Book Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 14, 2012
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

Wonder is the story of Auggie, a boy who was born with severe cranial-facial abnormalities. His mother decides to send him to a mainstream school for fifth grade after having homeschooled him up to that point. His father worries that he’ll be “eaten alive.” The principal of the school assigns three of the “good kids” to show him around and basically be his friends. But that task is more than some of them can handle. However, he finds true friendship with a girl named Summer, who is kind to him without having to be asked.

Wonder is told mainly from Auggie’s point of view but also includes the points of views of other people in his life, like his older sister and some of the kids at his school. It’s interesting to see that different people have different perspectives on the same situations and events. I think that’s a good lesson that you never know what is going on behind the scenes in people’s lives and that you should try and find out before you judge them. And even if you don’t find out, give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them with kindness.

My boys, who are ten and twelve years old, and I each read this book on our own and then went out lunch to discuss it, – a little mother and son book club. I was surprised at how in-depth our discussion was. This book touched them and made them think. I used the discussion questions I found on this website as a jumping off point. Even though it’s a middle-grade book, I think it would also be a good selection for a teen or even adult book club.

A movie based on Wonder is coming out in November. Jacob Tremblay, the child actor who was so great in Room, plays Auggie. My boys and I are looking forward to having a mother and son date to see it.

Wonder has wonderful lessons to teach and I recommend it for kids and adults alike.

For more reviews of books for children and teens, check out Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection, posted on Saturdays. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, you can go to her site to leave a comment and your link .



  • S.G. Wright

    I heard this was a great book. Sounds wonderful that you had a discussion about it with your sons. What a nice book club!

  • Kate Scott

    I probably won’t read this one but I can’t wait to see the film adaptation! It looks like an amazing story.