Monday, May 27, 2013

All About Middle Grade Review: Wonder

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, February 14, 2012. 315 pages. Published by Knopf. Source: Library.

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?
First Sentence:
I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid.
There is no way that I am going to do Wonder justice in my review. There are too many things I would like to say about it and the words just will not come. I would like to say that R.J. Palacio did a fantastic job with the characters and with creating a story that will make you feel all the feels.

R.J. Palacio’s Wonder is definitely one of the most powerful middle grade books that I have read. Ever. But what makes Wonder such an incredible read is not that the author tackles a tough subject or the fact that the main character has so much to deal with in his life do to his condition, the thing that makes this incredible is that the author tells the story from the perspective of not only Auggie but also that of his friends and sister. I loved seeing things from the perspective of all these different characters because it gave you not only a glimpse into how August dealt with things, but also that of those closest to him. I thought it was pretty brilliant to see and feel what some of the other cast members were going through and because it was just so well done.

What I loved the most about Auggie would have to be that he was one resilient little guy. I can honestly say no more about August because everything that comes to mind gives away too much about what he goes through and how joining other kids his age changed him throughout the book. 

Admittedly, I usually avoid books like Wonder. Not because I find them unnecessary, but because I don’t usually enjoy reading books that are going to make me sad or that have a high chance of making me cry. Even though Wonder had some sad moments, it was generally a pretty uplifting read because the author steered the focus away from Auggie’s health issues and painted a picture of a young boy trying to survive his first foray into the world of middle school.

While I enjoyed reading Wonder, there were a few things that just seemed a little to cliché in the way things ended. Now, I’m not saying that the ending was nice, it was just one of those endings that seems was too much like something you would see on a made-for-TV movie. So, while the ending may have struck an overly sugared chord with me, I enjoyed seeing the impact that the character’s life and struggles had on those he met. Lastly, Yay for a happy ending (was worried going into this book).

Spoiler (highlight to see):
Oh my gosh! I wish that someone had warned me that the dog was going to die in Wonder. Especially since what happened to Daisy, the dog, was so similar to how my dog died years ago. Let me just put it this way: I cried (big tears) and I rarely cry when I read.
So, if you have a hard time reading books that feature the death of an animal consider yourself warned. You will cry over the heartbreak that Daisy’s death brought about.
End of Spoiler

Final Verdict: Wonder is brilliant.

Wonder earns 4 out of 5 pineapples.

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