Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012)

Wonder_Cover_ArtHere’s a book that needs no introduction.

Recommended grade level: 4-8 (younger is fine for kids who are reading up)

Pages: 320 (for ISBN 9780375869020)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, Kylie’s favorites

Tone/Style: hopeful, personal

Pace: moderate

Topics: facial differences, new schools, making friends, fitting in, overcoming bullies

Themes: being different, familybetrayal by friends, perseverance, trying something new

Summary: August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? (Source)

Who will like this book?: With universal themes such as feeling out of place and facing down scary new situations, this book touches a lot of people. It also has multiple point-of-view characters who offer different perspectives, meaning lots of people who readers can potentially relate to. Plus, Auggie is immensely likable. Give this to realistic fiction fans for sure, and to others as an example of the genre at its best.

Who won’t like this book?: I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t like this book. I’m sure they exist. They must be in hiding.

Other comments: This story is told sometimes by Auggie and sometimes by other people in his life.

Sequel(s): There are no sequels, but there are three novellas told from the points of view of other characters in the story: The Julian Chapter, told by Julian; Pluto, told by Christopher; and Shingaling, told by Charlotte. All three are collected in the volume Auggie and Me: Three Wonder Stories.

Readalikes: For more books about kids who are different, try Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Firegirl by Tony Abbott, Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine, Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin, and Rules by Cynthia Lord. I’ve also noticed that many Wonder fans like Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea.

-Kylie Peters

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