Mark's Reviews > Wonder

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
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"I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me ordinary, I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go. "

10 year-old August Pullman likes all the things other boys his age do, and wants to do all the same things. The trouble is, he'll never be like other boys his age. Augie was born with severe craniofacial abnormalities, and even after years of surgeries and procedures, his appearance is still shocking, hideous even, to people who have never met him. After homeschooling Augie throughout his elementary years, his parents think it might be time for Augie to go to school with other kids. At Beecher Prep in Manhattan, he'll find that he can handle the academics easily, but it's friendship, and the stark reality of his difference, that makes his 5th grade year so challenging.

This really was a charming book, and a fantastic tale of friendship, bravery, and what beauty truly is. I thought the way Palacio shifts perspectives between various characters (Auggie, his older sister, his friends, his sister's boyfriend) was outstanding; each character had a distinct voice, and allowed the story to go much deeper than if it had been narrated by a single point of view. The shifting pov's also kept the story from feeling too sentimental, or even manipulative, although there were still some parts that felt a little forced (I'm looking at you, Daisy the dog storyline). But these are relatively minor flaws; the story as a whole is marvelous, with rich characters and a powerful message. It'll be leaving my hands soon, and getting passed on to my daughter's.
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Wendy Darling I hope your daughter enjoys the book, Mark! Love your review, thanks for the conversation. :)

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