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Wonder is a middle grade realistic fiction novel and R.J. Palacio's debut. It is about a 10-year-old Shrinking Violet who is about to attend school for the first time since he's been too busy with surgeries of his deformed face to go earlier. Although he manages to form a ¡Three Amigos! with his fellow classmates Summer Dawson and Jacklope "Jack" Will, his face scares off or repulsed all of his other classmates, and this novel is about his quest to gain a 100% Adoration Rating in his school. Also has a companion novel, Auggie and Me, published in 2015.

A film adaptation was released by Lionsgate on November 17, 2017, with Jacob Tremblay in the lead role as Auggie, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as his parents and Stephen Chbosky as the film's director. Broadway is producing a version of the story.

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Provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Julian. In the book he remains a complete jerk until the end, skips the graduation ceremony and doesn't reform or feel sorry for what he's done until after his grandma tells him an emotional story over the summer and then he apoligizes to Auggie. In the movie he apoligizes to Mr. Tushman in the scene he's caught with a flat-out " I'm sorry." (in the Julian Chapter he only said "I'm sorry I wrote those last notes" and didn't truly feel bad) and goes to the graduation ceremony where he can be seen clapping for Auggie and smiling.
    • The film trailer for White Bird: A Wonder Story seems to undo this, with a now very teenage Julian starting at a new school after (seemingly just) having been expelled from Beecher Prep for bullying.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In "The Julian Chapter" Mr Tushman was completely unsympathetic towards Julian's suspension and had him suspended for two weeks over the bullying of Auggie. In The Film of the Book, Julian is suspended for only two days and he even admits he knows Julian is sorry for what he did.
  • An Aesop: "Be Yourself" and "Don't judge a book by its cover".
  • Affectionate Nickname: August's parents, Mr. Tushman and Summer all call August "Auggie". Eventually most of his friends call him that.
  • Alpha Bitch: Savannah is mean, condescending, and hands down an awful person. Only Julian manages to outdo her in terms of being a bully.
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  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Mostly avoided by August but he does tease Via over her romance with Justin.
  • Arc Words: "Like a lamb to the slaughter..."
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Why August is in tears and asks his mother if his looks are always going to matter. She looks at him for a few moments and finally says "I don't know".
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Not a bathroom, but August witnesses Jack badmouthing him while wearing his Ghostface in class.
  • Big Bad: Julian.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Also doubles as a Heel–Face Turn. Miles, Henry, and Amos stop Eddie and his seventh-grader gang from harassing August and Jack.
    Amos: "Yo, dude. What's up, man? Leave them alone, dude."
  • Big "NO!": When Jack finds out that August overheard his unpleasant comments on Halloween. Bonus points for referencing the Home Alone example of this trope.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Julian acts like sugar and honey to the teachers but is in reality a nasty bully. He gets it from his mother who is even worse in that she actually edited Auggie's face out of the class picture and passed it out to other parents.
  • The Bully: Julian.
  • Burping Contest: The kids around August are having one at the school cafeteria.
  • Catchphrase: Summer's is "cool beans". August eventually adopts it.
  • Character Tics: Justin has quite a few.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Charlotte Cody. She tells Jack about the "boy war" Julian declared on him after his Heel–Face Turn.
    • Remember Justin, who Via is mentioned to have a crush on early on? He gets together with her much later in the book and becomes a main character.
  • Closet Geek: August tries to hide his Star Wars obsession.
  • Co-Dragons: Miles and Henry.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: There was a spin-off graphic novel called White Bird: A Wonder Story where Julian's grandmother tells him about growing up in World War II.
  • Cool Big Sis:
    • Via to August. She gives him advice on his first day of school and is supportive of her brother regardless of how he looks.
    • Miranda also counts. While she isn’t related to Auggie, she treats him like her little brother. She bought him his space helmet and calls him “Major Tom” while calling him over the phone. This ends up going too far, though, when it's revealed that while at summer camp, she claimed August was her brother to gain sympathy points from the other girls. Her guilt over doing so leads to her falling out with Via, although the two eventually make up.
  • Daddy Didn't Show: Miranda's parents cannot make it to the School Play. She is visibly affected by that and gives up her spot to Via whose parents are among the audience.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Via is a deconstruction of The Stoic. In her portion of the novel, she explains that after August was born, she learned very quickly that any difficulty she faced was nothing compared to her brother's life of constant surgeries, endless teasing, and being treated like a monster just because of his appearance. As such, Via never complains about anything, leading her to be praised for her maturity and strength. But deep down, Via is being affected by both the problems she's going through and the fact that her parents never seem to acknowledge those problems because they are (somewhat understandably) too focused on Auggie to care about her. Her own struggles and the fact that she can't openly express them form one of the book's major conflicts.
  • Did You Get a New Haircut?: When August cuts off his Padawan braid, his dad is relieved while her sister is annoyed since he had it since his childhood.
    • Via thinks this about Miranda and Ella, and doesn't approve.
  • Disappeared Dad: Summer's father died when she was young.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Jack toward Summer in the ending.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: August's got a long way to go before he can earn his 100% Adoration Rating.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: The kids at school avoid August so he has to sit and eat his lunch alone.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: August's dad calls him "Auggie Doggie" which he doesn't seem to like.
  • Emotional Torque: For anyone with a life long medical condition or being overshadowed by a sibling that requires a lot of time and attention from parents and other adults, Auggie and Olivia's narratives hit really close to home.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Julian is notably embarrassed by just HOW obnoxious his parents are during the parent teacher meeting.
  • Everyone Owns a Mac: Played straight in the film adaption, although Chromebooks are also featured.
  • Everybody Lives: Par for the course for a realistic fiction novel, but every villain Heel-Face Turns except for Julian, who ends up redeeming himself somewhat in sequel book “The Julian Chapter”. And Eddie, who is heavily implied to have been expelled. The only character who doesn't make it is Daisy.
  • The Faceless: August's face is not described until the second third of the book.
  • Finale Title Drop: In the film, the mother mentions August to be a wonder in the last scene at the auditorium.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: August likes Halloween because it's the one time of the year when he can feel like a regular kid hiding in a costume.
  • Deformed Boys Have Cooties: The other kids call their game of avoiding Auggie "The Plague".
  • Good Parents: Nate and Isabel Pullman.
  • Good-Times Montage: In the film.
    • The growing friendship between August and Jack is captured in a couple of key moments.
    • Key shots showing the kids enjoying their camping trip.
  • Happily Married: Nate and Isabel Pullman. Other characters including Justin and Olivia notice.
  • Heroic BSoD: August after the Wham Episode at Halloween where he thinks Jack betrayed him. Luckily his sister Via snaps him out of it.
  • Hidden Depths: Ximena Chin, the best friend of Savannah, is not only much nicer than she seems to be and is truly remorseful about the teasing of Auggie (who she has come to admire) but she has a younger brother with Down's Syndrome that she adores dearly.
    • Julian finds out that his paternal grandmother was hidden away by the Nazis during World War 2 by a boy who was crippled by polio that she had patronized and referred to as Torteau (French for "crab") due to his sideways walk from having two canes. She eventually fell in love with the boy and before he was taken away and killed in Auschwitz, he told her his name: Julian, a name she gave to her son that was passed down to his son, her grandson.
  • Homeschooled Kids: August was homeschooled by his mother all through primary school.
  • Humans Are Bastards / Humans Are Special: The main theme of the novel is what it means to be human.
  • Hypocrite: Played for laughs when the father tells August not to be afraid of anyone. When August asks him why he was whispering, the father says he was afraid of Auggie's mother.
  • Implied Love Interest: Summer to August, justified since they're both too young to be dating.
  • It's All About Me: Olivia accuses August of acting like this at one point.
  • Jerkass: Julian counts, but his parents (especially his mother Melissa) manage to outdo him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Julian and Eddie are the only antagonists who don't Heel–Face Turn by the ending. As of The Julian Chapter and White Bird: A Wonder Story this is finally subverted for Julian.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The harsh reality for August at middle school.
  • Killed Off for Real: Daisy, unfortunately. She gets sick and never recovers.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Played with. Olivia asks her friends to call her by her full first name while she's only known as "Via" at home.
  • Lady Drunk: Miranda's mother, who didn't get over the breakup with her husband.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Miranda feels this way about Auggie to the point that it felt right for her to pass Via's family as her own to make herself sound more interesting.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Plays in the movie after the family dog dies.
  • Love Triangle: Jack with Charlotte and Summer, he has in interest in the latter but the former has an interest in him. Downplayed, again since they're too young to be dating.
  • MacGuffin: The astronaut helmet Miranda bought for Auggie, which he used to hide his face when he was young. August's dad threw it away to help him come out of his shell.
  • Moment Killer: Parodied when August, his mom, and Jack arrive when Via and Justin are sharing their First Kiss and August and Jack chuckle while August and Via's mom pretends not to notice.
  • Motif: Outer space.
    • Auggie is a big fan of Star Wars.
    • Miranda frequently plays Space Oddity by David Bowie on repeat some of the lyrics to said song also open Olivia's narrative chapter.
    • In Olivia's point of view she begins by describing her family as being like the solar system with Auggie as the sun and compares different family members and friends as different planets.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jack says this inside his head when he realizes August overheard Jack's mean comments about him.
  • Never My Fault: Julian's mom tries to blame August for Julian's bullying.
  • Nice Guy: Summer is possibly the nicest character in the whole book.
  • Noodle Incident: August and his friends end up calling the Wham Episode at Halloween the "Halloween Incident".
  • Official Couple: Via and Justin.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. There are two characters named Zack in the book (one is one of August's childhood friends, one is Miranda's boyfriend.) There are also two Maxes in August's school who are Dungeons and Dragons fanatics. Ella (Miranda's best friend), Eleanor (Via's new friend), and Ellie (one of August's classmates) are three variations on the same name.
  • Onscreen Chapter Titles: Both the film and book are structured like this, each announced with a Title Card.
  • Overprotective Dad: Subverted. August's mom wants him to go to school to come out of his shell but his dad is worried about that. After his mom sees what school is like they switch sides.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending: The movie ends with a pan up from the auditorium to the night sky with August floating in space.
  • Parental Favoritism: Deconstructed. August gets the lion's share of his parents' attention, but it's only because his Treacher Collins Syndrome requires highly specialized care; they also worry a lot more about him being bullied because of his appearance and are heavily focused on his mental health as well. Via, Auggie's older sister, is mature enough to recognize why her parents spend so much time on him and thus takes the situation in stride, although it does affect her deep down.
  • Precision F-Strike: August: "I'm not retarded!"note 
  • Product Placement: Lucasfilm would have a field day for how many mentions of Star Wars there are.
  • Puppy Love: Deconstructed. The protagonists decide they're too young to be dating, which also leaves an Implied Love Interest between two of them.
  • The Reveal: What August's face looks like.
  • School Play: Via's actors group performance "Our Town", a play that has certain similarities to the plot as it shares vignettes of various characters at various points in their lives, including both happy times and sad.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Julian's parents attempt to pull this on Mr Tushman, only for him to counter that he has more connections.
  • Senseless Violins: Discussed. August advises Justin to tell everyone he has a machine gun in his violin case.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Jack is the Manly Man to August and Justin's Sensitive Guy.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Summer says this when Savanna teases her about the relationship between her and August.
  • Shout-Out: Before he learns its actual name, August calls The Plague "The Cheese Touch".
  • Shrinking Violet: August is very much someone who would rather be at home than out in public. And Justin.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Why Miranda and Ella decided to make themselves Hotter and Sexier for high school.
  • Sixth Ranger: Miranda eventually gets welcomed back into the little group of Auggie, Jack, Summer, Via, and Justin.
  • The Stoic: Justin is rather withdrawn for the most part. He even writes in all lowercase!
  • Stripperific: Miranda and Ella's new look. Complete with pink hair and Bare Your Midriff outfits!
  • Switching P.O.V.: Most of the book is centered around August, but the other main characters get to talk about their points of view as well.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: The Switching P.O.V. allows the audience to hear some characters' side of the story, like Jack's or Miranda's, who at some point have acted antagonistically.
  • Team Mom: Via. Mostly by default due to her being the oldest.
  • Team Pet: Daisy, later Bear.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: August, Summer, and Jack whose friendship endures through two thirds of the book.
  • Title Drop: Said by Isabel at the end of the book
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Summer is the Tomboy to Via and Miranda's Girly Girl.
  • Unfortunate Names:
  • Verbal Tic: August mumbles a lot during the beginning of the book, but he gets better once he comes out of his shell.
  • Voiceover Letter: In the movie, Jack's letter of excuse to the headmaster and the latter's response are voiced out by the actors.
  • Wham Episode: The so-called "Halloween Incident", where Jack makes some mean comments to August, who overhears them while in costume.
    • When Charlotte tells Jack about the "boy war".
    • The introduction of Eddie and the loss of August's hearing aids.
    • When Auggie is told that he has to say good-bye to Daisy who is in terrible pain and is put to sleep.
  • What Are Records?: In the movie, Via doesn't know what a floppy disk is. The father explains "it's basically an iPhone".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Via's new friends, Eleanor and Kevin?
    • After the Wham Episode with him, Eddie isn't mentioned again. He is presumed to be expelled.
    • Bear, the successor dog to Daisy after her death, isn't mentioned again after his introduction, and is mainly just a way to soften the death of the Team Pet.

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