Wonder by R.J. Palacio

wonderI read this a couple weeks ago, but somehow forgot to write about it! I really loved this. It was very emotional and made me cry a number of times. And right from the get-go! This is a story about a boy, Auggie, who has indescribable facial deformities and his first year in school (5th grade).  Having been homeschooled until now he’s pretty nervous, and with good reason.  Making friends and navigating school are hard for Auggie, but he is able to make some good friends.  Of course there are terrible people who are awful to him (which I found somewhat unbelievable.)
There was so much to love and admire about this book. What really tugged at my heartstrings and I liked so much was that it felt more to me a story about 5th grade, changing friendships, and being on the cusp of growing up. All that was there even if Auggie didn’t have the added difficulties of having a face that scares other people. Auggie was as times still a sweet little boy holding his mom’s hand, and then also carefully broaching independence with his friends. That aspect of the story basically stabbed me in the heart.  I also really liked Auggie’s family and how the story is told from different points of view.  I especially enjoyed the ending when the principal gives a speech about kindness that left me in tears.

Apparently a companion book is coming out, from the point of view of the boy who is relentlessly unkind.  I have to say I’m not interested in knowing his backstory or trying to understand his cruelty.

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