Wonder by R.J. Palacio Release Date: February 14, 2012 Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers YA/Middle Grade Number of Pages: 352 Hardcover Source: Warren Library Rating: G Read 11/3/17 to 11/4/17
I feel like I’ve been quite the bad book club member lately. I’ve had a hard time finishing the books lately. Happily, that was not the case with this one. As usual, I’m going to give you my review, my rating, and then some feedback from my book club.
I know I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time reading a book that has a lot of hype behind it. I like that hype to die down before diving in because I don’t want to go in with my expectations so high that I end up disappointed. This is one of those books. Anyone I’ve ever talked to who has read this book has praised it, therefore I was afraid to read the story for fear it would let me down. Then it was picked for my book club and I realized the time had finally come. I’ll start out by telling you that I was not disappointed…at all.
When I finished this story, tears running down my cheeks, I knew I’d be recommending this one to all. Not only is there such a great message in this book, but it’s really easy to read. The chapters are super short but get their point across. The story is told in alternating POV and somehow the author can convey a 5th grade boy’s voice as well as a 9th grade girl. When I was reading from Via’s point of view I was never confused that it was Summer’s POV. The voices were very distinct.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the experience of reading this story was I didn’t know where it was going. Although it has been out and lauded for years, the details of the story aren’t ever really given. That helped me to enjoy the journey much more because I wasn’t reading with a sense of anticipation for some big thing to happen. Instead I got the tone of Auggie’s family, his school, his friendships. I was able to soak it all in without distraction.
That being said, I’m going to limit what I say about the story myself. It’s best to be experienced for yourself, not with someone else telling you how it should or shouldn’t make you feel.
There were no mixed reviews on this one. Everyone loved it! The only person missing this week was Linda. But since last book club, Kristina dropped out…for now. Having a 2-year-old and new-born makes it hard to find time to read for pleasure. Plus she runs my older niece’s (her stepdaughter’s) girl scout troop and volunteers at the school. She’s a busy mama.
If you haven’t been around here long, two of the book club members are teachers. Liz teaches 4th grade so her students are the initial target audience for this book. She mentioned she has a 5th grade teacher friend who reads the book and does activities with her class every year. And every year there is at least a handful of students that re-read the book because they just fall in love with the story. Tina is a specials teacher (actually now an administrator) so has worked with all ages. She pretty much echoed what Liz said.
We all agree that this book, although technically a middle grade story, has so much for all ages. Since the story is written for multiple viewpoints, it has something for everyone. If you’re not in the same head space as 5th grader Auggie, maybe you can sympathize with high schooler Via. If you never had any major bullying happen to you, maybe you were the popular kid everyone looked to for reactions. Any way you slice it, this has something for anyone who wants to pick it up.
Wonder is definitely a book we will all be recommending to friends and family for a long time to come. Do yourself a favor and give it a read, then pass it down to a middle grade kid who could use some support.
For once I have complete information on the next book club! Probably because I’ll be the host next time. We tend to skip December because it’s so darn busy for us all so we won’t be meeting again until January. That would be Sunday, January 28 to be exact. We’ll be reading A List of Cages by Robin Roe. I know, I know…I’ve read it before. But I really wanted everyone else to read it, too. I haven’t had a chance to really have a good discussion with anyone about the book and would love to be able to do that. If you haven’t read it, please do. It’s so good!