Monday, September 3, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Wonder, by RJ Palacio (plus a giveaway!)

Still finishing the last revision on KEEPER 2 (I need to be done by tomorrow--AHHH), so my hero, Deb Marshall is covering my MMGM again. (THANK YOU DEB!!!) And she's chosen to feature a book that's been staring at me from my TBR pile for months. WONDER, by R.J. Palacio.

Here's how the publisher describes it:

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a New York Times bestseller, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

And just like in previous times, here's Deb explain for herself why all of us need to read this one. Take it away Deb!
I’d been hearing about WONDER by R.J Palacio for some time before I read it. Saw comments on twitter, saw blog reviews. Readers were loving it, wowing it saying things like:

“We've all heard about VOICE, and WONDER captures the middle school voice perfectly. What's more, there are a number of narrators other than Auggie--from Auggie's sister Via (Olivia), to his friends Summer and Jack. All of the narrative voices are distinct and pitch-perfect for those characters.” Michael of Middle Grade Mafioso

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. Kirkus

"Full of heart, full of truth, Wonder is a book about seeing the beauty that's all around us. I dare you not to fall in love with Auggie Pullman."- Rebecca Stead, Newbery award-winning author of When You Reach Me

Betsy Bird included it in her list of top 100 Children’s Novels

And the lists of praise and starred reviews go on and on.

Well, finally I made it to WONDER in my NetGalley ARC “pile”. You know how sometimes you go into a book with exceptionally high expectations and it can’t possibly meet them? Not the case here. It totally met them and I read the book in a sitting. August Pullman (aka Auggie) is still with me. His personality and spirit is bigger than life. Empowering if you will. Anything is possible even when the impossible is staring you down. That’s what this boy left me with. That and a deeper sense of what it means to be kind. He is also a boy who will resonate with middle school kids because he wants to fit in just like everyone else. He wants his independence, doesn’t wanted to be treated like a kid. He needs friendship as he steps into the more often than not scary tween world where everyone is trying to figure themselves out. And boy oh boy you want those things for him. This book is classic.

Don’t take it just from me and the quoted reviews above, check out the conversations on twitter. What is great is you can hear from teachers, librarians, parents and bloggers who are hearing from kids what they think about #thewonderofwonder

As always, thanks for having me Shannon and Happy MMGM everyone! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

I really need to make time to read this book. SOON. Thanks so much for the feature, Deb!

In the meantime, I want one of you to have the chance to read it, so I'm giving away a copy to one lucky winner. To enter, make sure you leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PST on Saturday September 8th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, September 9th. International entries welcome.

For more awesome middle grade recommendations, check out these other MMGMs floating around the blogosphere.*

- Faith Hough joins the MMGM fun with her first feature on SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS. Click HERE to welcome her to the group.
- Andrea Mack is captivated by THE HEALING SPELL. Click HERE to learn why she thinks its worth a read.  
- Michelle Mason is falling in love with SEEING CINDERELLA. Click HERE to see why she enjoyed it.  
- Gabrielle Prendergast is raving over BREAKING STALIN'S nose over HERE. And she's highlighting LOOKING FOR ME IN THIS GREAT BIG FAMILY over HERE. 
- Heidi Grange is championing THE CLASSROOM: The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic-Kid.  Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Susan Olson is sweet on THE TIME GARDEN. Click HERE to see why.  
- Deb Marshall--overachiever that she is--also has an MMGM on her own blog. Click HERE to see what she thought about REBEL MCKENZIE--with a giveaway!  
- Kim Aipperersback is gushing about THE BIG SPLASH. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome!
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!

- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)

NOTE: I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. BUT, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you!

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen posts ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me ahead of time


  1. I've heard such great things about Wonder. Thanks for the review Deb. I'm going to let someone else win because my TBR stack is too high.

  2. I've wanted to read Wonder for a really long time so it'd be great if I won it *Puppy dog eyes*!

  3. Deb, I'm so glad your expectations were met on this one! Myself, I loved it (and thanks for quoting me, along with Kirkus and Rebecca Stead. I don't think I've ever been in such elevated company!) Great review!!

  4. I've had Wonder on my wishlist for months now. It sounds like such a great read!!

  5. Thanks for the great giveaway Shannon! Wonder has been a sensation this year with tons of great reviews. I'd love to win this copy. Thanks again.

  6. Thanks for the linkage and what? Overachiever? Moi?

  7. Thanks for the recommendation! I've seen it around, but haven't yet picked it up. Would be so fun to win. But if not, I'll just put it on my request list at the library. :)

  8. I so loved WONDER! But, I do have to say, the first time it kicked out of Auggie's POV, I was downright angry. I hadn't read anything about its POV and was caught unaware, but the multiple POVs truly do give perspectives that are needed in this story.

    1. That's exactly what happened to me when I read WONDER, Barbara. I had NO idea there were multiple points of view and I loved Auggies voice and world so much I was like, "What? What?" I flipped through and saw that there were many more viewpoints, but I was invested enough that I read on to give it a chance and LOVED it all. I thought the other viewpoints were wonderfully and beautifully done and added such great insight. This was one of my favorite books of this year.

  9. I had this from the library but I never got to it before I had to take it back. :-( I'd love to win a copy.

  10. I forgot to send in my MMGM link this week before I left for the holiday (and no internet). Here it is: I reviewed "The Floating Islands," by Rachel Neumeier. Great book!

  11. Oooh ooh ooh, pick me! PICK ME! (I'm not ashamed to beg.)

    Likewise, it's been on my TBR pile for months. My kids are going back to school on Thursday so I will finally have daytime reading time!

  12. I love the MMGM feature more and more! Great titles all around!

  13. I really enjoyed reading Wonder - one of my favourite from this year for sure.

  14. I've heard a lot of buzz about Wonder and look forward to reading it. Thanks for the review and the giveaway. Fingers crossed!

  15. I would love to read Wonder!!
    Thank you so much for the chance! ^_^

  16. Wonder sounds like a fantastic book :)

  17. Oh, I so want to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway.

  18. What an excellent review and post. Wonder is one of my favorite books from 2012. I read it and fell in love with it. We reviewed it on our blog and interviewed R.J. Palacio. I was over the top excited about the interview. :) I am now reading Wonder to my 5th grade students and hope that they will be as empowered by Auggie as I was (an you, too).

    1. Oh- and I would love to win a copy to put in my classroom. I only have a copy from the school because I gave mine to someone else to read. I know some of my students would love to read it on their own. :)

  19. Ohh, this seems like an awesome book :D Would love to win a copy of it. <3 Thank you so much for the chance :)
    Love, Carina

  20. Sounds like a great book. Enjoyed the book trailer. Thanks for sharing Deb's review of WONDER.

  21. Sounds like an emotional one. I'd love to win it!

  22. I'd love to read and share this book! Thanks for the recommendation and the giveaway!

  23. Lovely review, Deb. I gushed about this wonderful book back in March on MMGM! There have been other MMGM reviews of it, too (besides Michael's!). We all love Auggie and this book. It will definitely win the Schneider Family Award in January, and I certainly hope it also wins a Newbery honor at least.

    Shannon, that's a generous giveaway, but I already own a copy, so please give it to someone else.

  24. This book is on my trb list.
    Thank you for the chance at winning a copy.

  25. I hope you get a chance to read Wonder. I loved it - it was an amazingly great read!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake


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