Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Book Review

Rating : 9/10

Genre : Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult

What It’s About

Wonder is the story of August Pullman (aka Auggie), a 10-year-old boy born with a rare craniofacial disorder and his experience of attending a school for the first time. The book is based on the themes of kindness, identity, bullying, acceptance and friendship. Auggie’s journey is an emotional rollercoaster, from being bullied and called a “freak” to finding friends that truly accept and treat him like any other ordinary kid. It’ll make you smile, laugh and even shed tears at times.

Palacio has written this book in eight parts which include the story being told from the viewpoints of various people who are a part of Auggie's life including his friends, his elder sister, her boyfriend and more. The book also contains numerous life lessons and quotes in the form of “Mr. Browne’s Precepts” which I quite liked.

Key Thoughts

The book was truly heart-warming and inspirational to read. Since there’s a vast range of characters, you’ll definitely relate to a few of them. The book felt short because of how fast-paced it was.

Some of the viewpoints given in the book were too short and seemed unnecessary. Just when you get invested in an individual’s perspective, it switches and then you have to spend some time adjusting to someone else’s point of view.

Despite this, I think that they were incredibly written. Reading the same story from different viewpoints shows us how there are two sides to every story. Even the antagonists appear less evil after you hear their explanations.

It’s Auggie’s character development that makes this book so special. I love how he says in the opening sentence of the book, “I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid” nonetheless by the time the book ends, he says, “To me, though, I’m just me. An ordinary kid.”

The book reminds us of the importance of being kind to each other and loving people unconditionally. Overall, it was a great read, This is one of those books I recommend to people of all ages even though it is promoted towards young adults.

Summary Notes

“I wish everyday could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.”

“Don’t give them that power over you. Don’t give them the satisfaction.”

“For a second, I imagined how cool it would be to be Via and Justin right then, having all these people standing up and cheering for them. I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

“It’s so weird how that can be, how you could have a night that’s the worst in your life, but to everybody else it’s just an ordinary night.” “Or maybe it was even a good day. Maybe somebody won the lottery today.”

“Kinder than is necessary. Because it's not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.”

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”

“.. the best way to measure how much you've grown isn't by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average-- though those things are important, to be sure. It's what you've done with your time, how you've chosen to spend your days, and whom you've touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.”

“It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.”