Book Reviews


‘You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out’

R.J. Palacio

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This was recommended to me as part of my PGCE pre-reading, as it is quite often taught in schools to KS3. In all honesty, I was excited to read it has I had heard great reviews, but I was more excited from an English teacher’s perspective than as a reader. It isn’t the type of book I would have picked up had I not being doing my PGCE.

That being said, I read this book in three days. It honestly would have been one day if I had the time.

Do not think that just because this book is targeted as teenage fiction that you won’t enjoy it. Trust me, I could not have been more wrong.

The book is structured with each chapter being written from a different character’s perspective. There are slight repetitions in this, such as the protagonist August leads a few chapters, but the choice in story teller is impeccable and moves the narrative along seamlessly.

The plot follows August, a severely deformed young boy, as he starts middle school and faces the numerous challenges that await him. The story is heartbreakingly honest and shows the trials and tribulations August faces due to the way he looks. It also perfectly shows the way other people feel about him and how one should never, ever judge a book by its cover.

The story is filled with incredible life lessons and makes you as a reader question how you would behave in a number of situations. The choice of telling the story from a range of characters perspectives makes you learn a lot about forgiveness and understand that you never can know the whole story.

This book, which is technically aimed at teens, taught me, a 23 year an awful lot about life. I am not ashamed to admit it had my crying my eyes out in parts, laughing at others and becoming thoroughly drawn into the characters’ lives and development throughout.

Palacio is an outstanding author, her writing style is easy to read yet still challenging, she makes the story easy to follow yet it forces you to think hard about what you’re reading. It truly is a novel of immense power.

This is by far one of my favourites, if not my favourite fiction book I have read in a long time.

I fully recommend you get your hands on a copy asap, be this if you have a younger relative whose studying this at school, or through ordering your own copy. It really is the type of novel that will shape many minds for a long, long period of time.
Amy Wilcock
CEO & Founder - CLMB

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