Audiobook Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

After reading/listening to The Dead Fathers Club, which ruined all audiobooks for me, Wonder was the second one I could get through. It was a rough start, but I ended up really enjoying it.

Wonder

Title: Wonder

Author: R.J. Palacio

Reader: Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, and Diana Steele

The Wonder audiobook is narrated by three different people. The person who narrated the main character, Auggie Pullman, is a woman, and it is pretty obvious that she is not a young boy but rather a woman attempting to sound like a young boy. At first, I found it really difficult to get used to her voice because she purposely has a slight lisp and a scratchy voice. Honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to force myself to listen to the entire thing for eight hours, but I was drawn in by the story and I couldn’t stop listening. Eventually, I got used to her voice – I think it probably helped that it changed between the narrators and points of view about every disc and a half so I didn’t get too irritated. By the end of the audiobook, however, I found myself actually enjoying her voice; not sure how that happened.

While there are only three narrators, we get a total of six different perspectives throughout the book, and each of their voices was unique to me. Occasionally you could tell that it was the same narrator, but for the most part, their voices were different but not in such a way that it was weird. In between The Dead Fathers Club and Wonder, I tried several different audiobooks but couldn’t get more than one drive to work through them. Several of them had readers that tried too hard to make the voices distinct – a super rough, scratchy voice for an old man, etc.

As for the book, I liked the story a lot. You might have seen my Quote Quoted post where I talked about one of the parts that really hit home for me. I could relate to a lot of this book, and I think the lesson being taught in the book is something that everyone should read. My only issue with this book was the ending. To me, the ending of this book was too perfect. For a novel about a young boy’s struggles with bullying that felt authentic and real, the ending felt wrong. Real life isn’t like that. It isn’t tied up with a cute little bow. Everyone doesn’t just suddenly realize that just because you look different on the outside, you’re super cool and interesting on the inside. It’d be nice if that happened, but it doesn’t. I really loved how Palacio handled everything in the book when it came to how mean people can be, the horrible things they’ll do or say, and how it feels to be the one on the receiving end of all of this crap, but the end disappointed me. Other than that, great book and great audiobook. Definitely recommended.

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Book Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Title: The Truth about Alice

The Truth about AliceAuthor: Jennifer Mathieu

Genre: YA

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Publication Date: June 3, 2014

Hardback: 199 pages

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Bought

Check out the summary on Goodreads

What I thought:

I didn’t like this book as much as I’d hoped to, which isn’t to say that I didn’t like it.

The Truth about Alice is set from four different POVs (well, five, but Alice only gets one chapter at the end). I liked how we read about the rumors surrounding Alice from these other people’s POVs first. This was really different from anything I’d ever read. I think some of the POVs were really distinctive, like Kurt’s (the boy-genius who’s had a crush on Alice for a long time), but others were sometimes a little hard to distinguish (Elaine and Kelsie). I could tell who was who by what they were talking about, obviously, but sometimes they both sounded like the popular girly-girl (“like, totally”). POSSIBLE SPOILER: I wish Alice’s had been written with a little more of a reaction to the rumors. I could barely empathize because she didn’t really feel affected or delve into her feelings about the rumors.

The characters were pretty well-developed though. Even if it was sometimes hard to distinguish between a couple of them, we do get to know them really well. We got to understand each one of them and begin to see the motives behind their actions towards Alice. The book was also rather well-written, especially for a debut novel. I thought the idea behind the novel was really interesting, as was the execution (differing POVs, all of which weren’t the actual person they were talking about).

On the other hand, I wish there had been something MORE. It just wasn’t enough for me. There didn’t seem to be any resolution. I felt somewhat distanced from what was going on. I mean, I’m definitely not unfamiliar with bullying (*cough*I have no hair*cough*) but I couldn’t connect with what happened. The book kind of just went in a straight line, if that makes sense. I felt the same way throughout the whole book; there wasn’t a point where I was more excited or animated. I also thought the end kind of fell flat.

The bottom line: Good book, well-developed characters, but not enough story for me. I can definitely see why some readers would absolutely love it. I liked it, but I just didn’t connect enough. I needed more. I will say that I do want to see more from this author.

Rating: 6 – good, but not great

Reading next: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout