Friday, 7 August 2015

Mini Reviews ft. Wonder and Wildlife

These are my thoughts on two books I recently read, and surprisingly, they're both contemporary and I liked them too.  I'm a little concerned that my reading tastes are slowly shifting, since I've lately been more interested in contemporary, realistic fiction rather than fantasy.  We'll see what happens.  Anyway, on to the reviews.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I guess the first thing to say is that I absolutely adored this book and all its main characters.  All of them!
It is told from several different perspectives but mainly follows a year in the life of August Pullman, a young boy who has a facial abnormality.  This is what he has to say about it:

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

There were so many heartbreaking moments in this book, and the thing is, you know that they are real stories which could be happening to people everyday in the real world.  I have to admit that I teared up multiple times whilst reading this.  Little Auggie is so sweet and brave and innocent and so very real that it's impossible not to fall in love with him - and feel hurt when he feels hurt.  I also loved how realistic the rest of August's family was.  I especially liked hearing from his sister's point of view, because she was honest and brave too.  She was a force to be reckoned with and I liked that the reader gets to see part of her story - along with the other characters whose perspectives make up this novel.

I want to talk a little about a scene, but it may be considered a spoiler, so I'm going to blank it out and you can highlight it if you want to read it. 

[I wanted to say that one of the parts that most affected me was when Auggie got his hearing aids.  I have some hearing loss in one of my ears and my mum has been pressuring me to get hearing aids for a long time.  I've always refused because I thought they would make me look silly I convinced myself that I didn't really need them anyway.  I was scared of what getting them would mean for me.  But after reading about August, and how he had the same fears as me, but he went ahead and got his hearing aids (not to mention ones that are a lot more obtrusive than normal) I just thought "wow, if this little (albeit fictional) boy can do that, I'm sure I can."]

To finish this review up, I just want to say that this book has truly affected me and has changed the way that I think about other people.  I had read multiple reviews saying that this book has changed them, but I never expected that it would be that way for me.  I feel like this is a book that everyone should read at least once in their lives.

"It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend."

Wildlife by Fiona Wood

This was a hard book for me to rate, because half of the story I loved, and half of it I didn't really care for.  You see, the book is told from two different perspectives (a fact that took me about 6 chapters to realise), Sibylla's view and Lou's view.  They're in the same cabin at a wilderness camp sort of thing that their school runs for an entire term.  Lou is dealing with a tragedy that occurred about a year ago, and Sib is rising to popularity after appearing on a billboard advertisement.  I don't know about you, but even from that description I know that I'm much more interested in Lou than I am in Sib.  To add to that, Sib is best friends with an absolute shocker of a girl (I am trying to refrain from using the worst insults here) and is trying to start a romantic relationship with some guy she likes because he's popular and good looking... well, I really didn't care about any of that.  In comparison to what Lou was going through, Sib's tale just seemed so stupid and petty [and it took her way too long to admit to herself how much of a beeeeep her "bestie" was].

The other thing that made me more invested in Lou's perspective was that I enjoyed her character a lot more.  She wasn't afraid to stand up for herself or others and she didn't mind not being a part of the popular crowd - she just wanted good friends.  This isn't to say that I didn't like Sib - I did - she just made some decisions that made me want to shake her!  I also liked the character of Michael, and his relationship with both Lou and Sib.

Personally, this book felt more relatable to me because it reminded me of the camp I just went on a bit over a month ago, plus, it was set in Victoria, my home state!

My favourite part of this book was the ending.  I think how everything ended up was perfect, something that's pretty rare!  I liked seeing how everything slowly fell into the place I thought it should be, if that makes sense.

Overall, this was a great novel about friendship and being yourself - I recommend it if you're up for a contemporary.

Have you read either of these?


  1. You just made me realize yet again that I really REALLY need to pick up Wonder. I've heard so many fantastic things about it but still haven't picked it up. I've never heard of Wildlife before but it does sound like an interesting read. I can't really imagine how two completely different storylines like the ones you describe work together, but it would certainly be interesting to read. :) Great reviews!

    1. You really do! :P
      It was interesting. It was hard to see how they would come together, but they did in the end.
      Thank you!

  2. I've never heard of Wildlife but I'm absolutely happy to hear you loved Wonder so much that it even changed you and even thinking about getting hearing aids is incredibly brave in my opinion. And I so agree with you, Wonder is a book everybody should read. It is an important one

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I don't think many people outside of Australia have.
      Wonder is super important. I didn't think I would love it so much - thank you for always recommending it on your blog!


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