August and Via sum Julian up pretty neatly in the following brief exchange:
"Okay, so is he the kind of kid who's one way in front of grown-ups and another way in front of kids?"
"Yeah, I guess."
"Ah, hate those," she answered, nodding. (1.Home.16-18)
The long and the short of this kid is that he's a creep. And whereas Miranda's rejection of Via is eventually explained in a way that makes us really feel for her (check out her write-up elsewhere in this section for more on that), Julian's mean-spiritedness is left to stand on its own. He's a pretty one-dimensional character.
That said, there's not a whole lot of deep analysis to do with this kid. But it might be fun to do a quick rundown of some of the mean things he says and does:
- He asks Auggie if he was in a fire.
- He asks Auggie if he especially likes Darth Sidious, obliquely yet snidely referring to that character's hideously burned face.
- He wears a Darth Sidious mask on Halloween, and starts a small impromptu discussion group about how it looks exactly like Auggie.
- He asks Jack why he hangs around with August, and suggests that he ditch him.
- As Jack says, he's "the biggest phony there is. And he's trying so hard to be popular all the time" (4. Why I Changed My Mind.5).
- He tells Jack "You don't have to be friends with that freak if you don't want to be, you know" (4.Partners.21).
- He tells everyone from school that Jack punched him because he has emotional problems, and that his parents begged the school not to expel him. Upshot: he lies.
- He convinces all the boys in the fifth grade to stop talking to Jack as long as he continues to be friends with August.
- He and Miles and Henry follow Jack around making barfing noises.
- He leaves horrible notes in Jack and Auggie's lockers.
- He gives Auggie dirty looks whenever possible.
And that's just some of the nastiness Julian serves up in this book. And guess what? His mom's nasty too. Guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree…