Book Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

This was a fabulous read that really delves deep into the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of a whole family who has an individual with a physical limitation. It’s one of the most honest and heartfelt YA novels I’ve read this year.

It mostly follows the narration of a 5th grade boy, August, who has an extreme facial appearance. He has the courage to attend school for the first year ever. There are the first parent events to get through and the typical bullying you’d expect in middle school. You always feel like the every day experiences you are familiar with are more intense for August. Yet, there is never a pity party. Amazingly, the narration always sounds authentic and never forced.

What I loved most was getting to hear from the rest of the characters. You read how August’s first friends and family feel about him attending school. Of course, being a sibkid (someone who has a sibling with a disability) myself I could really relate to the Sister’s narration. The idea that you love someone wholly and at the same time can still resent little things or need some time for your own life. The novel is never about learning a lesson, although there certainly are a lot of them in the novel. The story is more about experiencing someone else’s life, talking a walk in someone else’s shoes.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who hopes to be a kinder, more empathetic person. Read it with your kids or by yourself!

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