There are two important things regarding my reading of August y yo; first, I haven´t read any books about August before, although I am well aware of Wonder´s success, and second; it´s my first book in Spanish I´ve ever read, so let´s say some YAY for me!
For those who are not familiar with August Pullman, here is a short summary of what is going on with this boy: August is a sixth grader, attending Beecher Prep and the thing which distinguishes him from the rest of the students is the most visible one: August has a rare craniofacial deformity, commonly known as Treacher Collins syndrome. This fact causes a lot of fuzz around school: from teachers being afraid of August´s position among other students, concerned parents of attending students, same as students themselves; some being friendly, some curious, some scared and some, well, mean. Schools are usually not known as pleasant places for everyone, and the more one stands out, the worse his social position can be. And Beecher Prep being a regular school, August has to not only get used to the first real school attendance, but also fight for his status, while successfully (and unconsciously) changing lives and perspectives of everyone around him.
August y yo is a follow up on Wonder, and consists of three stories of Julian, Christopher and Charlotte, showing their perspective on the first year of Auggie Pullman in the school. All readers of Wonder know very well all of them, yet for me they were strangers I had to learn about. Julian is Auggie´s bully, leader of war of boys, who is forced to change his opinions and attitudes based on the story of his own family. Christopher is an old friend of August, and his story shows rather average doubts and fights with self-consciousness about what feels right and what really is the right thing to do. It also shows the troubles that every friendship has to overcome. Finally, Charlotte´s point of view was, for me, little bit out of place in relation to August himself, but on the other hand provided without doubt very important testimony about how hard is it in the world of growing up girls; seeing other girlfriends as both the most important people, but also the main enemies. I liked to read all of the stories, however the one which touched me the most was probably Christian´s – full of self-doubt, accusations and realization of own responsibility in this world.
While many would think that reading August y yo without having previous knowledge of August and his story must be pointless, I can´t agree. For me, personally, all experiences his schoolmates were going through were even more interesting, giving the overall impression of children´s situations, and how those shaped their further behavior. As always, I liked to see that nothing is just black and white, and even though there certainly are many mean kids out there, still a lot of them just have on their shoulders more than they can handle by that time. And ultimately, I decided I may really read original Wonder one day – now, when I know all background to it, I believe I could enjoy it at least as much as I did August y yo.
PS: As mentioned, August y yo was the first book I stuck with in Spanish. As a beginner, for sure do I need help of a dictionary. My favorite one is Spanish Dict, both online and on my phone. I find it very practical due to its structure: every word has own audio pronunciation, verbs have all conjugations included, nouns have mentioned various meanings and also examples of usage. Unfortunately, the mobile app has its bugs, however can be used both online and offline, which makes it a great pro for someone reading while commuting to school, work, etc.