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Here in the Real World
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Here in the Real World
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From the author of the highly acclaimed, New York Times bestselling novel Pax comes a gorgeous and moving middle grade novel that is an ode to introverts, dreamers, and misfits everywhere. Ware can't...
From the author of the highly acclaimed, New York Times bestselling novel Pax comes a gorgeous and moving middle grade novel that is an ode to introverts, dreamers, and misfits everywhere. Ware can't...
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Description-

  • From the author of the highly acclaimed, New York Times bestselling novel Pax comes a gorgeous and moving middle grade novel that is an ode to introverts, dreamers, and misfits everywhere.

    Ware can't wait to spend summer "off in his own world"—dreaming of knights in the Middle Ages and generally being left alone. But then his parents sign him up for dreaded Rec camp, where he must endure Meaningful Social Interaction and whatever activities so-called "normal" kids do.

    On his first day Ware meets Jolene, a tough, secretive girl planting a garden in the rubble of an abandoned church next to the camp. Soon he starts skipping Rec, creating a castle-like space of his own in the church lot.

    Jolene scoffs, calling him a dreamer—he doesn't live in the "real world" like she does. As different as Ware and Jolene are, though, they have one thing in common: for them, the lot is a refuge.

    But when their sanctuary is threatened, Ware looks to the knights' Code of Chivalry: Thou shalt do battle against unfairness wherever faced with it. Thou shalt be always the champion of the Right and Good—and vows to save the lot.

    But what does a hero look like in real life? And what can two misfit kids do?

About the Author-

  • Sara Pennypacker is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pax; the award-winning Clementine series and its spinoff series, Waylon; and the acclaimed novels Summer of the Gypsy Moths and Here in the Real World. She divides her time between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Florida. You can visit her online at www.sarapennypacker.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 25, 2019
    When Ware’s grandmother falls and breaks her hip, the idle summer that the relentlessly scheduled 11-and-a-half-year-old was looking forward to is canceled. His parents make last-minute arrangements for him to attend a community center camp, instead, a prospect that prompts “the familiar contracting retreat of the thing that lived deep in his chest, which must be his soul.” Impulsively, Ware escapes to the rubbled remains of a nearby church—the perfect place for the Middle Ages–obsessed boy to build his own medieval refuge while pretending to attend camp. The space is already occupied, however: prickly Jolene has claimed it as a garden to grow papayas that she’ll sell to make up for her aunt “drinking the rent.” The two establish an uneasy truce, agreeing to share the space at a distance, until they must join forces to prevent the intrusion of the real world by way of a looming crisis. Pennypacker’s humane tale is written with straightforward grace and populated with exquisitely layered characters; vulnerable, imaginative Ware’s journey to self-acceptance is particularly skillfully rendered. Ages 8–12. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2019
    An introverted boy fights to save an empty lot from auction. Eleven-and-a-half-year-old Ware can't wait to spend the Florida summer with his grandmother, enjoying "long hours free and alone." Other adults--including his overprotective, hyperefficient mother and sports-loving father--discourage his being "off in his own world." But when his grandmother takes a fall, he must trade privacy for "Meaningful Social Interaction" in the Summer Rec program. He finds sanctuary in nearby church ruins, where he meets cynical, secretive Jolene and bird activist Ashley. When the property is slated for auction, medieval-history buff Ware invokes the "Knights' Code"--a feminist but nonetheless romanticized version of the code of chivalry--resolving to "be always the champion of the Right and the Good" and defend their refuge. Victory, however, takes unexpected forms. Though Pennypacker's exploration of what "fairness" means is thought-provoking, one-dimensional characterization weakens such powerful themes as abuse, self-advocacy, and self-acceptance. Tough-but-wounded Jolene is little more than a foil for the nearly angelic Ware, whose acute empathy even perceives a cut plant's "cry of betrayal." (The intense pain his empathy causes him goes unexamined.) Though introverted or sensitive kids may recognize Ware's poignant struggles to connect with his parents, his heavy-handed portrayal--which his uncle folds neatly into the sensitive-artist trope--blunts some emotional impact. Most characters, including the kids, appear white; a supportive grocer is Greek. A well-meaning but belabored recognition of introverts, artists, and activists. (Fiction. 8-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2020

    Gr 4-6-Eleven-year old Ware prefers daydreaming about knights and the Middle Ages to socializing, a personality quirk that worries his overworked parents. Because he is happy to spend most days "off in his own world," his parents agree to let him spend the summer with his grandma. But when she breaks her hips in an accident at home, his promise of a peaceful summer is disrupted as his parents sign him up for the dreaded recreation camp. Overwhelming, loud, and full of the forced interactions and "funneration" that he hates, Ware avoids the camp by hiding out in the abandoned lot next door to the building. There he meets Jolene, a smart, secretive girl who spends her days planting a garden in the rubble of the church that once stood in the lot. Together, the two form a tentative connection; Jolene planting her garden, and Ware creating a castle from the ruins of the church. When their shared sanctuary is threatened by outside forces, the titular "real world," Ware and Jolene's relationship deepens into a delicate friendship as they band together to save the lot. This sweet, sensitive book shines a light on the introverts and misfits. Despite wishing he could live up to his parents' desire for a "normal" kid, Ware's unique personality is validated by a kindred spirit, his uncle, who suggests that he is an artist with his own vision of the world. Ware's quiet sensibility blends well with Jolene, who's tough exterior comes from hardship and an abusive relative. VERDICT Perfect for fans of Pennypacker's earlier novels Summer of the Gypsy Moths and Pax. Recommended for purchase in most libraries.-Kristy Pasquariello, Westwood Public Library, MA

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    December 1, 2019
    Grades 4-6 When 11-year-old introvert Ware is forced to spend his entire summer at the local rec center pursuing Meaningful Social Interaction, he skips out and finds refuge in the wreckage of the abandoned church next door, which reminds him?a Middle Ages enthusiast?of a medieval castle. There he meets Jolene, a cynical girl planting a garden, and together, day after day, they transform the space?along with themselves. Pennypacker (Pax, 2016) tells a human story of growth and transformation, favoring a more serious, emotional focus over the more comedic tone of her Clementine books. In order to make his parents proud, Ware actively tries to change himself, and while he does evolve, he ultimately builds on the traits that make him weird rather than conforming to what's normal ?a good message. Smooth prose and short chapters make for a compulsively readable tale, fit for middle-graders in the process of discovering themselves or for those interested in the more philosophical side of chivalry.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Pennypacker's humane tale is written with straightforward grace and populated with exquisitely layered characters; vulnerable, imaginative Ware's journey to self-acceptance is particularly skillfully rendered."
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review) "This story gently rejoices in two charismatic young people whose dedication and compassion illustrate what it means to be heroes in the real world."
  • School Library Journal "This sweet, sensitive book shines a light on the introverts and misfits."

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