- Reposting this 2013 review because the Kindle Edition is on sale for $1.99. (Wonder was one of my favorite books of 2013)
Wonder is a book I would not have picked up on my own. In general I like young adult (teen), but do not read a lot of middle grade fiction.
But more importantly, the description discouraged me from wanting to get started. Another book about a sick kid that changes the way people think about the world.
Yes, this was a book about a kid that changes the way people think about the world, but it was a very good one.
Ten-year-old August (Auggie) is going to school for the first time. It is 5th grade and a new middle school. August has been homeschool prior to this because of the many surgeries to try and repair his body.
The first section of the book is all narrated by August. And had it stopped there, this would have been a good book about how people can feel bad when they are mistreated. Or maybe even a good book about how a kid can overcome adversity.
What makes Wonder a great book, is the book changes narration throughout the school year. His best friend at school, the girl that first reached out to him at school, his sister, his sister’s boyfriend, his sister’s best friend, and then August again. The change in voice allows us to see that while August has facial deformities that make his life difficult, the love of his parents, his friends and other things make his life good.
Other characters may have good external lives, but miss out on family, or love, or support, or kindness in ways that may harm them as well.
If there is a complaint about this, it is that it is hard not to compare the levels of harm. Are August’s facial deformities worse than a parent neglecting a child? Can they even really be compared?
There is never really a question about how the book will go. This is middle grade fiction. August will overcome, others kids will come to see their mistakes of judging him by his appearance. August will be one of those extraordinary children that learns from his difficulty and achieves a sort of greatness.
But this really is a good book. It would make great book to discuss with your child about differences between people, about taking responsibility for yourself, about caring for those that need help.
I listened to the audiobook version. It was excellent. Below is the book’s video trailer.