Book Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio


Genre: Children’s novels, Young Adults

Rate: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wonder is a novel written by R.J. Palacio published in 2012.  This fiction novel tells a story about August Pullman, a 10 years old boy who has facial deformity since he was born. Because of that ‘differences’, all his life he’s homeschooled and the story starts when Auggie’s parents, Nate and Isabel Pullman decided to send Auggie to Beecher Prep School to make him know the real life. According to them, the year is the best suited because Auggie will be in his fifth grade which is the first year of middle school and he won’t be the only new kid. But, the problem is Auggie is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face. Could he face the challenge and bear the burden in his new school?

This kind of story is the one that got me on the hook. Well, to be honest, I read this intentionally while I was randomly surfing on Goodreads. As a young adults fan, after randomly clicking here and there, my eyes stopped at this novel.  The cover got me at first, but after reading the review I decided to read it. At first, I downloaded the pdf version. Yes, I did it illegally (I’m so sorry, ok?!), I had no serious intention to finish this book. But after I’m done reading it, I definitely gonna buy the book version later. Promise!

One sentence that can describe my feeling is, I adore this book very much. Why? Because the story is simply sweet. Palacio tells the story with Auggie’s point of view. What impressed me the most is, she tells it in a way that a 10-year-old boy does. Palacio also describes it in a very good way about what Auggie feels with the things he has to face every day. How everybody always has that shock face the first time they see his face, the whispering he has to listen, the kids who don’t want to befriend him, etc. “Society judges you” is the concept I would offer to describe it. Palacio’s ability to put it in a simple way makes me feel like it’s Auggie who tells the story genuinely by this book.

Other than Auggie’s point of view, Palacio also offers the point of view from people around him. There are Via- Auggie’s sister, Jack- Auggie’s friend, Justin- Via’s boyfriend, and Miranda- Via’s best friend. My favorite one is Via’s, the sister who’s in her entire life knows how Auggie is. She knows the story since Auggie was born and she is used to it. Somehow it makes her doesn’t understand why people always get shocked by Auggie’s face. But then one day, Via had to separate with Auggie for several months because he had to have surgery. By the time they meet again, Via finally understands how others’ feeling when they meet Auggie. It’s as if she got a whole new point of view of Auggie. And that was the thing that causes her internal conflict. As much as she loves Auggie, she feels the jealousy of how people treat Auggie. Quoting from the novel, Via put it in a metaphor: “August is the Sun. Me and Mom and Dad are planets orbiting the Sun. The rest of our family and friends are asteroids and comets floating around the planets orbiting the Sun”. Here, I can feel her. She’s just an ordinary kid that also wants to be treated equally. Not to mention, things she has suffered when her friends know Auggie’s condition. But despite all of that, she loves Auggie more than anything.

This simplicity of the story is the one that made me drown in Wonder. I’m actually not that kind of person who easily gets emotional (I didn’t even cry when I read The Fault in Our Stars, haha), but this book is one of the exceptions. I shed tears in several parts. Bravo for Palacio for making me cry! Lol

The message that Palacio wants to deliver is told through J.M. Barrie’s quote, which is:Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed”. Yes people, we have to be kind to everyone with no exception. Just because someone is different than us, doesn’t mean we can’t be kind to them. Generally, it’s known as don’t judge a book by its cover. By the description of how the characters treat Auggie, Palacio delivers that message. But, my favorite quote isn’t that one, but the quote that is thought by Justin- Via’s boyfriend when he’s thinking about what happened to Auggie.

“.. it’s not all random, if it really was all random, the universe would abandon us completely, and the universe doesn’t. It takes care of its most fragile creations in ways we can’t see. Like with parents who adore you blindly, and a big sister who feels guilty for being human over you, and a little gravelly-voiced kid whose friends have left him over you, and even a pink-haired girl who carries your picture in her wallet. Maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. the universe takes care of all its birds.”

I couldn’t agree more with that quote. Whatever happened to us, all is set up in such a way that sometimes we don’t understand or putting it in my favorite words, it’s a universe conspiration. Just believe that no matter how bad it is, if we look closer, we also have something that we could be grateful of. There will always something we must be grateful of.

Last, I really recommend this book for everyone out there who wants to know how to be grateful with the life we have.


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