Oh my goodness, I stayed up WAY too late last night because I couldn't stop reading just one more chapter. This book has Newbery written all over it; it's that good. (And definitely the Schneider, too.) Like LindaB, I didn't want to leave Auggie's POV, but was very happy to be in other kids' heads once I got over my initial resistance. For the last third of the book, I was a sobbing mess, but there was an interesting (and very positive) review in the NYTimes Book Review in which the reviewer said that although the book made her sob, her 9 year old daughter, who loved it and keeps pushing it on all her friends, did not cry. The reviewer (Maria Russo) writes, "I realized that what makes her cry are stories in which children suffer because they have missing or neglectful parents and no one to take care of them."
The book did not grab me from the very beginning, however, and given discussions we've had elsewhere on the boards about how fast-paced books have to be to succeed these days, WONDER seems like a good antidote to that. Although a lot happens, this is a thoughtful book that allows characters to reveal themselves slowly. It's also jam-packed full of moral messages, but it doesn't feel preachy in the least. (Except maybe for that appended list of precepts.)