Study Guide

Miranda in Wonder

By R.J. Palacio


Miranda is a tricky character. Via's former BFF, she's suddenly changed a lot (hey there, hot pink hair) and isn't paying much attention to Via anymore. Since Via is so great, this makes Miranda pretty hard to like for most of the book—after all, she ditched Auggie's super awesome big sis without explanation—but when we learn about how much Miranda's hurting and how badly she misses the Pullmans, it all starts to make a bit more sense. Miranda's just a teen trying to figure out who she is, which is always a messy process.

But you don't have to take our word for it. Check out what R.J. Palacio has to say about this frenemy:

I hope no one goes hating on Miranda because I love her. She's so complicated. She can be a mean girl, but deep down inside she has this incredible love for Auggie that has given her a depth she might not have had without knowing him. Knowing Auggie has made her a better person, and being around the Pullman family. I get the idea that years later, when she's an adult, she'll look back on her childhood and some of her fondest memories will have been of times she spent in the Pullman house.

In other words, though it might feel uncomfortable when you first catch yourself rooting for Miranda, don't worry—that's exactly what Palacio intended for readers to do.

And the thing is that Miranda really deserves our sympathy—the poor girl is so alone and so abandoned. In the wake of her parents' divorce, her mom banishes her to a summer camp where she knows no one, even though she doesn't want to go. But rather than wallow in misery (or donuts—Shmoop really likes to wallow in donuts), Miranda sees an opportunity to build a new life for herself.

And as she does, the impact the Pullman family has had on her—and the love she feels for them—becomes undeniable. A good deal of the life she invents at summer camp includes elements lifted from happy memories she has from all the time she spent with the Pullmans. In other words, the family she identifies with is the Pullmans. So we can't help but feel really happy for Miranda when she's reunited with them at last at the very end—and unlike the life she tells kids at camp about, this reunion is the real deal.