Friday, 24 February 2012

Book Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio

Wonder. by R.J. PalacioTitle: Wonder
Author: RJ Palacio
Pages: 310
Publisher: Random House
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

My Thoughts:
Wonder is one of those books that everybody loves because it is hard-hitting and many people will find a way to relate to it. It's about growing up while being bullied at school, and it's a story of overcoming the bullies and being proud of who you are. No matter what you look like, no matter what you wear, no matter who your family is. I can see why people say this, and I agree with them. I just didn't think the book was particularly great.

Now don't read that and think I hated it. I didn't. I liked it, quite a lot, actually. It was a strong, interesting read, but there was nothing about that blew my mind. The characters were brave, loving and lively, but I felt like there was nothing especially remarkable about most of them. Auggie and Via stood out for me, but the others I thought were just a little bit flat. I couldn't connect with them and to me they were forgettable.

But as I said, I did really like Auggie. He reminded me of my cousin (in the way he acted, rather than the way he looks), and I really think that RJ Palacio captured the essence of what it would be like for Auggie in school, and at home. I loved how he seemed like a very normal, excitable little boy, and he was incredibly brave to go to school for the first time. I think it's an achievement for all kids, because the first day of school can be hell, but especially for Auggie. He was cute and he was my favourite character, which I guess is a good thing seeing as the whole book was about him... ;P

The only other character who really stood out to me was Via. She was SUCH a good big sister! Seriously, I wish my younger brother and I had a relationship like theirs. (It doesn't work when your brother's only a year younger than you though ;) ) She was so caring and she looked out for him, and there was a point where it all got a bit too much for her, but I totally understood that and made me connect with her even more. I loved how she learnt from her mistakes and she realised when things were going really wrong, and it was awesome.

The plot wasn't really all that exciting, but I don't think it needed to be. I don't think that it needed huge plot twists or turns to make it interesting. I kept reading no matter what was going on, despite the fact that I could guess where it was going. It was real and so easy to imagine that it was an actual family going to an actual school in America.

While Wonder didn't strike me as much as I had maybe anticipated it would, it was still a good, solid read that I did enjoy. I think it's simplicity will appeal to both children and adults alike, and there's something in it that I'm sure everyone can relate to. It's made people laugh, it's made people cry, and I'm sure it can do the same for you!

*Huge thanks to Random House for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. I think for hyped up books such as this one (though it didn't really get all that much blogger attention, I think), it's nice to read a so-so review just to lower my expectations a little. I do plan on reading this one, and I don't expect the plot to be a page-turner but I'd love to see what all the critics reviews are raving about. Thanks for the input! :)


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