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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
August 'Auggie' Pullman is a ten-year-old boy, much like many other boys of his age, except that he was born with facial disfigurements. He has undergone countless operations but he is still aware of how different he looks from everyone else, and he is acutely aware of the diverse reactions he gets from people. The novel is narrated by several different voices, each in the first person, and the one that features most is Auggie himself. The other characters who we hear from, like his sister Via, offer different perspectives on Auggie, on how they feel about him, on their relationship with him, and how he affects their lives. The chapters are, for the most part, very short, and it's very easy, and tempting given the lovely writing and the great story, to read a lot, if not all of the book in one sitting. We meet Auggie at a key stage in his life - he has been home schooled until now, partly to protect him, and his parents now want to send him out to attend middle school, a huge and incredibly daunting step for him. Is he brave enough to try it, how will he fit in, how will the other children react to him, and the other parents - so many anxieties surrounding this new part of his life.

This is a lovely read, Auggie himself is endearing, funny, believable, and most importantly he is deeply loved, supported and accepted by his parents and his sister. It could be said this novel is an illustration of the maxim that it is ultimately 'what is on the inside that counts', writ large. But maybe Auggie wouldn't be who he is without being as he is. He has had to learn to deal with peoples' reactions to him, on seeing his face, from shock or fear, to acceptance and friendship from some, or unkindness and taunting from others. He is a kind-hearted boy, who is so happy seeing those he loves enjoy success. On seeing his sister Via receive applause he decides; 'I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.

The novel offers, through Auggie, a real insight into how it must feel to be considered 'different', and how a child might deal with this. At first when the narrator was no longer Auggie I wondered how well it would work, having gotten used to seeing things from his perspective and enjoying this, but I needn't have worried, as the other characters' sections all add to Auggie's story rather than detract from it. The story isn't just about how Auggie is different though, it's about all the things he experiences that are the same as anyone else of his age, such as not being sure he wants his mum to kiss him in front of everyone anymore, making new friends, getting used to middle school, and so on.

This novel is aimed at a children's and young adult audience but it wouldn't harm anyone of any age to read it and be reminded not to judge by appearances and to be a little kinder to others, and it will reward those who do read it with a moving, at times dark, but also uplifting read.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Wonder is quite simply an awesome book. I enjoyed every page and devoured it within the space of a few hours. It is one of those books I can see I will continue to recommend for years to come.

Wonder is about a young boy called Auggie who was born with a deformed face due to faults within his genetic makeup. As a small child he endured hours of painful surgical procedures but still he doesn't look 'normal'. Reading the book gave me real insight for ordinary people who are considered 'odd' by society and made my heart break for him as you saw all the discrimantion he went through when he went to school for the first time.

The thing I love about Auggie is that on the whole he is prepared to take his lot and just get on with his life without moaning or feeling sorry for himself. He just wants to be considered normal but his peers don't always let him. The most heart breaking thing for me was seeing how he reacted when other children treated him in a horrible way because he couldn't quite understand what gave them the right to treat him in such a way.

I enjoyed how the story switched perspectives throughout giving you greater insight to the world in which Auggie lived. I especially found his sister's story touching in the way in which she had selflessly given up so much for her brother without complaining or jealously for the different ways in which she and her brother were treated.

The overwhelming message you are left with by the end of this beautiful tale is one of hope and the notion that the world would be a much better place if people were more tolerant and kinder to each other. The way this is done really has a lot of reasonance without being cheesy or preachy which is why I think it is such a stunning novel. Certainly a book I would recommend.
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VINE VOICEon 22 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I can be cynical sometimes, but it is hard to be anything but delighted and heartened by "Wonder". Don't approach it thinking that it's just for children; it is for all ages (and some of the dialogue from adults in the book may even go over younger children's heads).

I found myself engrossed in "Wonder" from the very first page, something that rarely happens to me. The story is just so alive, it's like a sunburst. I giggled and I cried a little. I scowled but more often I smiled. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. In particular I think it would be a great choice for reading in school. There are hugely positive lessons in "Wonder": empathy and kindness. It's the old "it's inside what counts" message, but in a fresh, life-affirming package.

I read it in a day, because I couldn't put it down. You really can't go wrong with it.
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on 17 May 2012
This is the first time (since picture books) that I have read the same book as both my sons. I bought it after reading a positive review in a newspaper, read it and recommended it to my 9 yr old. He loved it. Yesterday my 12 ( nearly 13 ) yr old finished it, he loved it too.
"A great mixture of funny, sad and interesting" was his review.

It does help if you know a bit about Star Wars - i only know a bit, both boys got every reference!! When I was reading it I did check a couple of things with them.

I haven't read any other so -called "cross over" books, but would warmly recommend this - lots of discussion points but not a heavily moral book so no preachy bits.

My sons particularly liked the fact that you heard from several different view points, I just enjoyed the story
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on 20 August 2014
I read this book in one sitting and could not recommend it enough.

Upon seeing it, holding it, reading the synopsis, your first thought will be...hmm...it's a children's book. I don't know if I want to read that. I don't know if it's for me.

That's what I thought at least, even though I found the synopsis interesting, I just wasn't in the mood to read a children's book. Eventually though, I folded and bought it. Boy, am I glad I did. When my sister saw me with it she said, Oh that's a wonderful book, you'll love it! I asked her, Will it make me cry? She said, I don't know. That depends on you.

Well, it did. It brought tears to my eyes and made me want to hug this kid so hard, along with each friend he's made.

So let's start from the beginning. This story is about a ten year old boy who is for a lack of better word "deformed", he was born this way, and doctors thought he wouldn't make it, but he did. Home schooled his whole life because of the way people react to his appearance, and because he couldn't take people's reactions (people can be so cruel sometimes), his mom finally decides it is time to put him in school. She argues that she can't teach him forever, she's not good at maths. His mom is great. As is his dad.

August (Auggie) tries to resist and argue at first, but upon being taken on a tour of the premises and meeting a few of his classmates, he makes the decision to go. Thus begins a very painful journey, watching Auggie have to deal with people's first reactions, the kids avoiding him, refusing to be partnered with him, refusing to eat with him, so far as to create a game in which if you are touched by him you'd have received the Plague. Until that is Summer, who sits with him during lunch, at first out of pity, but later out of friendship, and Jack who becomes Auggie's best friend and classmate.

What I loved about Palacio's delivery and execution of this story is he did not focus it entirely on Auggie, but rather gave us a glimpse of how everyone in Auggie's life dealt with it and how it affected their lives in turn. This included chapters narrated by his sister Via, his friends Jack and Summer, Via's boyfriend and even Via's best friend who has always been close to Auggie and bought him a helmet once, which he wore for 2 years in a row to cover his face and was able to play outside without the usual stares of shock and surprise and revulsion.

Palacio gave all the narrators a very honest voice, they all sounded sincere and real. It makes you feel like you really are taking this journey right alongside Auggie as we are given a glimpse into all their lives. I loved the relationship that developed between Auggie and Jack in particular. I loved how despite all the conflicts and "drama", fifth-graders are so much more straightforward than adults when dealing with things they like or dislike. I respected Jack for owning up to his mistakes, and I respect Summer for confronting Auggie head on when he tried to avoid her. I also absolutely love how the kids stood by and supported Auggie, almost protecting him, when they first introduced him to their parents, going to lengths in order to prepare their parents for who they're going to meet and how NOT to react. Palacio intertwines serious, heartfelt moments with humor that it makes the whole book very endearing and real.

You start out wanting to cry and take on all these bullies that are hurting this little boy. You end up crying because you're just so happy and proud of what he's become and the lives he's touched.

Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives. That line made my heart squeeze for the little boy.

This book may be written from children's point of view, in a simplistic child's way, but this is a book that everyone should read. And maybe learn a thing or two.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well, all the wonderful things you're hearing about this book are true. I'm not usually a fan of children's/YA fiction and took some persuading to try this one but I'm so glad I did, it's a beautiful, totally life-affirming read which will have you laughing one minute and sobbing the next. It's difficult to put my thoughts into words without sounding schmaltzy or sycophantic, so please bear with me.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a severe facial disfigurement due to one of those genetic quirks of fate whereby both his parents were carrying a particular rogue gene. When I say `severe' disfigurement, I mean that some adults (despite their best intentions) literally shrink back with shock when they first see him, whilst others who are more PC and/or better prepared, just drop their eyes from his face for that tell-tale second, a subtle reaction Auggie is all too familiar with. Children can, of course, be brutally honest:

- Is it Halloween?
- No Jamie
- Then why is that boy wearing a mask?

Auggie's mother tried to protect him at first by home-schooling him, but his parents eventually decide that they need to face reality and send him to school. For the most part Auggie is sanguine and philosophical about his condition and the reaction he gets and certainly doesn`t wallow in self-pity, but what comes out more and more as the story develops is that underneath he's also a 10 year old boy who is entering that awkward stage of life and, despite the love and support of his close family, other people's reactions are starting to really matter - and it hurts.

What also shines out is that anyone who gets to know Auggie for any length of time, from his family to the friends he gradually makes at his new school, love and respect him with a passion.

Auggie narrates most of the book but his version of events is interspersed with those of his sister and some of their friends. At times I got really angry at the way some of the other characters, particularly fellow school children, behaved towards him and I wondered why they didn't support him more. However, when they start to tell their own stories I got an understanding of how difficult it can sometimes be to stand up for some who is `different' when you're just a kid yourself and don't want to stand out from the crowd.

When I finally put the book down I had a good cry (happy tears though!). I'm aware that from the blurb and some of the reviews (including mine) this could sound like a cheesy, tug-at-the-heartstrings kind of story which would be too sickly sweet for some readers. It's not - it's sharp, funny and very relevant. This is definitely not just a children's book - adults have just as much, if not more, to learn from it. RJ Palacio has created such a smart, funny and memorable character in Auggie and his story deserves to be read and savoured by as many people as possible.
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on 8 June 2012
I bought this book for my 10 year old daughter, and she quickly devoured it. I asked her to write her own uncensored review so here it is:

When I first picked up this book I didn't know what to expect. The blurb didn't give a lot of information about what was inside the book. The cover of the book was irrelevant to what happened in the book but it was a nice touch and it gave you a picture in your head of what August might have looked like. When I started reading it I couldn't put it down and I finished the book in about a week. August has a face that you could never imagine in your life. It is the type of face that you just want to scream and run away but your eyes are fixed to him, never looking away. But he realizes that he has to face his fears of going to school (as he has been home-schooled most of his life until now). A world that has never see a face like his. This book is a moving and serious book but has a loving feeling when you read it and when you do read it, it will make you think (which is a good thing) about people who have disabilities and how they must feel about going out in public and how they feel when we look and stare and what they must feel like inside. It is a truly heart-warming book that has something for everybody. There's adventure, romance and lots more. I think that this book is for children and some adults. Wonder is just an awesome book and I loved every word, page, chapter, I loved it all. I can see that the book will be read for many years and that people will never get bored of it. I think that it is a stunning book and I would certainly recommend it to all.
Written by Charlie brush aged 10 xxx
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read quite a few children's and Young Adult novels and it's only rarely that one of them truly fits into the "crossover" category where I can truthfully say anyone of any age will enjoy this novel. Wonder fits that niche perfectly, its deceptively simple narrative veiling a myriad of depths and insights.

Wonder is mostly about August (Auggie) Pullman, a 10 year old boy with severe facial disfigurement. Auggie has already been through a multitude of painful operations but his latest experience could well be the most challenging - going to school. He's been home-schooled up until now and sheltered from the curious and insensitive eyes of society at large but hopefully the three mentors chosen by Mr Tushman, the principal, will ease his transition.

What follows, in a series of short chapters, is an account of Auggie's experiences at Beecher Prep, narrated by Auggie himself and, in other sections, by his sister Olivia, his friend Summer, Olivia's boyfriend Justin, her friend Miranda and Jack who was chosen to be a guide/mentor for Auggie. The language is simple but the feelings examined are complex - what does it feel like to be different in a world which has such a limited view of beauty/attractiveness? What is it like for the siblings of someone who doesn't fit the norm? Isn't it really difficult to tread the "middle ground" and neither ignore nor stare? Auggie represents anyone who doesn't fit in and all our associated hang-ups when we strive to be politically correct but fail miserably.

There will be those who avoid this book as it sounds like some preachy manifesto and I fully understand their reticence. Yes, there is a moral message, basically, "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind" and yes, I know it sounds didactic but this isn't Mitch Albom territory and there is no deliberate pulling on the heartstrings or straying into schmaltz. Having said that, we could all learn something by having this little peek into Auggie's life, and perhaps adult readers have the most to learn from it.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have read hundreds of books but Wonder is the first one that has made me cry. Being a grown man I suppose I should be embarrassed, particularly as the book in question is classified as being for children. Actually though, I'm not embarrassed in the slightest as Wonder is an absolutely wonderful book, and only those who possess a heart of stone could fail to touched by it.

The story of August Pullman could have been a sad, downbeat tale; born with a terribly disfigured face little Auggie seems to have all life's cards stacked against him and when at the age of ten he has to go to school for the first time he is understandably concerned about the reaction of his fellow students. At first it seems that he was right to be worried, but the way that he rises above that through sheer strength of character slowly changes their attitudes towards him.

Some will no doubt criticise this book for being overly sweet, almost fairy tale-like. Whilst I can see their point surely they are also missing the point. Okay, most of the people in this book turn out to be good people and those that aren't get their comeuppance and no, this doesn't happen that often in real life, but wouldn't be great if it would? Reading this book allows you, for a short while at least, to get a glimpse of humanity at its best.

Wonder is a very special book.
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on 11 August 2014
My daughters review:
Wonder is the type of book that made me constantly go 'aww' and have tears welling in my eyes. It follows the story of ten year old, August, who was born with a disorder that makes him unlike everyone else. August has had to deal with people staring at his appearance ever since he could remember, whether they were in the street, at home, his sisters friends or even professionals. He's always had to hide himself away because there were people constantly doing a double take to stare at him once again. It definitely doesn't help that his parents protected him so much and homeschooled him, so he was unaware of friends and the harsh truth of everyday life. So when they make the drastic change to send August to a normal school, August feels his heart breaking with anxiety and worry. Before he knows it he is shoved into a school where there are bullies, friends and jerks. Although August finds some friends along the way, people are still not getting used to him. And August feels like he has to hide away for ever.

This book was beautifully compelling. I love the structure of the book, too. It adds a definite twists to the plot of the story, as you read everyones perspectives on August and find out what everyone else is feeling compared to his usual fear of socialising. It also adds a new feel to the book when you're reading the backstory of his sister and how she is tossed aside for August as you're gradually building up on everyones view on August and how people see people. There are chapters in the perspective of friends also which allows you to understand whats going on behind August's back when he's joining this school and thinking everything is really working out for him.

The plot overall, was definitely a shocker to me. I knew that August had a facial disorder which meant his appearance was altered slightly, however I never thought it involved all the heartache and uplifting that this book offers. There is a mixture of fights, truth, upset, heartache and even death at one point, which are all struggles of someone whose growing up, but even worse for someone whose different to everyone else. Its enchanting to read how August copes with it all and how strong he is when someone calls him names, and it definitely tripped my emotions whenever someone was harsh or offensive. The ending also had a great thriving feeling to it, and it made me feel really happy. All of my emotions spilled out at one point because I felt like I was emotionally connected with August.

R.J Palacio has definitely worked well to build her characters. They're fleshy enough to make you grasp valid opinions as well as having enough back story and detail to make you connect with them emotionally. Also, I found that the alternating perspective also allowed you to re-evaluate the story, which as a really nice touch. Honestly, I felt very sorry for August in this book and felt like crying alongside him as well as punching everyone who had upset him and R.J Palacio has beautifully presented the feelings of bullying, insecurities as well as harsh disorders.

I'd recommend this story to anyone, really. Any age, any gender. I feel like sensitive people would find the emotional connection powerful but I also feel like people who aren't connective to characters at all would still sympathise with August and all of the other characters. I feel like this book is going to go in the direction of The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time because it has that same sort of feel, although being different. Absolutely loved it!
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