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Wonder, by R.J. Palacio: Review

Fifth grade is a challenge for any normal kid, but ask Auggie Pullman and he would tell you that he is far from normal. Born with a facial anomaly that has subjected him to a cycle of surgeries for as long as he can remember, he's been homeschooled all his life and is almost accustomed to life with an extraordinary face.

It isn't until Beecher Prep middle school that Auggie begins to understand the massive potential of his fellow fifth-graders for cruelty. It takes time, bravery, and a bit of perspective to figure out that they have a lot of potential for a lot of kindness, too.

So, I'll start with a confession . . . I watched the movie first. I know, I know, but it's an excellent film, and having now read the book, I can confidently say that it is sufficiently true to the story. With that out of the way, Wonder is an absolutely enchanting novel—heart-wrenching, heart-warming, and glowing with simple beauty. A story that convicts, compels, and calls to action while inciting both laughter and tears.

Content Notes: The underlying message I received: "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind." God isn't a part of the story, and life after death is briefly discussed in childish terms that don't really include Him, but the message remains pure whether attributed to Scriptures or not: just be kind.

This book deserves a place on every shelf and I look forward to adding it to mine with permanence. It's the kind of story the world needs in abundance and is powerful for readers of all ages.

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