Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Remember when my daughter asked me to read Harry Potter? Well, that didn’t go so well. I’m still stalled on the second book.

More recently, she asked me to read Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012). This, I am pleased to say, went much better. Wonder is the story of Auggie, a ten year old with severe facial deformaties, as he integrates into middle school. It is told from several points of view, a narrative technique I adore, and is wonderful. It is not schlocky or sappy or suffused with pity. It is full of pop culture references that the kids adore. It is pretty nearly perfect.

And in these troubled times, it has a really great message: always try to be a little kinder than necessary. This comes from J.M. Barrie’s Little White Bird, seems to me to be pretty good words to live by.

Who would like this book? Wonder is aimed at middle grade readers, but i didn’t find it too juvenille or twee. It has great anti-bully messages and is taught in a lot of schools. All the kids in my daughter’s class who I’ve talked to liked the book, so that’s a thumbs up from ten year olds. It is set to come out as a movie in April. I don’t know how it will translate to screen, but then we all know that the book is always better anyways.

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks

caroline jacobsThis is one of those times when I judged a book by its cover and paid the price. I really like the look of The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks. I even like the premise – a PTA mom going back to get revenge on her high school bully. But ultimately, it fell flat for me. The plot, the writing, everything. That doesn’t mean I didn’t finish it – I did. It was a quick read and relatively brainless. Like a movie that you’d rent but never see in the theatre. Continue reading