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Here in the Real World Hardcover – February 4, 2020
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“This story gently rejoices in two charismatic young people whose dedication and compassion illustrate what it means to be heroes in the real world.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))
"Pennypacker tells a human story of growth and transformation. Smooth prose and short chapters make for a compulsively readable tale, fit for middle-graders in the process of discovering themselves." (Booklist)
“This sweet, sensitive book shines a light on the introverts and misfits.” (School Library Journal)
About the Author
Sara Pennypacker is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pax; the award-winning Clementine books and its spinoff series, Waylon!; and the acclaimed novel Summer of the Gypsy Moths. She divides her time between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Florida. You can visit her online at www.sarapennypacker.com.
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Ware’s parents had a goal for the summer and they immediately found an alternative plan for Ware when his grandmother could no longer care for him over the summer. Ware didn’t want his parent’s alternative plan, and he was now, begging and bribing his parents to change their minds. In the end, nothing worked.
Plan B. Most everything looked the same as it did years ago, as the building appeared before him. Ware knew he couldn’t live out the rest of this summer at the Rec. This was daycare and he was now 11 ½, this place is not for him. I loved Ware’s attitude; at times, he acted older than he was yet there’s still that child within him. Ware finds his escape during exercise class, when he spots a huge tree in the lot next door. Believing that the tree would provide the perfect cover, he scales it. How long can Ware hide up in the tree?
Ware had studied medieval times at school and he was becoming obsessed with castles, knights and various items from that era. His plans at his grandmothers to build a replica were now cancelled but now sitting in this tree, Ware remembered the church that was on this lot. Shock came over him, as he noticed that the church had been destroyed and was now lying in pieces. Ware notices a girl digging in the dirt, behind the church. Trying to remain undetected, Ware creeps closer yet the girls spots him immediately.
Instantly, Jolene take control of the situation. She announces that this area is hers and that Ware needs to leave immediately! I thought this was funny when I first read it. It totally took Ware off-guard. I wasn’t expecting Ware to fight back but he did. He also took control. He told Jolene that the church was his and her response…..well, she would just have to see about that.
I liked how the two of them fit together. Ware needed a space and the damaged church provided that for him. Actually, it provided more than just a space for him to hang out but I’m not going to spoil the book for you. Jolene needed the space behind the damaged church. You might be thinking, what is Jolene doing? Well, Jolene is having some issues at home so she needs this space behind the church. They also needed each other, sometimes more than the physical space. There are also problems because the lot has a sign on it and the sign means problems for more than just these two.
Jolene and Ware worked hard and tried to transform the area that they were now trying to claim as their own. I enjoyed reading about this and how they got along. The references to the baptistry, the “do-over tub, the “sinner” tub, and the moat made this a fun book to read.
I loved how Ware alluded his mother each day when she dropped him off at the Rec. Ware wanted to tell his mother what he was doing but he overheard her talking one day and he now knows, that he can’t. He then tries hard to be a knight and abide by the Knight’s Code that he has memorized. I really enjoyed it when Uncle Cy and Ashley were added to the story, they were wonderful characters and I feel that they added a great deal to the story.
What an excellent story, I really enjoyed it. It was crazy good! The ending gave me goosebumps as I was shedding happy tears.
“don’t ask to be normal- you’re better than that.”