Victoria Whipple's Reviews > Wonder

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
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Aug 22, 2012

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bookshelves: family, middle-school, realistic-fiction, thms, overcoming-challenges
Read in August, 2012

Auggie feels like an average 10 year old 5th grader. Sadly, he doesn't look like one. He was born with severe facial malformations that, despite many surgeries, put people off. He is very aware of the reactions people have when they see him, whether it is an audible gasp or groan, or a subtle corner-of-the-eye peek. He knows they do it, and he knows why. He's about to get a whole new audience when he starts giong to Beecher Prep School for fifth grade. He's been home schooled until now, mainly due to the fact that his many surgeries over the years would have prevented regular attendance. The Middle School Director picked 3 students to take Auggie under their wings and help him settle in. Two of them are OK, and Auggie even considers Jack a genuine friend, but Julian is downright mean and recruits others to treat Auggie the same way. The reader gets to follow Auggie through his school year, and is privy to the points of view of several different characters. Palacio has done an excellent job of creating a strong, unique voice for each of these characters. The reader really gets to know Auggie, Jack, Via (Auggie's sister), Summer, Miranda, and even Via's new boyfriend. Because each character shares his or her experiences with Auggie and the activities going on around him, the reader gets a full picture of the boy and the events that happen to him during the year. Palacio uses appropriate language to create the voice for each character, and Auggie as well as his sister and friends are fully developed characters. While the adults remain mostly static, they do surprise the reader at times and support Auggie's development. The story ends on an upbeat note for all. I would put this in the category of books everyone should read in order to make them more sympathetic and tolerant, along with Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin. Grades 4+

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