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Here in the Real World



by
Sara Pennypacker

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
Balzer + Bray
ISBN
9780062698957
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Infrequent Use, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Alcohol Abuse
$12.90   $10.75
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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?

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Infrequent Use, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Alcohol Abuse

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

320

Trim Size

7 2/3" x 5 1/2"

AR

4.5: points 7

Lexile

630L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Apr 2020

Book Genres

Realistic Fiction

Topics

Family life. Friendship. Imagination. Introverts. Gardening. Environmental conservation. Endangered species. Filmmaking. Summer vacation. Self-esteem. Grandmothers and grandsons.

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Publishers Weekly*, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*

School Library Journal

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. Perfect for fans of Pennypacker’s earlier novels Summer of the Gypsy Moths and Pax. Recommended for purchase in most libraries.

Horn Book

After his grandmother’s fall derails the family’s summer plans, eleven-year-old Ware’s parents sign him up for the town’s summer rec program. Ware, who loves medieval history and knights and chivalry, would just as soon spend his days alone; but then he meets a girl named Jolene outside the half-demolished church by the community center. Although she’s prickly and independent (and way tougher than he is), Ware realizes that she could use a friend. As her backstory slowly reveals, Jolene has lived with her abusive, alcoholic aunt since her mother abandoned her as a toddler. Now, with the church land on which Jolene’s income-producing garden sits about to be sold to developers, Ware comes up with an offbeat plan. With Jolene’s help, and the promise of assistance from a city counselor’s daughter (herself concerned with the proposed development’s detrimental effect on bird migration), he begins to dig a moat around what’s left of the church. Along the way, he confronts his parents about secrets they’ve kept and an overheard comment (“Why can’t we have a normal kid?”) while blossoming into his identity as an artist. The occasional disbelief-suspension required by Pennypacker’s story line is grounded by her characters’ multidimensionality and by Jolene’s wry outlook—“I keep forgetting! We’re in Magic Fairness Land!…Oh, no, darn. Still here in the real world.”

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

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. Perfect for fans of Pennypacker’s earlier novels Summer of the Gypsy Moths and Pax. Recommended for purchase in most libraries.

Horn Book

After his grandmother’s fall derails the family’s summer plans, eleven-year-old Ware’s parents sign him up for the town’s summer rec program. Ware, who loves medieval history and knights and chivalry, would just as soon spend his days alone; but then he meets a girl named Jolene outside the half-demolished church by the community center. Although she’s prickly and independent (and way tougher than he is), Ware realizes that she could use a friend. As her backstory slowly reveals, Jolene has lived with her abusive, alcoholic aunt since her mother abandoned her as a toddler. Now, with the church land on which Jolene’s income-producing garden sits about to be sold to developers, Ware comes up with an offbeat plan. With Jolene’s help, and the promise of assistance from a city counselor’s daughter (herself concerned with the proposed development’s detrimental effect on bird migration), he begins to dig a moat around what’s left of the church. Along the way, he confronts his parents about secrets they’ve kept and an overheard comment (“Why can’t we have a normal kid?”) while blossoming into his identity as an artist. The occasional disbelief-suspension required by Pennypacker’s story line is grounded by her characters’ multidimensionality and by Jolene’s wry outlook—“I keep forgetting! We’re in Magic Fairness Land!…Oh, no, darn. Still here in the real world.”

Grades 3-5
Intermediate Readers
For Grades 3-5

A wide variety of novels and accessible nonfiction for younger elementary readers who love a good story comprise this category of 12 books per year. The focus in these titles is primarily on the text, though some novels may feature illustration.

12 books per Year
$195.60 per Year
Interests
Chapter Books,Fiction,Transitional Readers
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Grades 3-5
Intermediate Readers
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