Auggie & Me is the much anticipated follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Wonder by R J Palacio. She points out that crucially, this is not a sequel but rather an extension to the world built in the her first novel. Auggie inspires the Julian, Chris, and Charlotte chapter, but he is only an afterthought, only briefly mentioned here and there. Palacio succeeds, again, in showcasing her uncanny ability to paint characters as multi-dimensional; as a reader, you can’t help but succumb to Julian’s, Charlotte’s, and Chris’s perspectives.
Julian ended Wonder as the villain, Palacio manages to resolve that storyline beautifully in Auggie & Me. This was the chapter I, along with probably every other reader, was looking forward to the most and it did not disappoint. It gave more gravitas to the idea that a villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told. Not only did my impression of Julian turn, but more surprisingly so did that of his mother. It was a fitting resolution for not only Julian, but the Albans.
The Chris chapter, by comparison, was rather pedestrian. Not to say it was bad, I just wasn’t as invested in the story given how briefly he was mentioned in Wonder. Charlotte always appeared a nice but enigmatic character in Wonder. Her chapter illuminates why that was. The storylines with Ximena, Savanna, Summer, and Maya contrasted with Julian, Amos, Miles, Henry, Jack, and Auggie’s. Palacio manages to add this complexity and nuance to the world at Beecher Prep and its characters without it ever being overwhelming or contradicting.
Now I don’t know whom the intended audience for this book is, but I know it is not me. I was heartened to read other reviews on goodreads and see that others in my demographic enjoyed it as much as I did. Overall, I rate the Julian and Charlotte chapter, but the Chris one felt a little stale.
Recommended. There’s not much to say other than it’s a charming extension of the world of Wonder. Not the one I was expecting, but one I am glad I spent the time getting immersed in.