Wonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
August Pullman is starting his first year of middle school . . . his first year of going to a real school, ever. Due to a combination of genetics he has a facial deformity and doesn't look normal (kids call him Zombie behind his back), but is normal in just about every other way.
Loved it. Characters are always a major selling point for me, and the characters were so real and human in this book. They carried the story with their honesty . . . kids make fun of August, while others are kind. Although I think they seemed a little older than 5th grade- more like 7th to me (so that makes this a great middle-grade book . . . borderline YA). When I first started reading, I thought it was only going to be from the POV of August, but when it switched to other characters I loved it! The perspectives and background stories of the other characters made it much more interesting and rounded. Like maybe you thought August had it rough, but once you hear from the others you realize that they have their struggles too, and August actually has some really great things going for him. The way this was written really shows the difference one person can have on other people's lives.
This is definitely a book that touches you, and makes you want to be a better person from reading it. To see the characters act nobly despite their shortcomings and mistakes and completely normal and human feelings . . . makes me think that anyone can be a noble, kind person even in the small, everyday things in their life, and especially in the big moments. These characters had some big moments where they stepped up and were great.