Written by R.J. Palacio. Published on Feburary 14, 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf. Hard cover, 316 pages.
"I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse."

R.J. Palacio's background

Palacio was born in Queens, New York City, NY and now she lives in NYC with her husband and two sons. For many years, she was an art director and book jacket designer, designing covers for countless writers. However, she always wanted to write. Going into college she was faced with the decision of either pursuing writing or art, but she ended up choosing art. Though, after 20 years she realized that this was the time, so she decided to just go for it and write a story. Wonder is her first novel and it was inspired by a real-life incident in which her three-year-old son reacted negatively to a girl with a facial deformity.


This novel takes place in Upper Manhattan where the main character's school is in walking distance. Beecher Prep is a private middle school that August was accepted in to. This novel is split into 8 parts that consists of a different narrators in which each character reveals details about facets of August's life. August doesnt have a great social life due to his rare facial deformity, but throughout the novel his confidence and social skills increase incredibly. Palacio creates the mood of vulnerability very quickly, but as time goes by you feel uplifted by the assertiveness demonstrated.

A Brief Summary

August was born with a facial deformity which prevented him from going to school. However, he decides to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep which implys enduring the taunting and harrassment of his classmates, such as the plague. He struggles to fit in and make friends while having the fear of being picked on every day. August faces an inner conflict of accepting who you are and not caring about what others think. A brilliant boy behind an abonormal face? Most of his peers are shocked. While he is trying to boost his confidence, his classmates are slowly learning that there is more important things than the apperance of a person.

August has a dearly loved older sister, Via, who feels like the forgotten child. She faces many problems in her school regarding popularity. She was popular at the start of high school, but fell down the ranks once she wanted to be herself. She brings up these topics to her family, but they are disregarded due to the conflicts August faces. She deals with frustration throughout the whole book relating to her family not listening to her problems.

Authors Message

Even with the novel set in a middle school environment, we as readers can learn the cruelity and humanity that human beings can possess. Palacio shows that there are cruel people out there, and those are the ones you ignore. However, at the same time there are some genuinely nice people. She embraces the idea of never judging a book by its cover or "never judge a boy by his face." A person is more than their apperance. Palacio also demonstrates the concept of kindness and that "when given the choice of being right and being kind. Choose kind." Every person deserves to be equal, an in order to do that, be kind before you judge.

Likes and Dislikes

Like: I really like the message behind the novel and how each character has insight on August and his social life. Also, I love how there are events that you don't think are important, but later in the book you learn that they are very signifigant. August and Via go to different schools which allows you to see how different schools actually are. Finally, I love how it's set in fifth grade instead of high school because you can have a different perspective on everything.

Dislikes: I didn't really like the fact that the grammar and puncuation was wrong even though it was intentional because fifth graders were narrating. Also, I wish there was more of August narrating since he was the main character.

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