Reviews for Wonder


Booklist Reviews 2012 February #1
*Starred Review* Kids' books about befriending somebody "different" could fill a library. But this debut novel rises to the top through its subtle shifting of focus to those who are "normal," thereby throwing into doubt presumptions readers may have about any of the characters. Nominally, the story is about 10-year-old August, a homeschooled boy who is about to take the plunge into a private middle school. Even 27 operations later, Auggie's face has what doctors call "anomolies"; Auggie himself calls it "my tiny, mushed-up face." He is gentle and smart, but his mere physical presence sends the lives of a dozen people into a tailspin: his sister, his old friends, the new kids he meets, their parents, the school administrators--the list goes on and on. Palacio's bold move is to leave Auggie's first-person story to follow these increasingly tangential characters. This storytelling strategy is always fraught with peril because of how readers must refresh their interest level with each new section. However, much like Ilene Cooper's similarly structured Angel in My Pocket (2011), Palacio's novel feels not only effortless but downright graceful, and by the stand-up-and-cheer conclusion, readers will be doing just that, and feeling as if they are part of this troubled but ultimately warm-hearted community. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Born with a severe facial deformity, formerly homeschooled Auggie is starting fifth grade. We learn how desperately he wants friends but little of what he might offer in return, as he seems to be defined by his disability. Still, this novel is a heartbreaker, and one that for many readers may provide a new definition of bravery in the face of adversity.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #4
e-book ed. 978-0-375-89988-1 $15.99

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #2
After being homeschooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he's worried: How will he fit into middle-school life when he looks so different from everyone else? Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though "his features look like they've been melted, like the drippings on a candle" and he's used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he's an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He's smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending "a lamb to the slaughter." Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie's first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie's viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie's arrival at school doesn't test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too. A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2012 March/April
August (Auggie) Pullman faces extraordinary challenges as he enters middle school at Beecher Prep. Until now he has been homeschooled due to his facial deformity and numerous surgeries. He begins by informing the readers, "I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse." His appearance is horrifying to some of his new classmates and others he encounters throughout the novel. The story unfolds from multiple perspectives as the narrator alternates between Auggie, his classmates, and other characters. This is a heartwarming story of overcoming adversity, tolerance, and learning to accept others. It would be a great school-wide read as it has so many issues that middle school readers could relate to. I loved the way it tied in popular culture; it made me laugh and cry. Lynn M. Weeks, Library Media Specialist, Bourne (Massachusetts) Middle School. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #3

Auggie Pullman was born with severe facial deformities--no outer ears, eyes in the wrong place, his skin "melted"--and he's learned to steel himself against the horrified reactions he produces in strangers. Now, after years of homeschooling, his parents have enrolled him in fifth grade. In short chapters told from various first-person perspectives, debut author Palacio sketches his challenging but triumphant year. Though he has some expectedly horrible experiences at school, Auggie has lucked out with the adults in his life--his parents love him unconditionally, and his principal and teachers value kindness over all other qualities. While one bully manages, temporarily, to turn most of Auggie's classmates against him (Auggie likens this to becoming the human equivalent of "the Cheese Touch," a clever Diary of a Wimpy Kid reference), good wins out. Few first novels pack more of a punch: it's a rare story with the power to open eyes--and hearts--to what it's like to be singled out for a difference you can't control, when all you want is to be just another face in the crowd. Ages 8-12. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Feb.)

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Auggie Pullman was born with severe facial deformities--no outer ears, eyes in the wrong place, his skin "melted"--and he's learned to steel himself against the horrified reactions he produces in strangers. Now, after years of homeschooling, his parents have enrolled him in fifth grade. In short chapters told from various first-person perspectives, debut author Palacio sketches his challenging but triumphant year. Though he has some expectedly horrible experiences at school, Auggie has lucked out with the adults in his life--his parents love him unconditionally, and his principal and teachers value kindness over all other qualities. While one bully manages, temporarily, to turn most of Auggie's classmates against him (Auggie likens this to becoming the human equivalent of "the Cheese Touch," a clever Diary of a Wimpy Kid reference), good wins out. Few first novels pack more of a punch: it's a rare story with the power to open eyes--and hearts--to what it's like to be singled out for a difference you can't control, when all you want is to be just another face in the crowd. Ages 8-12. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 February

Gr 4-7--Due to a rare genetic disorder, Auggie Pullman's head is malformed, his facial features are misshapen, and he has scars from corrective surgery. After much discussion and waffling, he and his parents decide it's time for him to go to a regular school for the fifth grade instead of being homeschooled. All his life Auggie has seen the shocked expressions and heard the whispers his appearance generates, and he has his coping strategies. He knows that except for how he looks, he's a normal kid. What he experiences is typical middle school--the good and the bad. Meanwhile, his beautiful sister is starting high school and having her own problems. She's finding that friendships change and, though it makes her feel guilty, she likes not being labeled as Auggie's sister. Multiple people tell this story, including Auggie, two of his new school friends, his sister, and his sister's former best friend. Palacio has an exceptional knack for writing realistic conversation and describing the thoughts and emotions of the characters. Everyone grows and develops as the story progresses, especially the middle school students. This is a fast read and would be a great discussion starter about love, support, and judging people on their appearance. A well-written, thought-provoking book.--Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC

[Page 130]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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