Part One: August, Chapters 1–10
[Ordinary / Why I Didn’t Go to School / How I Came to Life / Christopher’s House / Driving / Paging Mr. Tushman / Nice Mrs. Garcia / Jack Will, Julian, and Charlotte / The Grand Tour / The Performance Space]
August “Auggie” Pullman feels like an ordinary ten-year-old child, but his appearance is anything but. His parents think he’s extraordinary, and his older sister, Olivia, or “Via,” tries to protect him from judgmental people. Auggie has been homeschooled by his mother because of his twenty-seven surgeries. If he had one wish, it would be for a normal face. Auggie loves when his mother tells him his birth story, complete with a farting nurse and fainting doctor. Auggie was born very sick and with a “mushed-up face,” but all his mother saw were his pretty eyes.
When the Pullman family visits Christopher, Auggie’s best friend, and his parents in Connecticut, Auggie overhears his parents talking about his going to Beecher Prep for middle school. Mom wants him to go, but Auggie and Dad don’t think he’s ready. On the ride home from Connecticut, Auggie wakes up to hear Mom and Dad further discussing the matter. His parents turn the talk into a funny discussion about Mr. Tushman, Beecher Prep’s principal, and a professor they once had named Miss Butt. As they laugh together, Auggie agrees to give middle school a try.
When Auggie meets Mr. Tushman, he seems nice, as does Mrs. Garcia, his assistant. They have arranged for three students to give Auggie a tour of the school. Julian, Charlotte, and Jack show him around. Julian is confrontational and a little rude, Charlotte is talkative and kind, and Jack is open-minded and informative. Auggie seems quiet and defensive, but when Julian questions his face and his intelligence and Jack whispers that he’s got to start talking, Auggie defends himself.
Part One: August, Chapters 11–20
[The Deal / Home / First-Day Jitters / Locks / Around the Room / Lamb to the Slaughter / Choose Kind / Lunch / The Summer Table / One to Ten]
At the end of the tour, Auggie abruptly says goodbye to Mr. Tushman and gives Mom the signal that he wants to leave. At home, both sad and happy, Auggie tells Mom about Julian’s explicit question about his face, which makes Mom sad. On the first day of school, Auggie feels nervous, but his whole family walks him the several unfamiliar blocks to Beecher Prep. In homeroom, Auggie sees Charlotte and Julian, and Jack sits beside Auggie. Mrs. Petosa gives each student a schedule, lock, and locker combination. The students share two things about themselves in front of the class. Auggie shyly says that he has a sister and a dog, and Julian asks him whether his braid is an homage to Star Wars. When Auggie says yes, Julian then asks why his favorite character isn’t Darth Sidious, a character whose face has been burned.
In Mr. Browne’s English class, they learn about “precepts,” or guiding rules to help make decisions. Mr. Browne explains he will give them a new precept each month, and this month’s is about kindness. At lunch, Auggie experiences stares and whispers until a girl named Summer sits with him. Together, they make a list of all the kids with summery names who can share their table. When Mom meets Auggie after school, she asks him to rate his day from 1 to 10, and he says 5. When Summer says goodbye to him, Auggie tells his mother that he thinks they look like Beauty and the Beast together.
Part One: August, Chapters 21–31
[Padawan / Wake Me Up when September Ends / Jack Will / Mr. Browne’s October Precept / Apples / Halloween / School Pictures / The Cheese Touch / Costumes / The Bleeding Scream / Names]
Auggie cuts off his braid. Dad asks about his first day of school, and Mom reads to him some of The Hobbit. Suddenly, Auggie cries, asking, “Why am I so ugly?” and Mom soothes him. The month of September is challenging to Auggie as more kids see him for the first time and he gets used to homework and quizzes. He spends a lot of time with Jack. When an eighth grader accidently knocks Auggie down and got a look at Auggie’s face, Auggie and Jack laugh about the bigger kid’s shock. For his birthday, Auggie invites his entire homeroom plus Summer to a bowling party. Only six kids from Beecher Prep attend, but Auggie thinks the party is great.
Summer and Auggie discuss Halloween costumes. Auggie plans to be Boba Fett, and Summer confesses that she wants to be a unicorn, a costume they agree would be dorky. Auggie avoids his school photo but has to be part of the class photo. He learns that students are afraid to touch him, as if he has “cooties.” When Auggie’s hand accidentally bumps into a classmate’s hand during a science experiment, his classmate freaks out and runs to wash off.
Auggie loves Halloween because he gets to wear a mask. In a last-minute change, he wears his costume from last year, the Bleeding Scream. The other kids in his homeroom don’t know it’s him because they thought Auggie was dressing as Boba Fett. Auggie overhears the boys saying how they would kill themselves if they looked like him, and Jack tells the others that he only hangs around with Auggie because Auggie follows him around. Auggie runs to the bathroom crying and then tells the nurse he’s sick. Mom comes to get him. At home, he doesn’t want to go trick-or-treating and decides he never wants to return to school.
Part Two: Via, Chapters 32–47
[A Tour of the Galaxy / Before August / Seeing August / August Through the Peephole / High School / Major Tom / After School / The Padawan Bites the Dust / The Apparition at the Door / Breakfast / Genetics 101 / The Punnett Square / Out with the Old / October 31 / Trick or Treat / Time to Think]
Part Two is told from the point of view of Via, Auggie’s older sister. According to Via, Auggie is the Sun around whom they all orbit. She has always been independent because of Auggie’s acute needs. When he was young, people’s reactions to him made her angry until she stayed with her grandmother, Grans, for four weeks during Auggie’s jaw surgery. Those four weeks were wonderful, but when Via returned home, she saw and understood how others perceived Auggie. Grans dies suddenly. Via remembers when Grans told her that she loved Via the most and would always look out for her. Via describes Auggie’s physical appearance in detail, and wonders if Auggie knows how others perceive him. Via wishes her family could let Auggie grow up and not cater to his every whim and mood.
In Via’s elementary school, everyone knew Auggie; in middle school, fewer people knew him; and by high school, hardly anyone does. Her best friends, Ella and Miranda, change. Miranda dyes her hair pink, wears tube tops, and seems distant, and Ella joins Miranda, excluding Via. On the first day of high school, Via is supposed to ride home with Miranda, but doesn’t want to sit in a car with her. Via lies to Mom about how she got home from school, and Auggie’s sarcasm about his first day surprises her. She feels upset that Auggie cuts off his braid. In the middle of the night, Via sees Mom standing outside Auggie’s room, and Via wonders if Mom has ever stood outside her own door like that.
Dad agrees that Via should be able to take the subway to school alone, and Via explains that she would rather take the subway than ride with Miranda because Miranda has been a “jerk.” Via recounts her family’s genetic history and says that she and her parents carry the same mutant gene that makes Auggie who he is. In school, Via stops hanging out with Miranda and Ella, who have both started hanging with the popular crowd. Via becomes friends with a classmate named Eleanor who invites Via to sit with her at the “smart-kids” lunch table.
Because Grans died the night before Halloween, the holiday is always hard for Via. Via stays home from school that day to grieve with Mom. Mom gets a call from the nurse at Auggie’s school saying he’s sick, and Mom brings Auggie home. Via is disappointed that Mom is paying more attention to Auggie, but she understands something is wrong with Auggie. Later, Auggie confides in Via how hurt he is by the mean things he overheard Jack saying about him. Via encourages Auggie to “suck it up” and go back to school, and reminds him he doesn’t have to be friends with anyone if he’s still hurt. Auggie says that Miranda called him the other day to check in, and Via is pleased when Auggie says Miranda said she misses Via.
Part Three: Summer, Chapters 48–53
[Weird Kids / The Plague / The Halloween Party / November / Warning: This Kid Is Rated R / The Egyptian Tomb]
Part Three is told from Summer’s point of view. Summer admits why she is friends with Auggie: At first, she felt sorry for him, so she sat with him at lunch, but now she genuinely likes Auggie. The other kids at school talk about the Plague, a cruel game they play. If they touch Auggie or an object he’s touched, they have only seconds to wash their hands or they believe they’ll get sick. Summer thinks this game is ridiculous.
Summer attends a Halloween party at a student Savanna’s house with the popular kids. Savanna tells Summer that Julian likes her but that she should stop hanging out with Auggie, who is bringing her popularity down. Summer sneaks away to the bathroom and calls her mother to pick her up.
When Auggie finally returns to school after Halloween, he confesses to Summer that he overheard Jack say mean things about him. Auggie tells Summer she shouldn’t feel obliged to hang out with him, but Summer convinces Auggie that she hangs out with him of her own accord. They agree to work on their Egyptian Museum project together. Summer invites Auggie over to her house, where her mom is shocked to see Auggie’s face. Auggie looks at pictures of Summer’s parents and learns that she is biracial and that her father died while serving in the military. They talk about death and what happens after you die, agreeing that perhaps you get to come back with a new face, an idea that pleases Auggie. Summer asks Auggie about his face, and he admits that he is a medical wonder.
Over the course of the next month, Summer and Auggie grow closer and continue hanging out. They finish their Egyptian Museum project, and are excited to show off Summer’s sculpture of Anubis and Auggie’s step pyramid at the exhibit. Their parents come to the exhibit, where Summer and Auggie give their moms a tour of their work. When Jack finds Summer at the water fountain and asks why Auggie is mad at him, she simply replies, “Bleeding Scream.”
Part Four: Jack, Chapters 54–63
[The Call / Carvel / Why I Changed My Mind / Four Things / Ex-Friends / Snow / Fortune Favors the Bold / Private School / In Science / Partners]
Part Four is told from Jack’s point of view and starts back in August, before the school year begins. Jack’s mother takes a call from Mr. Tushman in which he asks Jack to help welcome Auggie to Beecher Prep. Jack first saw Auggie years ago at an ice cream shop, and he recalls how his babysitter scolded him and his brother, Jamie, for their shocked reactions to Auggie’s appearance. Jack agrees to meet Auggie mostly because he feels bad about how his brother reacted. If Jamie, who is usually a nice kid, could react so negatively to Auggie, Jack worries that Auggie will be completely outcast in middle school.
Once the school year is in swing and Jack gets to know Auggie better, he gets used to Auggie’s face and now considers him a cool, smart kid and a good friend who even lets him copy his homework sometimes. Jack admits that at first, he only hung out with Auggie to appease Mr. Tushman, but now he would rather hang out with Auggie than any other kid in their grade. After Halloween, Jack doesn’t understand why Auggie doesn’t want to be friends anymore, and even though he hangs out with other people now, he misses Auggie.
On a snow day, Jack finds an old wooden sled on Skeleton Hill, takes it home, fixes it up, and names it Lightning. He wishes he could tell August about sledding with Lightning, but he doesn’t. Back in school, Mr. Browne gives the class a precept and writing prompt about bravery, and Jack wants to write about becoming friends with Auggie. He chooses not to, fearing that he will have to read it aloud or publicly display it. During a talk with his friends Miles, Julian, and Henry, Miles says he left his old sled behind, and they joke that some hobo probably found it. Jack is embarrassed that he was the one who took it, and knows his family is poorer than his friends’ families.
During a science class, Jack suddenly realizes what Summer meant by her cryptic “Bleeding Scream” clue and why Auggie was ignoring him. Jack remembers someone dressed in a Bleeding Scream costume on Halloween, and while he can’t remember exactly what he said, Jack knows he said mean things about Auggie to Julian. Jack immediately regrets his error, especially because he didn’t even believe any of the things coming out of his own mouth. When Jack is assigned to partner with Auggie for a science fair project, Julian snarkily asks their teacher if they can swap partners, but Jack wants to work with Auggie. When Julian calls Auggie a freak, Jack punches him in the mouth.
Part Four: Jack, Chapters 64–73
[Detention / Season’s Greetings / Letters, Emails, Facebook, Texts / Back from Winter Break / The War / Switching Tables / Why I Didn’t Sit with August the First Day of School / Sides / August’s House / The Boyfriend]
In Mr. Tushman’s office with his mother, Jack cries but won’t reveal why he punched Julian. Mr. Tushman says that he should stay home until after winter break as punishment, but he knows Jack is a good kid. After Jack and his family receive a holiday card from Auggie’s family, Jack confides to his mother why he hit Julian. Chapter 66 contains a letter of apology from Jack to Mr. Tushman and a letter from Julian’s mother to Mr. Tushman criticizing Auggie’s inclusion at Beecher Prep. The chapter also features Facebook messages between Jack and Auggie in which Jack apologizes and the two boys agree to be friends again.
After winter break, lots of students ignore Jack, but he doesn’t know why. He skips lunch and reads in the library so he doesn’t have to eat alone. His classmate Charlotte eventually meets with Jack secretly to explain why everyone is treating him so poorly. She explains that over winter break, Julian’s family threw a huge party where Julian spread rumors about Jack and Julian’s mother told everyone that she was asking the school to reconsider Auggie’s admission to Beecher Prep. Charlotte says that Julian thinks Auggie is bringing Jack down, so Julian has decided to ignore Jack as a “wake-up call.”
Summer and Auggie ask Jack to join them at lunch after another group of boys shun Jack. When Jack talks about how weird it is to have the whole school ignore him, Auggie smiles and says he understands that feeling. Charlotte has made a “war” list outlining which students are on Julian’s side, on Jack’s side, and neutral, which Summer shares with Jack and Auggie. Summer teases Jack and says that Charlotte likes him, and they talk about dating. Auggie makes a joke about all the girls who are interested in him.
Jack goes to Auggie’s house to work on their science fair project, where he meets the Pullmans’ dog, Daisy, and admires Auggie’s Star Wars collection, room, and computer. Jack and Auggie decide to make a potato battery for the science fair. Jack meets Via, and quickly realizes from the way she looks at him that Auggie told her about Jack’s mean remarks on Halloween. Via introduces Jack and Auggie to Justin, her boyfriend from Brooklyn, who plays Creole music on his fiddle.
Part Five: Justin, Chapters 74–81
[Olivia’s Brother / Valentine’s Day / Our Town / Ladybug / The Bus Stop / Rehearsal / Bird / The Universe]
Part Five is told from the point of view of Justin, Via’s boyfriend. (He calls Via by her full name, Olivia.) When Via asks Justin if he’s freaked out by Auggie, he lies and says no, but he does feel a little unnerved. Justin has tics that worsen when he’s nervous, and he’s nervous going to a restaurant with Via to meet the rest of her family. They put him at ease, talking, listening, and laughing, and when they go back to the Pullmans’ house for ice cream, he hears the story of how they got their dog, Daisy, from a homeless man. Justin’s parents are under-protective, divorced, and distant, and he feels better being around Via’s family.
Justin gets the lead in the play Our Town, while Via only gets a small part, and Miranda lands the female lead. When Via runs lines with Justin on her porch one day, a ladybug lands on her arm, and they both make wishes. Justin has no idea what Via wished for.
When Justin leaves Via’s house, he walks Jack to the bus stop at Via’s mom’s request. Jack borrows money from Justin and goes into a store to buy gum while they wait for the bus. Julian and two other boys—Miles and Henry—harass Jack when he comes out, and as Justin and Jack talk about it, Justin realizes that the boys tease Jack because he’s friends with Auggie. After Jack leaves, Justin, playing tough, tells the boys to leave Jack alone. He pats his fiddle case as if it contains a weapon.
One day at their play rehearsal, Miranda tells Justin that she used to be close friends with Via and shows him a photo of Auggie in the space helmet she once gave him. When Justin asks Via why she never mentioned her friendship with Miranda, she gets upset, claiming that she doesn’t really know who Miranda is anymore. Via then confides that she hasn’t told her parents about the play because she doesn’t want them to bring Auggie. She shamefully admits that she feels embarrassed by her brother and says that this makes her a terrible person. Justin tries to soothe and reassure her. That night, Justin can’t sleep because he’s thinking of how cruel the universe has been to Auggie, who didn’t do anything to deserve his lot in life. Justin then realizes that the universe has also taken care of Auggie, by providing him with a loving family and a few good friends.
Part Six: August, Chapters 82–92
[North Pole / The Auggie Doll / Lobot / Hearing Brightly / Via’s Secret / My Cave / Goodbye / Daisy’s Toys / Heaven / Understudy / The Ending]
In Part Six the story is once again told from Auggie’s point of view. Auggie and Jack’s potato battery for the science fair earns an A, but Auggie dreads the fair because he hates school events that bring out parents seeing him for the first time. At the science fair, Auggie’s parents and Jack’s parents hang around their table for most of the event. Auggie notes that parents tend to be friends with the parents of their children’s friends.
By February, the “war” has intensified with Julian leaving mean notes in Auggie and Jack’s lockers and Julian, Miles, and Henry playing pranks on Jack. They feel like Jack is the easiest target because they know they’ll get in trouble for bullying Auggie. The tide turns when Julian tells people that Jack has hired a hit man to “get” him, and the rumor is so ridiculous, most of the kids at school stop supporting Julian and become neutral in the war. Auggie also realizes that other kids aren’t afraid of touching him anymore, and they even joke together sometimes. When Auggie gets hearing aids from a kind doctor who also loves Star Wars, his hearing improves dramatically, and he’s delighted that no one at school makes a big deal about it.
Mom and Via fight when Mom learns about the play, and Auggie angrily explodes when he realizes that Via doesn’t want him to attend. He hides in his room under pillows until Via bursts in to say that Daisy is dying. Mom and Dad take Daisy to the vet after the kids say goodbye. Mom and Dad return and tell them that Daisy died peacefully in Dad’s arms. Later, Auggie sees Dad cry for the first time, and then finds Mom consoling Via. Auggie puts himself to bed. In the middle of the night, Auggie crawls into bed beside Mom and asks about heaven, hoping that it is a place where faces don’t matter. Auggie attends the play with his parents and asks what an understudy does. To their surprise, Via appears as the lead, Emily, instead of Miranda, and she and Justin are so good they get a standing ovation. Backstage, Via says that Miranda got sick right before the show. In all the excitement, Auggie loses his parents for a moment and begins panicking, but then Miranda appears. Auggie gives her a big hug.
Part Seven: Miranda, Chapters 93–98
[Camp Lies / School / What I Miss Most / Extraordinary, but No One There to See / The Performance / After the Show]
Part Seven is told from Miranda’s point of view. Miranda describes her parents’ divorce, her father’s new partner, and her mother’s emotional distance, which intensified during Miranda’s time at camp in the summer before high school. At camp, Miranda lies about herself and tells others she has a deformed brother, which makes her more popular. She has known Auggie since she was six, and they share a special bond. Miranda dyes her hair pink and calls Ella at the end of the summer but not Via.
At school, Miranda feels like Via judges her new look and new friends, Miranda and Ella badmouth Via, but Miranda knows she is just annoyed that Via continues to be nothing but herself. When Miranda notices that Via signs up for theatre, she does too. When she learns that the school play is going to be The Elephant Man—a story about a man who was severely deformed—Miranda tells the director that they cannot do that because her brother has a birth defect that deformed his face, and the play would be too hurtful. The director changes the play to Our Town, and Miranda gets cast as Emily, the lead part she only auditioned for because she knew Via wanted it.
Miranda misses Via’s family. When Miranda calls to say hi to Auggie, he tells her about school, and they both say, “I love you.” Miranda loves the Pullmans more than her own family. On the opening night of the play, Miranda spots Auggie in the audience and realizes that none of her family or friends are there, so Miranda tells the director that she’s sick. She gives Via her costume so Via can take the lead role. After the play, Miranda feels bittersweet seeing the standing ovation for Justin and Via, but then she sees Auggie backstage, and they share a long hug. The Pullmans invite her to join them for dinner, and Miranda feels happier than she has in a long time.
Part Eight: August, Chapters 99–112
[The Fifth-Grade Nature Retreat / Known For / Packing / Daybreak / Day One / The Fairgrounds / Be Kind to Nature / The Woods Are Alive / Alien / Voices in the Dark / The Emperor’s Guard / Sleep / Aftermath / Home]
Part Eight is told from Auggie’s point of view. His fifth-grade class is preparing to go to the Broarwood Nature Retreat for three days. Auggie has never slept away from home, so he feels both scared and excited. He packs Baboo, a stuffed bear, in case he needs comfort but then leaves Baboo behind at home for Mom with a note. Mom reminds him about bug spray, sunscreen, and keeping his hearing aids dry and safe. Auggie wakes at daybreak and sees a vision of Daisy, and feels that Daisy is watching over him.
At the camp, Auggie enjoys the nature walk, the campfire with s’mores and hot dogs, and seeing so many stars. The next day, the campers go horseback riding and rappelling up trees and then to the fairgrounds for movie night, where they watch The Sound of Music. When Jack needs to use the bathroom, he and Auggie go to the woods and run into a group of seventh graders from another school. When the older kids see Auggie, they scream and say horrible things about his appearance, but Jack and three other boys—Miles, Amos, and Henry—take them on and protect Auggie. A fight ensues, and Auggie gets hurt and loses his hearing aids. Mr. Tushman reports the incident, and calls Auggie’s parents to let them know about the fight.
The next day, Mom meets Auggie at the bus, and gives him a big hug. News about the fight spread fast, and a lot of kids acknowledge Auggie for the first time, nodding at him and patting him on the back. Back home, Auggie reassures Mom that he had an awesome time at camp, despite what happened the night before. She makes him a grilled cheese sandwich and chocolate milk and they talk about how there are more good people in the world than bad people. Dad and Via show up with a new puppy, much to Auggie’s delight.
Part Eight: August, Chapters 113–Appendix
[Bear / The Shift / Ducks / The Last Precept / The Drop-Off / Take Your Seats, Everyone / A Simple Thing / Awards / Floating / Pictures / The Walk Home / Appendix]
The family names the puppy Bear, and Auggie and Via stay home from school for a day to play with it. When Auggie returns to Beecher Prep, the story around school is that Jack defended Auggie and Amos, Henry, and Miles protected him from the older kids at camp. Attitudes toward Auggie have favorably shifted, and Julian is now discounted and out of the loop. Amos unseats Julian as the most popular kid in their grade.
Mr. Tushman calls Auggie to the office to show him his mangled hearing aids found in a seventh grader’s locker, and asks if Auggie wants to press charges against the kid who hurt him. Auggie doesn’t think he wants to do that. Mr. Tushman knows about the mean notes Julian left in Auggie and Jack’s lockers and reveals that Julian will not be returning to Beecher Prep. Auggie realizes that his self-portrait as a duck hangs in Mr. Tushman’s office. Mr. Tushman tells Auggie what a pleasure it has been having him at Beecher Prep.
The next day, Dad drives Auggie to graduation. On the way, he admires Auggie’s haircut and expresses the pride he feels for Auggie. When Dad admits that he threw away Auggie’s beloved space helmet years before, Auggie becomes furious, but as Dad explains that he missed seeing Auggie’s face, Auggie forgives him. In the car, they sing their favorite song, and Auggie asks Dad not to kiss him so much at graduation.
Auggie finds Jack and Summer and they anticipate the long speeches to come in the ceremony. Mr. Tushman gives his “middle school address” that focuses on kindness. Students receive academic awards, and the final Henry Ward Beecher Award goes to Auggie for the way his quiet strength lifts everyone’s hearts. The huge crowd gives Auggie a standing ovation as Mr. Tushman puts a medal around his neck. As the Pullmans walk home for ice cream and cake, Auggie thanks Mom for sending him to school. She thanks him for being such a wonder. The Appendix contains a list of all of Mr. Browne’s precepts and the postcard precepts students mail him, ending with Auggie’s: “Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life because we all overcometh the world.”