A review of Wonder By R. J. Palacio

Reviewed by Cleo Scott Huggins

By R. J. Palacio
Penguin Books Ltd
3 Sept 2018, Hardcover, 704 pg, ISBN-13: 978-0241368381

There is a saying that there are two sides to every story. Wonder by R. J. Palacio shows that there are actually many sides to a story. Wonder tells a story from the perspective of six different characters. I would highly recommend this book for people aged nine and above.

The main character in Wonder is August Pullman: Auggie. He is a funny and sensitive ten-year-old boy from New York who was born with a facial deformity. The story follows his first year at school, after having been home schooled. Auggie wants to feel normal but this is hard when people stare at him and avoid him. Jack Will is one of the first friends that Auggie makes at Beecher Prep. Jack and Auggie become friends when Auggie lets Jack copy his work in class. The boys make each other laugh a lot, which forms the basis for a fun friendship.

Julian Albans is Auggie’s bully at Beecher Prep and makes Auggie’s life a misery. He is an only child who is spoilt by his family. Popularity is important to Julian, which is why he makes fun of Auggie. He is described as “the kind of kid who’s one way in front of grown-ups and another way in front of kids.” Olivia Pullman or Via, is Auggie’s older sister and is a freshman at Faulkner High School. She is overly protective of her brother but often feels like she is not important to her family due to the constant care that her brother needs. She feels like she is always seen as Auggie’s sister and not as Via Pullman.

The moral of the story is not to judge a book by its cover. Because people would judge Auggie by his looks and not his personality, they failed to make friends with a nice person.

Wonder will remind readers to be nicer to people, even if they don’t look the same. It also implies that if at first you’re not popular, in the end you will be accepted for your true colours and be more than you thought you would ever grow to be. Wonder gave me mixed emotions – I felt happy and sad, and a range of emotions in between. Wonder is also a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. Are you ready to meet Auggie Pullman?

About the reviewer: Cleo was Commended in the 2019 Hunter Writers’ Centre/Compulsive Reader Review competition. She is in Grade 6 and her favourite subjects are novel study, reading groups and writing. Cleo has participated in the Premier’s Reading Challenge since she started school. Cleo plays as the Goal Shooter and Goal Attack in her local netball team, which she loves. Cleo’s dream is to have a dog and her goals for the future are to complete high school with great grades and to start her own business.