Wonder Summary and Analysis of Part III: Summer


The novel's perspective switches to Summer, the girl who sits with Auggie at lunch every single day. She recalls the other kids asking why she hangs out with "the freak" so often. While Summer remembers that she sat with Auggie on the first day because she felt sorry for him, she does not feel sorry for him any longer and continues to sit with him because he is fun.

Summer gets invited to a Halloween party hosted by a popular girl named Savanna. Everyone in Summer's grade has begun to couple off; Savanna is dating Henry, Ximena is dating Miles, and Ellie is dating Amos. Summer finds this strange. Savanna tells Summer that Julian likes her, and might ask her out if she were to stop spending so much time with Auggie. This statement bothers Summer, who calls her mother and leaves the party.

Later, Summer tells Savanna that she has a crush on someone other than Julian to get Savanna to leave her alone. Auggie finally comes back after being absent; Summer knows that something is wrong. She tries to get him to talk about the Egyptian Museum project that has been assigned to the fifth grade, but Auggie does not get excited. Instead, he tells Summer that she does not have to pretend to be friends with him. Summer insists that she is not pretending, and is upset that Auggie would make this assumption. Auggie finally tells her what happened with Jack on Halloween. Summer promises that she will not tell anyone, and Auggie promises that he will not accuse Summer again.

Summer invites Auggie over to her house; she warns her mother in advance about Auggie's face. After Auggie arrives, Summer talks to him about her family: she is biracial, and her father died in the military a few years before. The two friends then talk about where people go when they die. Summer says that she thinks that souls go to heaven for a little while, but then get reborn on earth for a do-over. Auggie likes this idea, because he supposes that in his next life he will not come back with the same face. Summer at last asks him what exactly is wrong with his face; he says that his appearance was caused mostly by a condition called mandibulofacial dysostosis, though a lot of other factors caused him to be a "medical wonder."

Auggie and Summer hang out a lot over the next month, often frequenting each other's houses, and Auggie's parents become friendly with Summer's mother as well. The Egyptian Museum exhibit day comes, and Summer enthusiastically describes the artifacts her class has created. The fifth graders all dress in Egyptian-themed costumes. At the exhibit, Summer runs into Jack, who asks her why Auggie is mad at him. She swore to Auggie not to tell, but she whispers a clue in Jack's ear: "Bleeding Scream."


Accessing Summer's perspective at this point in the novel is important; she is the one kid at school who has truly been Auggie's friend from the beginning. While the some of the other kids are presented as judgmental, rude, and downright cruel, Summer is a shining example of kindness.

Palacio uses Summer to indicate the proper way to treat someone who might be different. Summer does not shy away from Auggie's face because it is unusual, nor does she stay away from him because everyone else does. Going along with the crowd is much less of a consideration for her than it is for her classmates. Summer makes her own decision to be a friend to Auggie, playing a central role in supporting him after the incident with Jack Will. Should readers find themselves confronted with someone who looks different or is facing some exceptional challenges, they should show compassion just as Summer has.

But Summer is facing problems of her own, too. This is middle school, and in middle school, fitting in and being popular often seem to be the most important goals. By spending so much time with Auggie, Summer is compromising her chance to fit in with the rest of her classmates, as becomes clear when Summer attends Savanna's Halloween Party. Summer is certainly doing the right thing in standing by Auggie, and she knows it, even though the choice between doing what is right and doing what is easy is a difficult one for a middle schooler to make. Luckily, Summer is wise beyond her years.

The discussion that Summer and Auggie have about death is extremely important. Auggie feels that he is so much more than his ugly face. The idea that he could somehow escape the confines of his body and be reborn as someone who looks different is tantalizing. This idea gives Auggie a measure of hope and assuages his fear that he will always be known for the way he looks. Thus, in this mature consideration of the relationship between the body and the soul, Wonder explores the complicated theme of the difference between the way someone looks on the outside and the way the same person is on the inside.

The end of this section anticipates Jack's own perspective, which immediately follows. Despite the cruel things that Jack said about Auggie, Summer is such a wise, compassionate girl that she feels bad for Jack and wants to give him the opportunity to make things right. Jack himself seems remorseful that Auggie is mad at him, indicating that perhaps he does want to be Auggie's friend. After Summer gives Jack the clue, we can expect to see him work through Summer's hint to figure out what went wrong, and must then wait to see whether he attempts to fix things between himself and Auggie.