Wonder Online by R. J. Palacio
Click Here to Download the Book August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid-but his new classmates can't get past Auggie's extraordinary face. WONDER begins from Auggie's point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community's struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
Reviews Something rare and amazingly special, one of those treasures that shines brightly on a number of fronts. This is, at its basic level, the story of Auggie’s fifth grade year. The characters are outstanding. Main character August (Auggie), enters a school for the first time as a fifth grader because of his facial abnormalities, is drawn brilliantly, one of those rare characters of thought and feeling and goodness that meld into a believable jewel of a whole boy. His support is also exemplary. He was physically challenged at birth but he was also blessed with a loving, supportive, and realistic family, his parents and sister Olivia (Via), who not only see and treat him as a whole person, but come to be treasured by Auggie’s and Via’s friends, too. The kids at Auggie’s school are spot-on, real kids who say and do real kid things, and some, unfortunately, who display less than kind responses to Auggie’s appearance’s oddity. The school’s adults and Via’s friends also are nicely written. As an adult who has long worked with youngsters around Auggie’s age, and having first-hand experience with unique appearance and with children with unique appearances, I came away from this not only having loved it myself, with the firm conviction that Wonder is a terrific story on its basic level, but more, a book of values underneath that youngsters will absorb to their benefit, values like the role of externals in seeing another person, the role of kindness, the roles of patience, authentic love and caring, and more than a bit of what goes around comes around. Placed firmly in the top ten books for young people that I’ve ever read.
As a mother who screens everything her 13-year-old daughter reads, I was left speechless by "Wonder", R.J. Palacio's homage to anybody who's ever been judged on his / her physical appearance. If you were moved by Sharon M. Draper's "Out of My Mind", you will be, in turn, agitated, affected, angered - and, ultimately, inspired by "Wonder." What Palacio achieved with "Wonder" that puts it over "Out of My Mind" is in the inclusion of the points of view of the other players in August's story. While August's severe physical disfigurement is the main focus of the story, Palacio (in the course of a mere 320 pages) acknowledges through her characters that, sometimes, our physical hang-ups are more to do with our own perceptions than those of others (and so it's something we can overcome ourselves). Of course, the fact that one of the auxiliary characters is a 15-year-old who has read "War and Peace" just made my day (see previous review).
I tried to find some fault with the story - but, honestly, I came up short. RJ Palacio's handling of her subject matter was sensitive and age-appropriate. While I wasn't quite sure why Justin's point of view was laid out in all lower case, it did not distract from the pace, mood, setting or point of the novel. A *wonderful* TIMELESS read for ALL AGES, EVERYWHERE. Said daughter's review follows: " 'Wonder' by RJ Palacio is an awesome book about how a boy, considered a medical wonder because he has, unluckily, two genes that make his face look horrendous, tries to fit into a world of regular-looking people . "August Pullman is pretty much like any other boy: he likes Star Wars and ice cream, and his favorite holiday is Halloween (candy and creepy things ... every boy's dream!) The problem is that no one seems to realize that he is ordinary on the inside - probably because his face would make Frankenstein's monster look cute. "Homeschooled Auggie has had to deal with stares and taunts and screams all his life - but it's usually okay, because either his big sister, Via, is there with him to take care of the bullies, or his dog, Darth Daisy (Daisy for short), is. "But when Auggie has to go to fifth grade IN A REGULAR SCHOOL ... let's just say that he isn't looking forward to it at all. Everyone staring at him and calling him names? No thank you!! "And those things DO happen - the kids in his school invent a game called 'The Plague' (where if anyone touches Auggie, they will catch his ugliness) and call him the Zombie Kid. They say in his face how 'I would totally want to kill myself if I looked like Auggie.' Yet, despite all that, Auggie also finds himself some real friends. Can Auggie and his friends stand up to the bullies of the school? Or will they let themselves be walked all over? "I love, love, love, LOVE this book. It is so sweet and hopeful and wonderful - and I love how there were different perspectives throughout the book. "My favorite character would have to be Summer. She was one of the first people to be nice to August, without being told to by an adult, and she was really funny and nice. However, I also like Jack and Auggie. Jack was one of the first people to be nice to August as well, and, even though, he made some mistakes, he stood by Auggie in the end. And, of course, I love Auggie. He was so sweet and funny - even though it seemed like the world was a giant lottery and he pulled the unlucky ticket. "I like how the book is full of little quotes, too. Ever since I was in 4th grade, I've 'collected' awesome quotes from books, movies, celebrities, etc. So the fact that not only is the book itself awesome, but that it also contains some of my all-time favorite quotes, is amazing! "A few years ago, I read a book that is kind of like this - it was called "Out of My Mind", and was about a girl whose whole entire body was basically paralyzed by cerebral palsy, but her brain was still working, and she got a computer that helped her talk to people, but people still didn't treat her very well. That book was good as well, but I have to say that 'Wonder' is better. 'Out of My Mind' was more 'why did this happen to ME?!' and 'Wonder' was more like 'how can I make this situation better?' "I would give the book seven stars if I could: two stars for the plot, three stars for the characters, and two stars for the awesome writing. :-) Best. Book. Ever."
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