Release date: This paperback edition 3rd January 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Coming-of-age story
Target audience: 10+
UK Publisher: Corgi
Wonder is a contemporary coming-of-age story. It’s heart-warming, it’s sad but above all, it’s a story which can teach us something about life.
August was born with a facial deformity. He’s been home educated until one day his mum suggests that he should join the Middle School nearby. She thinks it is time for him to go to school because he needs to find his way in the outside world. August thinks of himself as just an ordinary boy but when other people –adults and children alike- react like he is a freak, he feels alone and I guess misunderstood.
What I really liked about Auggie is that he never really felt sorry for himself. He wanted to be ordinary and he wanted to treated like every other student but he never pitied himself. He was a lively boy with a love of Star Wars and a keen mind. Though at first the idea of going to school is terrifying for him, his dad refers to it as a lamb to the slaughter, once he starts school he discovers that he loves learning – he does well in all his subjects.
The story is told from multiple viewpoints. We read his sister’s thoughts and her boyfriends, August’s friends Summer and Jack and then we return to August.
This story is so so easy to read. I read it in just a few hours as the voice pulled me straight in. It’s not a story with a huge amount of action. It’s more about people and how they interact with one another. If there is a single weakness in this book, it’s that the character don’t really sound that different from each other . They don’t have the difference in voice and dialogue which is done so well in books like Party by Tom Leveen. Having said that, I would still wholeheartedly recommend it. Because really it’s a book about how we are not all that different from each other. It isn’t what we look like that’s important but what we do – to be kind, to care for others, to take risks in life and to belong – these are the things that make us different and if we do them, then we stand out and are special.
Wonder is a life affirming read but also a book which will make you walk in another person’s shoes. It will make you think and want to be “kinder than is necessary” and that can only be a good thing. A really fantastic read that left me with a lump in my throat.
Source: Borrowed from the school library