This extraordinary book will make you see the world differently.

R.J. Palacio's debut novel, told through six different first-person narratives, forms a composite of what life is like for and because of 10-year-old August Pullman. When he was a baby, the doctors didn't think August would live. A rare genetic perfect storm "made war on his face," as August's sister, Via, puts it. Via loves her brother, but she's also a realist. So is August, as he makes plain on the first page: "I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse." Their bond forms the foundation of this inspiring story.

The book follows the academic year: August begins school for the first time as a fifth grader at Beecher Prep, while Via starts at the prestigious Faulkner High School. In addition to August and Via, we hear from two peers of each of the siblings. We watch the changing dynamics as August leaves the protection of home, as Via sees an opportunity to shed her identity as August's sister, and as both of them experience friends who betray them, and win perceived enemies to their side.

Things are not always as they appear, as August will be the first to tell you. His presence in people's lives acts as a catalyst to bring them face to face with themselves. And if they look deep enough, they find humor, courage and friendship. May this be the first of many books to come from R.J. Palacio. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

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