Auggie Pullman, main character of Wonder by RJ Palacio has been home schooled his entire life because of a severe facial deformity. This year all that is about to change as Auggie will go to a real school for the first time– and begin fifth grade at Beecher Prep. Wonder details Auggie’s first year attending school -with it’s ups and downs. Palacio masterfully conveys themes of family, friendship, and bullying in her debut middle grade novel.
Wonder is divided into eight parts with are told through a different character’s perspective. The first and last parts are told through Auggie’s perspective which brings all of the parts together. The chapters are very short. Palacio is not one to waste words and thus the pacing of Wonder is very tight and moves along.
Yet, what truly drives Wonder by RJ Palacio are the characters. Auggie is a sweet, earnest kid who loves Star Wars. He handles reactions to his deformity very well, he is used to people reacting badly to his face. Yet, we see his vulnerable side too. He is very realistically drawn. Via, August’s older sister, is another exceptional character we meet in Wonder. We see her struggle between being Auggie’s protector, the girl who everyone knows as August’s sister, the easy child and between forming an identity for herself at her new high school. It’s quite a touching side story and speaks to the complexity of family interactions.
The overall message of Wonder is one that really resonates with me and I think will resonate with other readers. Palacio shows that kindness is necessary and something we should endeavor to treat others with. I think in our fast paced world treating others with dignity is something to strive towards and not forget, and Wonder beautifully reinforces this idea.
Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.