Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Kate and Mary are sisters who have a lot to deal with.  Their father, the minister of the church has just died, their mother is in a permanent vegetative state, and Kate and Mary’s relationship is strained.  Kate dreams of going to Stanford to become a doctor, but now that her father is gone, she can’t bear to leave her younger sister to take care of her mother.  Mary just wants to stay home and paint, and believes her mother will one day wake up.

As if that’s not enough to handle, there are also three young men who complicate the sisters’ lives.  Kate’s boyfriend Simon offers her marriage and security.  Mary is attracted to Marcos, but she’s afraid of his involvement in a gang.  And Andy is the new pastor who Kate seems to be falling in love with. 

This is beautiful coming-of-age story that explores end-of-life choices, ambitions, love and the sacrifices we make for those we love.   I think Francisco X. Stork is a great author who really understands the complexities of human behavior and relationships.  His characters are mulit-dimensional and I really felt connected to all these wonderful characters.  
Great for grades 9-12.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


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

August Pullman, also known as Auggie, is a 10yr old boy who has a severe facial disformity, which has prevented him from going to a mainstream school – until now.  Auggie doesn’t want to go to school, but his mother is determined that he should try before he reaches middle school.  How can Auggie fit into this new school, when kids stare, whisper about him, or try to avoid looking at him?  Even though he’s used to people’s reaction to him, he still wants them to see that inside, he’s just the same as they are. 

Auggie has a loving family and a good sense of humour.  But that’s not always enough to get through the day without feeling like you’d rather be invisible.  There was so much I loved about this book.  I loved the authentic characters – his classmates and family, who were flawed, but went through a change.  I love the changes that Auggie went through too.  I love how the author told the story through the perspective of several characters.  I loved his English teacher who gave the class a precept for each month of the year.  I love the main precept which was “choose to be kinder than necessary”. 

 I read most of this novel on the Polar Bear Express train on my way to Moosonee.   Luckily (and I’m not exaggerating) everyone on that train was sleeping.  I say lucky, because I cried through most of the second half of this novel.  There were so many lines that I wanted to write down as I was reading this. “Wonder” is my favourite novel so far, for 2012.  Buy this one. You won’t be disappointed.  I will be re-reading this one for sure!

Reviewed by Maria Martella.

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