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Wonder

Written by: R. J. Palacio
Length: 8 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (260 ratings)

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Audible Editor Reviews

"In a wonder of a debut, Palacio has written a crackling page-turner filled with characters you can't help but root for." —Entertainment Weekly

"Rich and memorable." —The New York Times

"A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation." —Wall Street Journal

Publisher's Summary

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING JULIA ROBERTS, OWEN WILSON, AND JACOB TREMBLAY!

Over 6 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller WONDER and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face.

The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement.

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference 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 #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, 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. 

"Wonder is the best kids' book of the year," said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. 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 listener 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.

Join the conversation: #thewonderofwonder

USA Today bestseller
Time Magazine's 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time
New York Times Book Review Notable Book
Washington Post Best Kids' Book

"In a wonder of a debut, Palacio has written a crackling page-turner filled with characters you can't help but root for." - Entertainment Weekly

"Rich and memorable." - The New York Times

"A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation." - Wall Street Journal

©2012 R. J. Palacio (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What the critics say

“Wonder is a book with such a big, wide heart - it shows how we are all fragile, imperfect, and perfectly beautiful creatures. A wonderful novel by a wonder of a writer!” (Julia Alvarez, author of Return to Sender, Before We Were Free, Finding Miracles, and the Tía Lola Stories)

"In a wonder of a debut, Palacio has written a crackling page-turner filled with characters you can't help but root for." (Entertainment Weekly)

"Rich and memorable." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Terrible choice of performer

Unfortunately I can't accurately rate the story, because the voice of Auggie was so bad that I couldn't get past the first chapter:( Maybe I will buy the book and read it. What a disappointment!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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A wonderful, inspirational story

I loved reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio and I love listening to the audiobook even more! I loved the use of 3 different voices for the narration. The change in narrators highlights the different points of view and 6 different perspectives that make up this "wonderful" story.

It is not often that I will say that everyone should read or listen to a specific book, but this is one of those rare exceptions. I love this story and I think that everyone can benefit from reading or listening to it. The positive message this book conveys is extremely powerful without being preachy. Auggie Pullman is an amazing protagonist. He is someone that we can empathize with, relate to and aspire to be like. An eleven-year-old boy with a severe deformity, he has had 27 surgeries and is starting school for the first time. He faces discrimination and bullying. I loved how Palacio portrays how mean people (both adults and kids) can be. This realistic story feels authentic and delivers powerful messages about determination, perseverance, having a positive attitude and true friendship.

Although I loved this book - especially how Auggie's classmates rallied around him when he was attacked by students from another school - the award ceremony at the end of the book seemed a little too perfect. (I would like to believe that there are school Principals out there like Mr. Tushman, but that is just not reality...) OK. Let go of the negative and get back to the positive...

Wonder has an inspirational feel-good ending. Alas, real-life rarely works out with an ending that is picture-perfect. Since the target audience is youth in middle school, however, perhaps this criticism is not entirely fair. Sometimes we need to suspend our disbelief and allow ourselves to be inspired. Auggie Pullman is an inspiring character that we can all aspire to be like - whether we are 11 years old or 71 years old. He is not perfect, but he comes pretty close to perfection.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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very disappointing

Just couldn't finish it. The voice of August is just so bad. I may get the book and read it to see how it ends.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I'm jaded


It was difficult to get past the narrator's voice, and perhaps if I'd read the story, rather than listened to it, it might have been more tolerable. As it was, knowing people with disfigurements and/ or disabilities, the story seemed too unrealistic. I know, I know, it's fiction, but when I read, especially about topics like this, it's usually to get a feeling of connection, and this didn't make me feel connected to the character, at all. It was a "hero's journey" plot, with an unlikely hero, and I suppose it's a good book for youth; it just didn't hold credibility with me.

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wonder-ful!!!

I had seen the movie and I know books are always better.... this book though... just WOW the way it is read it is like the kids is talking directly to you his voice fits perfectly. made me cry more than once.

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A Brilliant, well-performed story!

This is one of the best stories I have read. Every pre-teen and every parent has to read it!

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Well done

My daughter and I thought this version was very well done. It inspired her to read the book in her own.

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  • B
  • 2019-03-10

Great story

What a great story to break down barriers and learn a lesson on acceptance. Most of us want to be inclusive, but don't always know how. I didn't like Auggie's narrated voice, but all other narrators/voices were fantastic. highly recommend.

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Love love love!!

I listened to the book in the car with my kids and we loved it! What a great story with amazing messages of love and acceptance.

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  • K
  • 2019-02-14

amazing

if you are a human, you need to read this book. Open your heart and let August in.

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  • Annie M.
  • 2012-11-18

A WONDER-ful read for kids and adults

What made the experience of listening to Wonder the most enjoyable?

I have to admit that when I first started listening, the narrator's interpretation of Augie's voice wa a little hard to get used to. But the narrator hit just the right note, because a kid with a severe facial deformity WOULD have trouble speaking. In retrospect, this was perfect because it gave me a hint of the feeling other characters have upon meeting Augie. His face makes people uncomfortable--to say the least.

I found this masterful book after reading a NY Times rave review. I work in the YA market, so I need to stay current with the best books. Although this is supposed to be a middle grade novel, I'm giving it out to many of my adult friends for Christmas.

The characters, each and every one, are so beautifully realized. You will root for Augie, this very funny, very cool, but very damaged kid. You will love the unlikely friends he makes and boo for his villainous enemies. You will love the way Augie wins people over.

Parents might be interested to know that, unlike many of today's popular middle grade and YA fiction, the parents in this book are caring, dedicated parents. They aren't drunk, they aren't on drugs, they aren't brain-dead. I loved how they struggle to do their best for both their teenage daughter as well as for Augie, who naturally soaks up most of the attention.

I have given this book to a fifth grader, who devoured it. I've given it to a junior in high school, who devoured it. I cannot wait until the next RJ Palacio book comes out.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Well, I have to admit, it's an easy one: you will fall in love with the main character, Augie, an extremely ugly duckling who will never turn into a swan. You love him for the strides he boldly takes in a world that idealizes beauty.

Having said that, I also fell in love with Augie's sister, his wise principal, and all the friends who love him from the start--and those who learn the true meaning of beauty at the end.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed a lot in this book. Palacio "gets" fifth graders and teens. I never cried, but I do recall a few times when I had that smile on my face, the one that's just before you cry because you're happy.

Any additional comments?

Buy this book. Give it to your friends. Give it to your parents. Give it to your siblings. Give it to you mailman. This is a wonderful, wonderful book! It's about a fifth grader--but this is a book for every age.

53 of 65 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy in CA
  • 2014-09-10

A wonderful story for all ages!

Firstly, I'd like to address the narration. It seems a few readers were very put off by the female rendition of Augie s voice. At first, it seemed to me like an odd choice. However, as the book progressed, I got accustomed to it. I took into account that Augie had multiple facial deformities, including a cleft palate that was not yet completely repaired. He was also very small for his age. Under any circumstances, his speech/voice would have been somewhat odd and not entirely normal. I came to look forward to his chapters and listening to him narrate. So, for me, it was a positive, and I really enjoyed the narrator's interpretation of his voice.

As for the story, I loved everything about it. I really miss it now that I am done and keep wishing there was more. I actually miss Augie! This is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages; it is not just for middle school kids. I really liked hearing the viewpoints of the different characters and felt the author was successful in giving them each their own chapters. This book has so many good messages and it should go a long way in fostering understanding and tolerance of differences. It would be wonderful if it was required reading for preteen students. It brought smiles to my face and tears to my eyes and it had a very feel-good ending that I think was realistic and believable.

A highly recommended informative and fun listen!

56 of 70 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • 2013-09-07

Excellent way to teach differences... and sameness

As an adult who works extensively with developmentally and physically disabled children and adults... I applaud this book. Simply but beautifully told account of Auggie, who with his facial anomalies leaves the cocoon of homeschooling to attend 5th grade. Well rounded point of views help the reader to understand how this disability affects friends, siblings, parents and teachers. Uplifting, clean read with a few sad spots and some really funny parts too. Nicely done!

39 of 49 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher Barnes
  • 2012-07-08

Well-written YA Fiction hurt by flawed narration

What did you love best about Wonder?

Wonder is a story that all middle school children should be reading. As an elementary teacher, I can tell you that it doesn't do justice to the occasional savagery of young adults, but it's still a close enough approximation to be a valuable tale.

Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

The trouble with this recording is the narrator who performs the role of August. August is in many ways a naive and overprotected character, but the narrator's vocal presentation is not nuanced and represents him as more infantile than I understood him to be. Indeed, I'm not sure this male role should have been performed by a woman: I found her attempt at a prepubescent male child's voice to be grating and unpleasant to listen to. The narrator who performed Jack's character was much more believable as a city kid; indeed, all the other character performances (some of which may have been performed by the same narrator who performs as August, but using a different voice, thankfully) were excellent. If you can tolerate this troublesome character representation, then you'll enjoy this book. I gritted my teeth and plowed through the initial sections until the narrators switched, and I'm glad I did---the story's worth reading to its conclusion.

38 of 48 people found this review helpful

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  • Regina-Audible
  • 2014-05-08

Everyone deserves a standing ovation at least once

This book warmed my heart. Auggie's character is honest and loveable, showing courage and perception well beyond his years. Wonder develops through the viewpoints of multiple characters - each captured through a unique and fitting voice - adding depth and personality to a beautifully written story of family, friendship, acceptance, and the never-ending struggle to fit in.

27 of 34 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jay
  • 2013-08-05

A Beautiful Story

This is a beautiful story. An amazing story for any youth to read. It could also teach a lot of adults a thing or two about empathy as well.

I really like how a boy so 'ugly', could spread so much joy and love. Amazing overall.

However, I must say that the choice to have the boy's voice read in a raspy whisper was an absolutely TERRIBLE choice. Why wouldn't they just use a normal young sounding male? It was extremely annoying, and it made him sound like a whiny baby. The writing wasn't bad at all, but the narration was just dreadful.

Kate Rudd was amazing as always, and she saved the entire book for me. 5 star for her. 1 star for the other. 3 star overall.

43 of 55 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sara
  • 2013-04-17

LOVE this BOOK

Would you consider the audio edition of Wonder to be better than the print version?

I have only listened to this book so I cannot judge but the audio book was fabulous.

Who was your favorite character and why?

August of course. What a courageous soul. He makes you want to do better for others.

Which scene was your favorite?

I love when his classmates come to his rescue in the woods. That was a very powerful moment.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

August the boy who taught others to be humane.

Any additional comments?

Super book for girls and boys. My reluctant reader of a nephew (13) read the book and loved it. It has something for everyone and gives you great perspective.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jennifer
  • 2013-03-25

Stunning

My only complaint: the cartoonish narration detracted from this otherwise sublime and poignant story. A wonderful book– one that everyone should read.

25 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2017-05-28

I'M THE OLD MOLDY CHEESE

SOMETIMES A DUCK IS JUST A DUCK
Another fantastic book in the kid's section. Palacio handles a tough topic in a beautiful and wonderful way. Beauty is subjective and changes with the latest fad. Of all deformities, one to the face, which can not be hidden has to be the worst. August is a brave soul, with little choice and must learn to deal with his face and how others react. Get your hanky ready, you will need it. I liked this from the beginning, it is always entertaining, but I really did not feel invested until four hours in. It was a five star listen up to four hours, it just got goosed up a bit in the middle and stayed that way to the end. Don't scoff at the junior high war, I was the center of one in my eight grade year It changed my outlook on life and people for the rest of my life.

Narrator
It was not until after listening and getting ready to write this review that I realized some people had trouble with the narration. August had a gruff sounding voice, done by a woman, but I just figured it was the result of his deformities and surgeries. A girl does the boy voice in Room and a girl does Bart Simpson. Women doing young boy voices is fairly common.

146 of 191 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2013-01-19

And adults can like it too!

What did you like best about this story?

I was prepared for another "kid bullied, kid triumphs" kind of story. This was much more nuanced. Auggie brings out the best in those who are open to it, while those who aren't become ever more isolated and stuck. Love wins.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The performance kept my attention.

Any additional comments?

The intonation of the mother was sometimes too patronizing or condescending. The sister was dead on. Auggies voice reflects impairment, but could become too grating in long spells. None of it was enough to keep me from recommending the book in any form to many friends. Thinking about making it a reading project for my confirmation class!

18 of 24 people found this review helpful