Wonder by R.J. Palacio

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I finished reading Wonder a few days ago.  I originally added this to my to-read list about 6 months after finding out it was a 2012 Must Read and a bestseller.  After starting at Barnes and Noble I felt it necessary to widen my variety of read books to share with customers.  I used my nook to read it but I would be more than happy to have this on my shelf to re-read.

If you’re unaware, Wonder is the story of a 5th grader named August (Auggie) Pullman who lives in Manhattan with his parents and older sister Via.  Due to medical problems attached to a facial deformity he was born with this is the first time he is attending a real school.  The story chronicles his time in 5th grade and uses the perspective of Auggie and his friends to tell this story.

The voices are very true to middle schoolers and high schoolers as I remember.  I’m 22 now but between my own experience as a tween and my summers as a camp counselor, I know how middle schoolers talk and what they’re thinking about.  Most of the characters are concerned with being popular, even though they don’t know why.  They don’t have any cliche’ hero moments, most characters make small victories and avoid conflict by passively running off.  Even Auggie uses the same outward sarcasm and jokes about his looks to seem together and cool with it even though the reader can see when he struggles with others’ opinions.

This book made me horribly aware of how I treat everyone in my life and how I treated other kids in middle school.  I was never popular nor very concerned about becoming popular (relatively speaking of course).  I was never outwardly rude to other kids (unless they were bullying me, but this was maybe once and pretty lame anyway) and I never liked bullying anyone.  But I also didn’t make a lot of effort to befriend kids that were somewhat outcasted by the other students.  I had a friend in middle school who has Down Syndrome and even though I never let that stop me from being her friend, we became friends because we both had the same friends.  I was definitely a Charlotte and this book made me realize that even though a lot of the students weren’t mean, they still hurt Auggie when refusing to do anything.

This is a great read for people of all ages and definitely important for kids growing up and learning how to treat the people around them.  I gave this a 5-star rating because I loved it all the way and I’m sure I’ll be rereading in the future.

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