Wonder, by RJ Palacio

Genre: realistic fiction
Reading level: 4
Interest level: 4

August Pullman is a normal kid, on the inside. He won’t describe what he looks like. “Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.” His outward appearances, plus his multitude of operations, have left him homeschooled until this year. This year he will be attending Beecher Prep in the 5th grade. Wonder is a diary written by Auggie, his sister, and his school friends.

Wonder is a tough read. I almost stopped halfway through. We have all read books like this. You know it isn’t going to get any better. They killed off Freak the Mighty, remember? This book is recommended to fourth graders. I wouldn’t want my child to read this alone. It has great discussion points for a read-aloud. Reading it alone, even as an adult, was disturbing. I felt so bad for Auggie and the fact that it would never get any better for him. But it does get better. Auggie makes friends and bonds with his classmates. He has two very loyal friends who stick with him through the year. By the end, he is almost the school mascot.

Wonder is full of modern literary references. For example, the kids are playing ‘plague.’ Whoever touches anything that Auggie touches must wash their hands immediately. Auggie knows that they are playing an exclusive game, but he calls it the ‘stinky cheese’ game from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Wonder has been selected by Amazon editors as the #1 book for middle school students.

Palacio, R. J., & Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (2012). Wonder. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.