Monday 27 February 2012

Wonder by R J Palacio

Wonder by R J Palacio really is an absolute wonder.   Written for children aged 10 and over, and published by Bodley Head, with a release date of 1 March 2012.  So, not long to wait.  My recommendation is to either pre-order your copy now or ensure that you are outside the door of the bookshop as soon as it opens on the morning of 1 March.

There are some stories and some characters that get under the skin, that feel like an itch that no matter hard you scratch, they just won't go away.

August, known as Auggie is one such character.  Auggie is the 'wonder' in the title.  A small boy who is different on the outside, but inside he's just a kid who likes Star Wars and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Auggie's birth was difficult and his life so far has been more so.   With a face that is disfigured, Auggie is used to people staring, whispering and looking away quickly when they spot him.

Auggie has been home-schooled, but it's time for him to go to middle school and Wonder is the story of his first year in school.
The first part of the story is narrated by Auggie - he's a down-to-earth kid, sweet-natured, bright, loving and loved by his family.  He is also very different, he wears his hair long so that his face is partly covered, his favourite day is Halloween, because that's the one night that everyone wears a mask and nobody is judged by the way they look.

We also hear from Auggie's sister Via, and a couple of his friends.  Each voice is unique, each voice tells Auggie's story from their perspective and each voice is brilliantly written.

Wonder is fabulous and I'm positive that it will have the same impact as Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime.  It is a story of hope and survival and a story with the underlying message that it really is what is under the surface that counts.  As it says on the back cover of my proof copy; "Don't judge a boy by his face."

I could go on and on and on, but I won't.  Please, read this book.  Encourage your children to read it, lend it to your friends, buy a copy as a present.  As Auggie's teacher Mr Browne says; "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind."
R J Palacio

It's safe to say that I was totally and utterly transfixed by Wonder.  I read it during one day and had an almost constant lump in my throat throughout.  R J Palacio has created one of the most moving and uplifting books that I have ever read.  Auggie will stay with me for a long, long time.

"Everyone deserves a standing ovation because we all overcometh the world."  - Auggie Pullman

You can view the book trailer here


  1. It didn't blow me away but I think it's a very strong book for younger readers. I think I have read much more harrowing accounts of bullying and felt it was a little watered down, but then it is for kids. I sniffled a bit but didn't have me bawling like Nineteen Minutes did.

  2. Wow, that sounds fab, great review, is this one of Waterstone's 11?

  3. Hi Karen. No this one is not on the Waterstone's 11 - it's a Young Adult novel, released on 1 March. I'd really recommend it

  4. The junior high years are so miserable that any book that might alleviate some of that pain is well worth having been written.