Wonder by RJ Palacio is the story of August “Auggie” Pullman, a young boy who was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that creates facial abnormalities. Over the years Auggie’s parents tried to give him a “normal life” but after many surgeries Auggie’s face still stands out. People sneak looks and stare at him. Children are often afraid when they see his face. This is something Auggie never gets use to. In face it’s one of the things he fears the most when he meets people. He picks up on the different ways people react to seeing him but nothing can help him deal with the rejection he feels from the world around him. It’s Auggie’s first time going to school and even though it’s the first year of middle school for all the kids going to his New York Prep school this year is bound to be more difficult for Auggie and being around other kids is the last thing he wants but his mother thinks it’s time for Auggie to try to fit into the world.
During his first year of fifth grade, he gets a best friend, Jack but also makes an enemy of Julien a privileged, rich kid who is bent on making Auggie’s life a living hell. The book is very heart-warming and heart-breaking. Palacio doesn’t attempt to hide the cruelty that children can inflict on their peers and that’s what makes Auggie’s journey to accept himself so powerful. The book like the movie also centers on the lives of Via, Auggie’s older sister, Jack, and Miranda- other teens who are trying to find their place in the world.
It’s a wonderful study of character and beautifully written. Check it out.