Review of ‘Wonder’ by R J Palacio

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Jazzy from Jazzy’s Bookshelf has been a long time reviewer for me and I always smile when I see one of her emails and reviews pop up my inbox. At twelve years old, Jazzy has an insight into books which is well beyond her years and it is such a pleasure to be able to share her thoughts with my blog readers. ‘Wonder’ is one of those books which seems to be ever on the bestseller list, and it is with good reason. I read ‘Wonder’ way before the hype and I cried and smiled and found it deeply affecting. Thank you Jazzy for reviewing the movie tie-in edition of ‘Wonder’ for us here and YAY for you reading the book before seeing the movie!

I could tell I was being stared at without even looking up. I knew that people were nudging each other, watching me out of the corners of their eyes. I thought I was used to those kinds of stares by now, but I guess I wasn’t.

There was one table of girls that I knew were whispering about me because they were talking behind their hands. Their eyes and whispers kept bouncing over to me.

Middle school can be hard.

THE GIST

August Pullman (aka Auggie) is a ten-year-old boy who looks different to other children. He was home-schooled for all of his elementary years. Auggie’s bright. When his mum realises she isn’t smart enough to continue teaching him, she sends him to school in North River Heights, despite the very real risk of bullies.

Imagine having to face the world when it seems like the world won’t face you. Auggie is in that exact situation. He is bullied, especially by a kid named Julian who taunts Auggie about his appearance, joking he was in a fire. Julian meanly refers to Darth Sidious from Star Wars who is a character whose face melts off. This makes Auggie extremely upset.

Later, Auggie is inwardly hurt when he eavesdrops and discovers his only friend, Jack Will is talking about him in a cruel way. It turns out Jack was ordered to befriend him. He announces he would commit suicide if he looked like Auggie. Our hero is shattered and skips school. On his return, he is furious at his ‘friend’.

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THE JUDGEMENT

I was really touched by ‘Wonder’. It would be hard to be Auggie – he has gone through so much. By the end of the story, I was holding back tears. Remember to have a box of tissues beside you at all times.

One of the things I love most about this book is the way it is set out in parts. Those parts are written by six different characters. They all have varied perspectives on events.

The most fun part to read was Justin’s chapters; they were written without proper punctuation because he isn’t exactly an English phenomenon. For example:
the first time i meet Olivia’s little brother, i have to admit i’m totally taken by surprise.

My favourite character is Via, Auggie’s sister. She has a unique view on the world – especially the way people see Auggie. Via is really inspiring and if I got to choose one person to play in the movie, it would be her.

The book includes images of scenes from the film adaption, as well as heaps of cool stuff at the back like awesome interviews with the cast and crew. I learnt a lot. For example, did you know that the deformity that Auggie has is actually real? It is called Treacher Collins syndrome.

I think the message of ‘Wonder’ is that no matter what you look like, your true colours always shine through. It doesn’t matter what some delinquents think of you – it only matters what the people you hold close to your heart think. This book is also about bravery, which Auggie shows at a disastrous school camp.

I recommend ‘Wonder’ to children aged 9+ because of depressing scenes and I think it takes some maturity to empathise with the characters.

I can’t wait to see the movie. I just hope it is as amazing as the novel. I give ‘Wonder’ four-and-a-half bookbolts out of five.

Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 978-0-141-37824-4

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