Book Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I haven’t read many middle grade books as an adult. Most of the ones I read are actually rereads of my favorites (such as the Baby-Sitter’s Club books, Roald Dahl’s novels, and Judy Blume’s books). I have walked past Wonder so many times at Target and just never felt like I needed to read it.

Recently I saw that Wonder has become a move that will be released this November. The trailer looks amazing (although I am a huge sucker for anything Julia Roberts!) and of course the book lover in me had to read the book first. I’m trying really hard this year to be a better patron of the library, so I checked it out.

I sat down with the book and blew through it in a day. I had to put it down a few times because it was just so good that Palacio’s writing made me emotional. What I loved best about the book is that I felt like it was written for its audience. I’ve read middle-grade books and have rolled my eyes because it never felt like those books were written for 10-, 11-, and 12-year-olds. This book feels just right for that audience.

Colored chalk on a blackboard background

Wonder also tackles some tricky subjects like self-esteem and bullying in a realistic way. Things aren’t magically solved. Auggie is a tough, brave kid but he also struggles. His sister has struggles. Friendships are tested. We get to hear these struggles from a lot of different points of view. This makes the book seem so real. I can see kids reading this and related to the things Auggie is thinking and feeling as well as the thoughts of the other characters. It’s the kind of book that will lead to really rich and deep conversations.


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