Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Book: Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Genre: MG
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Book Club
From: It was a Christmas present

Short Synopsis: August was born with a facial deformity. Up until fifth grade, his parents have home schooled him. Now, he's about to start normal school for the first time. This is the story how that all goes down as told from not only Auggie, but others around him like his new friends, his sister, and others.

My Response: Awesome. I really don't know what else to say! I thought it was very true to how things might be, how his parents were pained and conflicted, how his sister is loving but resentful, how the friends are wanting to do the right thing, but still scared. It was eye opening in many ways too... the thing about how we tend to forget that people who may look different are really the same and "normal" inside. How no matter how hard we try to act normal around them, they can sense all the strangeness we're feeling. How it takes courage to be the one going through it and to be the one being their friend.

Bottom Line: I loved it and think everyone, especially kids, should read it. I'm sad it took me so long to finally get to this one.

Let's Talk About: We discussed this one at book club last night and I was surprised that about half of us were just "eh it was okay" about this book. Have you read it? What did you think? Eh okay? Or it was awesome! Do you think books like this. . . books that have the desire to make us aware of something. . . are too preachy and agenda-y? Or does that even matter as long as the book is good?

Other Reviews:

I cried all different kinds of tears. Sad ones, happy ones, shocked ones, confused ones, mad ones, etc. I felt every emotion while reading this book. From Jenni Elyse

. . .just don't go in with high expectations and a tissue box. If you're anything like me you won't need it. From Alternate Readality

It is one of those rare touching books of such high impact and quality that I would recommend it to everyone – from middle school age to adults. From At Home With Books

Instead, Wonder is a realistic story, filled with the day-to-day suspense of middle school. And it's also a story full of heart that inspires readers to "Choose Kind". And that's a wonderful thing. From Jen Robinson's Book Page


  1. I really didn't like this one. I know that very few people feel that way, but I found it preachy and very unbelievable. I could probably go on and on about it, but mostly I was just really glad that it didn't win any big awards last year like so many had predicted.

  2. Wonder has been been on my TBR for a while. I really want to read it with my son!

  3. Well, at least I want alone. I was afraid I'd be bashed for finding it only so so. Well, not really afraid. ;)

  4. I would have been in the 'it was ok' camp. To me it dipped too often into corny predictable territory- sort of a disease of the week type story. I also thought the multiple narrators hurt the story. I could see going with 2 or 3 but I think 5 or 6 was too much and distracting.

    That said, I did like Augie and thought he was a sweet character. I thought it had a good message for kids and I thought Via was an interesting character you don't always consider.

  5. I loved it. I thought it was very well done. I had all the feels when I read it and I think everyone should read it whether they like it or not. I was surprised by how many people only thought it was okay too. But, I wasn't surprised by some responses...

  6. I definitely don't think books like this have to be preachy. Characters with specific handicaps or who are diverse in some other way can raise awareness and perhaps increase empathy just by being who they are. If the author tries to hard to constantly remind you their characters are diverse though, I do think the awareness can come at the expense of the book. I've definitely had the experience where I'm blown away by a book and am shocked when other people just felt meh about it!



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