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Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio

Title: Wonder
Author: RJ Palacio
Year Published: 2012

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 313
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2013 Google Reading map): USA (NY)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school--until now. He's about to enter fifth 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?

Review: So I spent a good portion of today reading this book in public with tears spilling down my cheeks. People must have wondered what I was reading! But you've got to know that I tend to cry at happy things. I can read books with awful stuff happening and I don't cry. Well, except if an animal dies.

This book is so wonderful! It is poignant, funny, unique, and interesting. Auggie has a great personality that pulls the reader in his world. There are multiple parts to this book so we also get the story from the point of view of his sister Via, best friend Jack, and two other semi-peripheral characters. In fact, I liked all the characters; they are real and each play an important role in Auggie's venture into a tradional school setting. Auggie's parents are also great characters who nurture, protect (sometimes too much), and are navigating a scary world for their son.

One of things that I like most about this book is that it isn't preachy. Yes we shouldn't stare, yes we shouldn't be embarrassed by our family members, and yes we shouldn't do the things we do sometimes, but that's real. We are human and we make mistakes that sometimes hurt the ones we love. Palacio allows her characters to do this as well even though they are loving and kind.

In fact, one of the greatest "lessons" that comes out of this book is stated by the school principal near the end: "we should all strive to be kinder than is necessary." What a wonderful thought.

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