R. J. Palacio

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Lunch is a struggle for August, though he thinks he should've known better since Via warned him. Some kids tell August he can't sit with them, so he chooses an empty table and sits by himself. He can't find Jack anywhere and can sense that people are staring at him. He's especially cognizant of a group of girls watching and whispering. August explains that he hates the way he eats. Though he had surgery to correct his cleft palate and another to align his jaw, he still has a hole in the roof of his mouth and can only chew in the front of his mouth. One night, he watched himself eat in a mirror and realized that he eats like a tortoise.
It's important to keep in mind that at lunch, the student to teacher ratio is much higher—there are likely only a couple teachers supervising what appears to be the entire fifth-grade class, and possibly more grades. This means that it'll be easier for others to bully August or simply ignore him, given that their supervisors are spread very thin.
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