Author: R. J. Palacio
Review: The opening to Wonder was great we meet August we has a facial deformity and is having to live with that and the pressure of going to school for the first time as August has been home-schooled for most of his life. I loved watching August interact with his parents especially his father and how they have to word every conversation carefully to avoid putting too much stress on August, in reality though August does have a very normal home life and school seems strange and scary for him but he is excited in his own way. On a tour of his new school August meets Jack, Julian and Charlotte; Jack and Charlotte are helpful and nice towards August although Julian is quite rude and a little mean to August but he tries to not let it hinder him or the new experience he is going to be facing very soon.
As we approach the 1/4 mark in the novel we see August on his first day of school in homeroom where Julian is really mean to him but in a very sneaky way that made me want to punch a child. R. J. Palacio really knows how to set up a sob story. We see August make a friend who wasn’t introduced to him by an adult and her name is Summer and she seems really accepting of August and he knows he is going to like school no matter what. For the rest of September August struggles to adjust to school but by the time his birthday comes around in October he has a few friends he can invite from school although Julian is still a bit of a problem most of the kids have stopped staring at him which August likes.
As we cross the 1/4 mark in the novel the point of view changes that Via August’s sister. I really like how she refers to August as the Sun which the planets (her and their parents) revolve around because life wouldn’t exist without the Sun so we see how much she values her brother despite his deformity. It was kind of sad to see how left out of the family Via feels although she understands why she isn’t the center of attention like most teenage girls she feels unloved at times especially when her life changes as she enters high school. She wants August to grow up so her parents so babying him all the time but I felt there was some underlying reason for her attitude towards August at times.
As we approach the half way mark in the novel we see despite her angry feelings towards August sometimes he can always talk to Via and she even convinces him to stay in school even when he is hating it because that’s what normal people do. The point of view then changes again to that of Summer; August’s friend. We see Summer’s amazing heart as she understand their is something wrong with August but she doesn’t let that define him she actually gets to know him and really likes him. They becomes fast friends spending almost all of their free time together, Summer even rejects an offer from the popular kids because she values her friendship with August more than popularity like other girls her age. We also get to see Jack’s perspective and considering the events leading up to this perspective I was really anxious to see what Jack had to say for his actions.
As we cross into the second half of the novel we see Jack realise there is more to life than being popular and he realises what he did to make August not want to be friends with him anymore but he does ultimately make up with him by punching Julian in the face. It seems by this point that August is making some really great friends who will stick by him through thick and thin. After their fight Julian gets back at Jack by telling all the boys at school not to talk to him but Jack doesn’t really care he feels like he can be himself around August and his happy. August is then introduced to Justin who is Via’s sort-of boyfriend and the point of view changes once again. I like the multiple P.O.V.’s because provides several different views about August and who he is rather than what he looks like.
As we approach the 3/4 mark in the novel we see Justin learn more about August and Via. He learns that Via is so fragile especially when it comes to August, she didn’t tell her parent’s about the performance both she and Justin are performing in because she is embarrassed by August and doesn’t want her friends to talk about him behind her back. Justin understands this and comforts her but he thinks that the universe hasn’t been unkind to August but the exact opposite because it has given him a loving family and amazing friends despite his appearance. When we return to August’s point of view we see his life changing after six months of basically hell people are becoming bored with Julian’s bullying and are being nice to August and more people are willing to try getting to know him before making their judgement. August faced harder trails when his dog Daisy dies because she was the only person that didn’t care what he looked like because to her all humans looked the same but in a way it brings August and Via closer together again especially when they all attend Via’s play.
As we cross into the final section of the novel we are introduced to Miranda’s point of view. Over the course of the novel we have heard many conflicting things about Miranda but now we learn the truth, although one consistent thing we have heard is that Miranda really liked August even keeping a picture of him in her wallet. We learn Miranda like the other characters has been having a hard time at home and while away at summer camp she told a lot of lies including the fact that August was her brother not Via’s. But towards the end of the novel we can see her and Via making up slightly especially after Miranda bowed out of the play to let Via take her place as the lead role. We then return to August’s perspective for the remainder of the novel.
The ending to Wonder was beautiful, this book just gives out so many great messages to the reader and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. I can’t wait to read more from this author very soon. The characters in this book as so very developed and diverse its brilliant; we have a characters with a deformity, a character whose biracial, rich characters, poor characters and everything in between.
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