August Pullman, a so called “ordinary” kid became a hero for me right from the first page. Entering junior high school is difficult enough, but to find the courage to do so with a facial deformity made this kid anything but ordinary. After being homeschooled his whole life, August’s parents introduce him to the idea of going to a public school where hundreds of people are given the opportunity to respond, favorably or not. And with a little coaxing from some caring adults and peers, August decides to take them up on it.
Palacio does a wonderful job telling the story through a handful of key characters. Family members and friends who see beyond the surface of this character’s face provide the reader with an honest account of what it means to wrestle with the deeper parts of socializing. Peer pressure and the “popular group” entice some of Augusts’ closest friends to turn against him. Painstaking accounts of mix-ups and regrets paste a real picture onto the page. The characters true to themselves and true to real friendship manifest in complicated layers of unyielded love and support.
Written with transparency and humor, Wonder is a story any reader who has felt insecure can relate to. Brought back to the awkwardness of junior high school, I empathized deeply for this character and the outcome of the story. I highly recommend it for anybody looking to find grounding when it comes to taking a stand for what’s right.