There aren’t enough good things to say about this story, its characters, and its understated moral lessons. Palacio writes with the empathy and grace only a mother can have in such vast reserves, and the novel serves as a lighthearted but powerful reminder to simply choose kindness. It falls apart a little at the seams, however; there are too many narrative perspectives that are not distinguishable enough from one another, with a couple undoubtedly irrelevant sections (definitely Justin’s and maybe even Jack’s), although it was a joy to read from the perspective of Via and Summer and, surprisingly, especially the “after” section from Julian. The end of the story is neatly packaged and tied in a perfect bow, yet within that package not everything seems to be in order – for example, the sister who figures so heavily into the story in the first two-thirds has all but disappeared at the end. In more than a few places throughout the book, the dialogue seems a little off, but we can always count on Auggie to give us the most honest and bittersweet story. It’s a must-read for all primary education teachers, and parents or parent-hopefuls, too.

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