|Both kids read this and I am almost too late to the party.|
Both my daughter and son read this and were moved by the story. My son is now in the fifth grade, so I can refer to Wonder to illustrate the various points parents usually emphasize.
The story is about a boy, August, who initially was home schooled but decides to give a New York prep school a try. This is fiction, which allows the story to be told from multiple characters' first-person.
There is a sister, parents, school administrators, bullies, friends, allies, and intrigue appropriate to the grade level. All the Star Wars references check-out which gives the writing verisimilitude. The social struggles, which make up the main narrative engine, were gripping and appropriate.
The best writing makes the reader feel that he/she inhabits the life of the characters depicted. This succeeds and if there is a lesson to be gleaned from the book it is one of empathy, delivered in a non-preachy manner.
My 10-year-old picked up that the real villain was not Julian, the boy who socially isolates August, but rather his mother, who refuses to confront her son's bad behavior. Palacio has empathy both for the bully and bullied as they are both only 10-years old.
A truly enjoyable read!