Wonder by R.J. Palaco
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?
“There are always going to be jerks in the world, Auggie,” Mom said, looking at me. “But I really believe, and Daddy really believes, that there are more good people on this earth than bad people, and the good people watch out for each other and take care of each other.”
Auggie has a story that will touch your heart, make you think, cry, laugh, and hug those around you all at the same time. Beautifully written and surprisingly full of depth, Wonder will find something in Auggie’s story that reaches out and pulls them in.
It just clicked with me in such a real, honest way, and I loved it. I had a connection to the story that was really unique and it just stayed with me throughout the whole novel.
“Why do I have to be so ugly, Mommy?” I whispered.
“No, baby, you’re not…”
“I know I am.”
She kissed me all over my face. She kissed my eyes that came down too far. She kissed my cheeks that looked punched in. She kissed my tortoise mouth. She said soft words that I know were meant to help me, but words can’t change my face.
10-year-old Auggie was born with a genetic abnormality that causes him to have a severe facial deformity, and now – 28 surgeries later – he is finally starting his first year at a public school. But will the kids be able to see – despite his extraordinary face – that he’s a kid just like them?
I think if there’s one thing I didn’t like too much about Wonder it was how everything ended up neatly and happily. Sure, I don’t mind happy endings – I actually quite like them if they fit the story – but I didn’t like the happy ending in Wonder. Life doesn’t always get wrapped in presents with bows on the top, and I feel that this book should have ended a tad more sadly.
Wonder is as close to perfect as a middle grade contemporary can get. Not only is it a story that will touch the intended audience – middle grade readers – but it’s completely thought-provoking for adults and teenagers as well. It’s a lovely story that really makes you think about what it means to be different, what it means to be different, and how far a simple act of kindness can go.