Wonder is about a boy called August Pullman, who was born with a condition that means that his face is deformed and out of proportion, even after surgery. August, known as Auggie, is a kind person who is very understanding, and though most of the time he is happy with who he is he can see how other people looking at him might feel, and he knows why children point and stare or scream and run away, or why adults find it hard to look at him.
Auggie is like a normal person, or he feels that he is. He knows that it’s only his face that makes him different, and he knows that he can’t change that. He has been home-schooled for most of his life, and he’s certain, when his parents decide to send him to school, it’s going to be hard. He is clever and intelligent and he makes good jokes and likes making friends, but in school he slowly finds out what the real world is going to be like- unprotected, cruel. The children at school are all disgusted by him, all except Summer, who sits by him at lunch and talks to him. Auggie likes his headteacher, Mr Tushman, and he likes Summer and Jack Will, a boy who showed him round on his first day. He takes an instant dislike to Julian, the boy who showed him round the school with Jack Will, and there is no doubt that more will come of it later on.
Auggie learns to survive at school, clinging on by the tips of his fingers, while his sister Via struggles with friendship problems while trying to show her parents that Auggie isn’t the only person in the world. As the year progresses, it feels like everything is changing… for everyone.
This book was a pleasure to read. I didn’t even know that Auggie’s condition existed until I read this book and it moved me to tears. I could see that what happened in Wonder would be identical to what would happen if someone like Auggie turned up my school, and it made me feel ashamed. If you look at someone like that, you are stupidly led into believing that they don’t have any real thoughts, and obviously it’s not true. It really made me think, and in the process of reading it, I think that the way I think changed a lot, as will the thoughts of anyone else who reads it. I like the way it includes song lyrics and the beginning of each part of the book, and the way it jumps between nearly every character’s point of view, often more than once. From the front cover of the copy I read (as shown above) I had no idea what to expect. The book was better than I anticipated, and after reading it I could understand why the cover looked as it did and I think that the cover just added to the perfection of the book, in that it was in no way random, as I had thought before I read it, and it summed up the whole book just in one picture. The message of the book? Accept difference and learn to love it, and never be afraid to stand up for what you know is right.
Genre: Realistic/ dealing with issues
Estimated reading age: Ten and up
Price on Amazon: £4.93 for paperback, £8.15 for Kindle edition
Author: R. J. Palacio
Main characters: Auggie, Via, Summer, Jack Will, Julian
Rating: ★★★★ A great book with a powerful message.