Thursday, 5 September 2013

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (review)

Source: The library

Rating: 4.5/5 Loved it!

Synopsis from Goodreads
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?

Read my review after the jump!

Wonder is pitched as a children’s book really, one of those ones you read at the ‘tweenie’ stage, not quite a teenager but not really a little girl either, but for me it’s relevant to all ages, at all stages of life. Wonder is one of those books I resisted reading, partly because of the ‘children’ label but also because it seemed to be everywhere, in every bookshop and library and magazine, for a while, which always makes me avoid things rather than pick them up. Probably the exact opposite of the publisher’s intention!

The main character, August, takes the narration of the first part so I thought he was going to be narrating for the whole novel. I wouldn’t have minded that, but getting to hear from other characters like his friends at school and his sister made the narrative so much richer. Each narration felt realistic, August and his friends sounded like 10-11 year olds and you could tell the difference between them and his sister and her boyfriend just from the slight linguistic tweaks that Palacio made.

Wonder really takes you on a journey along with August, from the pain of his first few weeks in a real classroom to the triumphant end to his school year. It’s an emotional journey, especially at the beginning, when you immediately connect with this little boy who just wants to be ordinary. And I loved the end message of Kindness. Everybody needs to be kinder and to receive more kindness in their lives.

A couple of the characters, like his English teacher Mr Browne, felt a little underdeveloped, I wasn’t really sure why he was included, but that’s a minor issue in a novel that I think is a must-read.

Have you read Wonder? What did you think?

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