those who like to read realistic fiction.



A fun fact

I kept thinking of August’s dad as Christopher from Gilmore Girls 😀 I don’t know why, but whenever he said ‘Auggie Doggie’ to August, I felt like it’s Christopher saying ‘Hey Kiddo’ to Rory. ? It’s funny but I guess I am not yet over with GG.






Pin it for later ♥

Wonder by R.J. Palacio - Book review






About the author

r-j-palacioR.J. Palacio lives in NYC with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For more than twenty years, she was an art director and graphic designer, designing book jackets for other people while waiting for the perfect time in her life to start writing her own novel. But one day several years ago, a chance encounter with an extraordinary child in front of an ice cream store made R. J. realize that the perfect time to write that novel had finally come. Wonder is her first novel. She did not design the cover, but she sure does love it.

Raquel J. Palacio / R. J. Palacio is a pseudonym of: Raquel Jaramillo



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