R.J. Palacio Wonder

Last updated date: July 16, 2019

DWYM Score
9.8

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We looked at the top 1 Fiction Books and dug through the reviews from 10 of the most popular review sites including The Guardian, Thought Co., Kirkus Reviews, Kid's Book Review, DOGO Books, Children's Books Daily, Tania 2 A Tee, Disability In Kidlit, Your Teen Mag, Smart Happy Mom and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Fiction Book you should buy.

Overall Take

R.J. Palacio really hits it out of the park with “Wonder." This book gives readers a serious story with such light-hearted surroundings. There is truly no other fiction book like it. You will want to read it over and over again. In our analysis of 97 expert reviews, the R.J. Palacio R.J. Palacio Wonder placed 1st when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 16, 2019:
Checkout The Best Fiction Book for a detailed review of all the top fiction books.

Expert Summarized Score
9.8
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.8
13,380 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
This book is bold, funny and engaging. If someone had told me about the topic of this book before I read it, I think I would have mostly chosen to read it because I did not want to walk away from the sad truths and I owed it to people who have similar problems to August
- The Guardian
It‘s the straightforward, non-sentimental manner in which Palacio approaches her topic that makes this such an excellent book.
- Thought Co.
April 9, 2019 | Full review
Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community.
- Kirkus Reviews
But most of all, I was majorly impressed by the lack of schmaltz, the decidedly UNfantastical ending - and the heart-wrangling reality of the entire sordid business of living a life sans perfection. You'll laugh, cry and cheer your way through this beautifully-balanced older junior fiction novel. One of my favourites - ever.
- Kid's Book Review
March 8, 2012 | Full review
One of the things I love most about this book is the way it is set out in parts. Those parts are written by six different characters. They all have varied perspectives on events.
- Children's Books Daily
What I love most about the book is the realness of it all. Mr. Tushman, the long-winded school Director, and Mr. Browne English teacher trying hard to instill kindness in a bunch of ten-year old’s.
- Tania 2 A Tee
August 16, 2017 | Full review
Wonder remains an engaging, enjoyable book. R.J. Palacio’s ten-year-old voices are consistently believable, as are those of her slightly older narrators. The journey of the narrative is satisfying; every major character learns something important about themselves and the world they inhabit.
- Disability In Kidlit
January 19, 2018 | Full review
Despite his first-sentence assertion, “I know I’m not an ordinary 10-year-old kid,” August Pullman is just that. He’s a gloriously, spectacularly, and reassuringly ordinary 10-year-old kid.
- Your Teen Mag
There are no flat characters here. Palacio changes points of view every few chapters, giving the reader a chance to hear the voice and viewpoints of different characters in the story.
- Smart Happy Mom
May 30, 2017 | Full review
What experts didn't like
However, some of the other viewpoints—especially of Via’s friends—feel somewhat unnecessary and bog down the middle of the book.
- Thought Co.
April 9, 2019 | Full review
Besides August’s condition, Wonder is a very beige, cisheteronormative, upper-middle-class and surprisingly abled book. This seems like a missed opportunity, especially as August is the only visible disfigured/disabled character in the book – which, to me, is sad.
- Disability In Kidlit
January 19, 2018 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Wonder is a rare gem of a novel--beautifully written and populated by characters who linger in your memory and heart. August Pullman is a 10-year-old boy who likes Star Wars and Xbox, ordinary except for his jarring facial anomalies. Homeschooled all his life, August heads to public school for fifth grade and he is not the only one changed by the experience--something we learn about first-hand through the narratives of those who orbit his world. August’s internal dialogue and interactions with students and family ring true, and though remarkably courageous he comes across as a sweet, funny boy who wants the same things others want: friendship, understanding, and the freedom to be himself. “It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” From The Little Prince and R.J. Palacio’s remarkable novel, Wonder.--Seira Wilson

Overall Product Rankings

1. R.J. Palacio Wonder
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 10
2. Marc Sullivan Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 10
3. Alfred A. Knopf The Book Thief
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 11
4. Delia Owens Where the Crawdads Sing
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 9
5. Kristin Hannah The Great Alone
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 13
6. Lauren K. Denton The Hideaway
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 10
7. Rick Riordan Percy Jackson And The Olympians
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 3
8. Leslie Wolf Dawn Girl
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 1
9. Georgia Hunter We Were the Lucky Ones
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 11
10. John Boyne The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Fiction Books

Although choosing a book can be a very personal experience, the best fiction books are loved by many people. There is nothing like a great story to captivate your attention and imagination and keep you wanting to read more. When you start to discover the fiction genres, you will find they all have several main characteristics in common. Outstanding themes, characters and excellent execution make the top fiction books something that everyone can enjoy.

First, if you aren’t familiar with the fiction genre, let’s explore it. The definition of a fiction book is, “literature comprising works of imaginative narration”. This could be in the form of a novel or short story. There are multiple categories of fiction for readers to discover including adventure story, biographical novel, ethnic fiction, gothic, historical fiction, horror, mystery and science fictio,n to name a few. It’s just important to keep in mind that the main characteristic of a fiction book is that it is not a real story, but entirely creatively written.

For those who enjoy a great sci-fi thriller movie or a graphic horror television series, turn your attention to the popular horror fiction or science fiction novels of today. Picture the “Goosebumps” series, “1984” by George Orwell or “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. These novels are still famous today and attract new readers every year with their science fiction stories and characters. You will surely find excitement in this sub-genre of fiction.

When you want to read a book that keeps you guessing at the answers, a mystery fiction novel is for you. A phenomenal author is John Grisham. Although his angle is legal writing, most of his books have an excellent element of mystery to make the reader unable to put the book down. For a world-renowned author, turn to Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Agatha Christie are others in this genre. Look for their names among others when you need a good mystery to solve.

Young adult is another subcategory of the fiction genre. These books often capture the attention of teenagers with an adolescent storyline and relatability factor. “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio is a prime example of a top fiction book in the young adult subcategory of the fiction genre. This fiction book became so popular that it inspired a feature film.

If you don’t mind deciphering fact from fiction, a biographical fiction book is what will catch your eye. “In Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel” by Mark Sullivan, the story is based on an actual person but enhanced with made-up events and characters. The sign of a good biographical fiction is not knowing where the truth is and the imagination of the writer. The drama and historical facts should combine in a symbiotic relationship to create an outstanding literary adventure for readers. This was accomplished so well in “Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel” that it also came alive on the television screen. Similar titles in this category include “Unbroken” and “The Nightingale.”

Historical fiction is a well-loved sub-genre of fiction books. These often tell the story of society as it battles strife or prosperity during certain notable time periods. “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is everything a historical fiction should be, with excellent depictions of Germany during the Nazi Regime and the true struggles of a foster child. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is another historical fiction that is just simply beautiful. It will evoke intense emotions and bring you right back to that rocky time of the late ’60s early ’70s. If you have a favorite part of history, you will surely find a historical fiction novel like these that will really captivate your senses.

There are many more excellent fiction books to discover. These are just a few of the top fiction books, recommended by fellow readers. You won’t regret picking one up as you’ll discover, you’ll not be able to put it down.

DYWM Fun Fact

The very first fiction novel is thought to be the “Tale of Genji” by Murasaki Shikibu. She wrote the 54-chapter novel in the early eleventh century about an aristocrat, Hikaru Genji. Murasaki Shikibu was said to have used her experiences in the imperial court to write the book. It is a masterpiece to the Japanese culture.

“Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, is at the top of the list of best-selling fiction books of all time. With over 500 million copies sold, this book can be found everywhere. It’s followed by “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens at 200 million copies sold. “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien remains in the third spot, with 150 million copies sold to date. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” appears on the list at number eight with 100 million copies sold. Among the rest on the list are works by Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis and Dan Brown. These top-sellers are rated in order of copies sold and do not include religious staples, such as the Bible and The Quran.

The Fiction Book Buying Guide

  • One of your greatest resources for finding the top fiction book is recommendations from your closest friends and family. Ask them before you embark on the task of finding a good book to read. Friends especially will hold similar interests as you, so their taste in literature may line up with your own.
  • Before you buy a book, visit your local library to ask a librarian for references. They are a fabulous resource if you are entirely new to the fiction genre.
  • Always read the book summary before blindly buying a fiction book. These summaries tell a whole lot without spoiling the entire story.
  • Find reviews online of fellow readers, so you don’t waste your money on a book that got a mediocre response.
  • When building your personal library with fiction novels, try to vary your collection with different authors and/or sub-genres. This will give you a well-rounded selection of the entire fiction genre.