Here in the Real World
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?

Here in the Real World Details

TitleHere in the Real World
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2020
PublisherBalzer + Bray
ISBN-139780062698957
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Fiction, Young Adult

Here in the Real World Review

  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    This author also wrote the book- Pax, which is now one of our family favorites, so I looked forward to reading this new novel.Ware is a boy that tries to please his parents by agreeing to what they call "Meaningful Social Interaction" and being normal at a day camp for the Summer. It hadn't started that way, and he has looked forward to spending his Summer in his world of imagination while staying with his Grandma. When she fell/needed surgery/rehab, they went to plan B, with all those "normal" This author also wrote the book- Pax, which is now one of our family favorites, so I looked forward to reading this new novel.Ware is a boy that tries to please his parents by agreeing to what they call "Meaningful Social Interaction" and being normal at a day camp for the Summer. It hadn't started that way, and he has looked forward to spending his Summer in his world of imagination while staying with his Grandma. When she fell/needed surgery/rehab, they went to plan B, with all those "normal" activities.Luckily he ends up meeting Jolene, and he ditches the Rec program to help her with her plans of growing papayas in an empty lot. It works for both of them, and he can live out some of his Knight and Code of Chivalry fantasies. His character is just so lovely I wince every time he gets his feelings hurt. His parents are stressed for sure juggling their jobs, grandmas' care, and saving for a home. They willingly admit they don't understand him, and although he has a supportive Uncle who tries to help, there is some push and pull as Ware attempts to be himself and please his parents.I'd go up to 8th grade with this story for the right kind of reader. There is a lot to think about/discuss with each character's motivations.
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  • Bonnie Grover
    January 1, 1970
    “Thou shalt be always the champion of the Right and the Good, against Injustice.” But what if in the real world, bad things happen? Ware is a misfit introvert who enjoys being alone. But when his parents sign him up for summer rec and try to normalize him, he meets Joleen. Together they begin transforming an abandoned church and lot into a magical medieval world. Somehow this refuge will become the center of their rebirth. What a great summer adventure! I would have loved to have lived out this “Thou shalt be always the champion of the Right and the Good, against Injustice.” But what if in the real world, bad things happen? Ware is a misfit introvert who enjoys being alone. But when his parents sign him up for summer rec and try to normalize him, he meets Joleen. Together they begin transforming an abandoned church and lot into a magical medieval world. Somehow this refuge will become the center of their rebirth. What a great summer adventure! I would have loved to have lived out this kind of summer.
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  • Melanie Dulaney
    January 1, 1970
    Pennypacker’s newest work is not the heart-wrenching awesome-ness of Pax, but I truly enjoyed this tale of 11 year old Wade as he tries to either become what he thinks his parents want or find a way to make them proud of what he is. Ware does not like sports, he does not seek out friends and he has no desire to hang with the popular crowd. He does like to disappear into his room or the swimming pool at his grandmother’s retirement center and he does see wrongs that need to be righted. Enter Pennypacker’s newest work is not the heart-wrenching awesome-ness of Pax, but I truly enjoyed this tale of 11 year old Wade as he tries to either become what he thinks his parents want or find a way to make them proud of what he is. Ware does not like sports, he does not seek out friends and he has no desire to hang with the popular crowd. He does like to disappear into his room or the swimming pool at his grandmother’s retirement center and he does see wrongs that need to be righted. Enter Jolene, a street smart girl who is determined to turn an abandoned lot into a money-making papaya growing industry so that she and her aunt don’t get kicked out of their apartment for not paying the rent. So Wade ditches the summer rec program that mom forced him to attend and instead, builds a moat, creates a movie, a garden, and a stained glass window, and changes more than just two lives in the process. Excellent realistic fiction for those in grades 4-6.
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  • Kimberley
    January 1, 1970
    This is such a good book. This is the kind of book you want every middle school student to read. It's a story about what it feels like to feel unaccepted for who you are and what it's like to feel lonely,...but it's also about understanding that sometimes we may find we want to be alone and what makes us happy isn't always what others may call "normal" and that's okay. It's about an unusual summer adventure and helping others and making friends in unlikely places. Let's put it this way, there's This is such a good book. This is the kind of book you want every middle school student to read. It's a story about what it feels like to feel unaccepted for who you are and what it's like to feel lonely,...but it's also about understanding that sometimes we may find we want to be alone and what makes us happy isn't always what others may call "normal" and that's okay. It's about an unusual summer adventure and helping others and making friends in unlikely places. Let's put it this way, there's more than one unlikely hero in this novel, and I love them all. And this book gives us the best kind of magic - the kind you can truly find 'here in the real world'. :)
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. While there are definitely some poignant moments throughout the story, I don't see this book having a lot of appeal for its target audience. I liked the overall theme of accepting that it's okay to not be like everyone else, but it was presented in a way that seemed to miss the mark somehow. It's a quick read, and certainly not intolerable by any means, but I did not find it overly memorable.
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  • Sandy
    January 1, 1970
    I really wasn’t sure how I felt about this book until I was a few chapters in and then, well I loved this book! Ware had just witnessed his grandmother being whisked off to the hospital and now his summer plans were ruined. He didn’t want his parent’s Plan B for his summer, that is, until he found a tree. Climbing that tree was the beginning of Ware’s own Plan B. Ware’s parents had a goal for the summer and they immediately found an alternative plan for Ware when his grandmother could no longer I really wasn’t sure how I felt about this book until I was a few chapters in and then, well I loved this book! Ware had just witnessed his grandmother being whisked off to the hospital and now his summer plans were ruined. He didn’t want his parent’s Plan B for his summer, that is, until he found a tree. Climbing that tree was the beginning of Ware’s own Plan B. 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.”
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  • Rosie
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! It’s about 11 year old Ware who feels at odds with the world around him and is desperate to find his place. He meets Jolene and later Ashley and together they create a garden and a castle in an old church. Ware is so thoughtful and awkward. The story is set in the real world but has a kind of magical innocence to it.
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  • Onceinabluemoon
    January 1, 1970
    I loved pax so gave this a go, just not for me...
  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    This was good, but had some major flaws. First, one of my favorite things about the Clementine series is how wonderful her parents are. They aren’t syrupy sweet like on a Disney Jr show. They are just two grownups who love their kids and each other and are doing the best they can. Then, there are the parents in this book. Who are awful. Horrible. I can’t believe they sprung forth from the same author who treated Clementine’s parents with such humor and sensitivity.Once I get past the parents, I This was good, but had some major flaws. First, one of my favorite things about the Clementine series is how wonderful her parents are. They aren’t syrupy sweet like on a Disney Jr show. They are just two grownups who love their kids and each other and are doing the best they can. Then, there are the parents in this book. Who are awful. Horrible. I can’t believe they sprung forth from the same author who treated Clementine’s parents with such humor and sensitivity.Once I get past the parents, I have other issues, too. Too much religious imagery for middle grade readers. And, a too few consequences for just straight up skipping rec. maybe it’s a Florida thing? But, here in New England, if an 11-year-Old isn’t showing up somewhere, someone notices and calls their parents. Otherwise, the book was fine. Just not what I expect from this author.
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  • Kw
    January 1, 1970
    There are so many nuggets of wonderfulness in this story, I can’t name them all. Trust me when I say you need to read this book!
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Perfection. Reviewed in the NYT Book review, 3/1/20 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/bo...
  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusThis reminded me too much of Vrabel's Caleb and Kit, which I loved but which has failed to circulate well. Will pass on purchasing.
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Well I thought it was pretty darling. It’s been a spell since I read a middle grade book, but there’s a lot I liked. I really really loved every scene in the bar. Yeah, there’s a bar.
  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    Ms Pennypacker has packed a lot in the middle grade book. This is a story of friendships, justice, community, imaginative play, habitat, economy and the role of mentors in our lives. Ware is a quirky, dreamy kid with with lots of integrity and a desire to have Just One Friend who gets him. This is especially vital because his parents Don't get him and make no real effort to. They want him to conform to their hopes. Dad want a jock and Mom wants a social butterfly. As an introverted wimp this Ms Pennypacker has packed a lot in the middle grade book. This is a story of friendships, justice, community, imaginative play, habitat, economy and the role of mentors in our lives. Ware is a quirky, dreamy kid with with lots of integrity and a desire to have Just One Friend who gets him. This is especially vital because his parents Don't get him and make no real effort to. They want him to conform to their hopes. Dad want a jock and Mom wants a social butterfly. As an introverted wimp this ain't happenin', Ware would love to comply- if he could. He would love to be the 'normal kid' Mom desires.The summer is shaping up well, he is spending it with his gran. She gets him and helps him with social challenges. Early in his visit though she falls and is hospitalized (long story).Back home his parents are parking him in the Summer Rec Program- an opportunity for Meaningful Social Interaction and Activity!Once there, Rec is every bit as grim as Ware has imagined. things change though when Ware spots an abandoned church festooned with foreclosure signs across the street and a girl valiantly starting a garden there. The two form a shaky alliance; Ware clearing the church while Jolene plants aspirational papayas. Enter the foreclosing bank's daughter Ashley, a passionate advocate for maintaining bird migration paths. Her comment that if the parking lot surrounding the kid's projects were a body of water the lives of many birds would be saved and the kids would buy time against foreclosure. As the projects advance Uncle Cy shows up for a visit and spots Ware's project. Sworn to secrecy- Ware has been ditching Rec for this unauthorized project, Cy gives Ware a video camera and editing tips. Suddenly Ware is having the best summer he can remember and we get a story with lots to think about.
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  • Mary Judy
    January 1, 1970
    Here In The Real World is a song dedicated to those who live life with a different point of view; to the introverts, the individuals. Ware is a bit of a mystery and a frustration to all those around him; misunderstood and frequently discounted as someone who just doesn't fit in; filled with a dreamy, artistic nature. Jolene is quite different; skeptical, tough and secretive. While the two clash, the find that they develop an unlikely bond and support system, accepting each other into their lives Here In The Real World is a song dedicated to those who live life with a different point of view; to the introverts, the individuals. Ware is a bit of a mystery and a frustration to all those around him; misunderstood and frequently discounted as someone who just doesn't fit in; filled with a dreamy, artistic nature. Jolene is quite different; skeptical, tough and secretive. While the two clash, the find that they develop an unlikely bond and support system, accepting each other into their lives in spite of themselves. The story speaks of building something beautiful among ruins, of striving for something more. A sumptuous world of dreams and hope comes into being, and even when it doesn't last, it shows a flexibility; an ability to continue forward and find another way. The description of Wares' perspective and how it creates a tangible 'thing' and the determination to protect it takes the reader into the story convincingly, alongside characters that are realistic and recognisable. We feel every action and emotion; the physical work of building a dream and the anger and fear at its' imminent destruction. We have a clear view of the garden and the building of the castle. An adventure to make the ordinary world extraordinary and to be who you really are, Here In The Real World is quietly glorious and graceful. I loved it.
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  • Gmr
    January 1, 1970
    This is a story for all those who have ever felt left of center. This is a tale for all those that followed the beat of their own drummer, often times to the dismay of friends/family, and with mixed results. This is a fictional rendering of many people's lives told with care, compassion, truth...that results in just the right amount of magic for readers of all ages.I felt SO MUCH for Ware, even when I myself was just learning to love him, and when Uncle Cy arrived, it was like a light bulb just This is a story for all those who have ever felt left of center. This is a tale for all those that followed the beat of their own drummer, often times to the dismay of friends/family, and with mixed results. This is a fictional rendering of many people's lives told with care, compassion, truth...that results in just the right amount of magic for readers of all ages.I felt SO MUCH for Ware, even when I myself was just learning to love him, and when Uncle Cy arrived, it was like a light bulb just ignited, shining as bright as the sun. With everything going on in his and his family's lives, it was easy for him to get lost along the way...but thanks to a certain precocious and determined young lay, he won't be able to lose his way. True, he won't know exactly where to start, but once he gets on the right path, there'll be no stopping. Same goes for Jolene, actually. She's a complex little lady who only shows as much as she's willing and has big dreams for her own predicament. Their unexpected friendship, their unanticipated project will bring more than a focus on something other than their family problems, but a chance to see themselves as something more than they ever thought they could be; people (albeit children) that can affect change in not only themselves, but the world around them.**ARC received for review; opinions are my own
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  • Aeicha
    January 1, 1970
    Eleven-year-old Ware is just fine with living in his own little world and is looking forward to doing just that as he spends the summer at Big Deal’s (his grandma) retirement community. Then Big Deal has an accident that lands her in the hospital and Ware finds himself signed up for Rec camp, where his mom hopes he has Meaningful Social Interactions. But an empty lot next to the Rec center, that is home to a demolished church, and a mysterious girl named Jolene, provide Ware with an unexpected Eleven-year-old Ware is just fine with living in his own little world and is looking forward to doing just that as he spends the summer at Big Deal’s (his grandma) retirement community. Then Big Deal has an accident that lands her in the hospital and Ware finds himself signed up for Rec camp, where his mom hopes he has Meaningful Social Interactions. But an empty lot next to the Rec center, that is home to a demolished church, and a mysterious girl named Jolene, provide Ware with an unexpected sanctuary and an even more unexpected purpose driven mission. Sara Pennypacker’s Here In The Real World is a quiet, yet powerful exploration of identity, family, friendship, courage, and love. A tenderly written, character driven story, full of heart swelling moments make this a fiercely lovely middle-grade read. The true heart of Here In The Real World are its relatable, engaging, always surprising characters- from chivalrous Ware, determined Jolene, direct Big Deal, Ware’s fix-it-all mother, and more. Introverts, dreamers, artists, activists, misfits, outcasts, do-gooders, never-give-uppers, and visionaries are joyously celebrated throughout this story. Every reader who has ever felt out of place, lost, or too different will see themselves shine bright through these characters.  Here In The Real World  is a beautifully written middle-grade book, with unforgettable characters and a heartfelt, stirring story. 
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to The Children’s Book Review and HarperCollins for the advanced copy! From Sara Pennypacker, writer of the beloved "Pax", comes a story of introverted, only-child Ware, whose parents want only for him to have friends, lots of them! They're working double shifts to gain enough money to buy their home so Ware, again, is expected to give up his dreams of a summer on his own and go daily to the 'rec center' where mobs of kids only show Ware how alone he is. Despite his parents' expectations, Thanks to The Children’s Book Review and HarperCollins for the advanced copy! From Sara Pennypacker, writer of the beloved "Pax", comes a story of introverted, only-child Ware, whose parents want only for him to have friends, lots of them! They're working double shifts to gain enough money to buy their home so Ware, again, is expected to give up his dreams of a summer on his own and go daily to the 'rec center' where mobs of kids only show Ware how alone he is. Despite his parents' expectations, he likes being alone! But then he spies an abandoned church early one day, and sees a girl doing What??? -- making a garden of papayas. This adventure sometimes seems a bit farfetched, but dreams, even outlandish ones, can become real, and Ware, with new, maybe friend Jolene? and a welcome intruder, bird-lover Ashley, might help Ware be re-born? Ware follows the knight's creed about fighting unfairness and with help from the girls and a few adults that come into his life, too, plus his own self-awareness begins to like who he is, at last! I imagine there will be kids who say, maybe secretly, that's me!
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  • Lonna Pierce
    January 1, 1970
    Ware often lives in a world of his own, content to dream and contemplate quietly alone. His parents think he’s abnormal, and sign him up for a hated summer Rec Program so they can work double shifts in an effort to buy the house they currently rent. He secretly spends his days in the ruins of a church instead, trying to reclaim it in the style of a medieval castle. Only problem is Jolene thinks she owns the place since she started a garden from seeds repurposed from rotten fruits. They create an Ware often lives in a world of his own, content to dream and contemplate quietly alone. His parents think he’s abnormal, and sign him up for a hated summer Rec Program so they can work double shifts in an effort to buy the house they currently rent. He secretly spends his days in the ruins of a church instead, trying to reclaim it in the style of a medieval castle. Only problem is Jolene thinks she owns the place since she started a garden from seeds repurposed from rotten fruits. They create an unlikely partnership in an attempt to survive a difficult summer and some harsh daily realities. Redemptive with memorable characters, the story evolves as both kids grow and find a “purpose-driven life” making a wonderful place out of hard-scrabbled refuse. Pennypacker excels at understanding her complicated protagonists and their solitary inner lives so we can recognize the budding young dreamers becoming artists and scientists in our midst.
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  • Sarah Hay
    January 1, 1970
    Ware's plans for the summer are thwarted when his grandmother has a bad fall. Now, instead of spending the summer with his grandmother at her retirement village, Ware's parents are sending him to the Y for daycare while they both work two jobs to make extra money to buy their house. Ware doesn't want them to worry about him, he is not a typical kid and does not enjoy spending time in large groups of kids, but he also does not want to spend his days at the Y trying to fit in. When he discovers an Ware's plans for the summer are thwarted when his grandmother has a bad fall. Now, instead of spending the summer with his grandmother at her retirement village, Ware's parents are sending him to the Y for daycare while they both work two jobs to make extra money to buy their house. Ware doesn't want them to worry about him, he is not a typical kid and does not enjoy spending time in large groups of kids, but he also does not want to spend his days at the Y trying to fit in. When he discovers an empty lot next door to the Y he finds a place where he can spend his days mostly alone (aside from Jolene, a girl who is creating gardens in the lot) and having his own adventures. When the lot is listed for auction Ware and Jolene decide they need to come up with a plan to save it from strip mall developers.Good for ages 9 and up.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Ware is a quiet kid, a thinker, a ponderer. At 11, he thinks he's too old to go to summer Rec, but his mother insists so he can get some social interaction with other kids. Ware has a different idea though and instead spends his days at the lot next door where's there's a torn apart church and a girl named Jolene who wants to turn the lot into a garden. All summer the two haul dirt and cinder blocks, planting papayas and turning the church into a medieval style castle and Ware films the entire Ware is a quiet kid, a thinker, a ponderer. At 11, he thinks he's too old to go to summer Rec, but his mother insists so he can get some social interaction with other kids. Ware has a different idea though and instead spends his days at the lot next door where's there's a torn apart church and a girl named Jolene who wants to turn the lot into a garden. All summer the two haul dirt and cinder blocks, planting papayas and turning the church into a medieval style castle and Ware films the entire project as it's going along. Then they're joined by a teen with a special interest in saving birds and before they know it, they have changed the lot into a wildlife refuge and changed themselves and each other in the process. It's a wonderful story and Ware is a great protagonist, proving that the quiet kids are not only normal, they're world changers. Review from e-galley.
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  • Chaitra
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not really the target audience for the book, but I'd read Sara Pennypacker's Pax before, and loved it. This book is similarly affecting. Especially for those children who identify as dreamers, off in their own worlds, or anti-social. Ware is a loner, but he's happy to be lonely, something that his very social parents have a hard time understanding. I'm a loner, and I'm happy to be lonely, and I had parents who didn't understand my need for space. I identified with this book. I'm no artist I'm not really the target audience for the book, but I'd read Sara Pennypacker's Pax before, and loved it. This book is similarly affecting. Especially for those children who identify as dreamers, off in their own worlds, or anti-social. Ware is a loner, but he's happy to be lonely, something that his very social parents have a hard time understanding. I'm a loner, and I'm happy to be lonely, and I had parents who didn't understand my need for space. I identified with this book. I'm no artist however, so I took exception to the freely dispersed misinformation that anyone who wants to be left alone is an artist. Because adulthood tells me that it's fine that you're not really great at anything, as long as you're happy. I wished that was mentioned, but then this was not that book. Still, it's a good book for misfits.
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  • Linda Prieskorn
    January 1, 1970
    Here in the Real World is the story of two young kids who are feeling castout. They meet as one is trying to escape the horror of daily recenter for the summer and the other is trying to escape being abandoned by her mother and living with an alcoholic aunt. Their shelter is an abandoned church next to the recenter, a neighborhood bar and a grocery store. One is trying to grow papayas in the abandoned lot, the other is escaping reality by trying to create a castle and live by the Knights code of Here in the Real World is the story of two young kids who are feeling castout. They meet as one is trying to escape the horror of daily recenter for the summer and the other is trying to escape being abandoned by her mother and living with an alcoholic aunt. Their shelter is an abandoned church next to the recenter, a neighborhood bar and a grocery store. One is trying to grow papayas in the abandoned lot, the other is escaping reality by trying to create a castle and live by the Knights code of honor. The real world is winning over the summer fantasy.This book is probably written for 5th or 6th grade. It is by the author of PAX. Pax was also the story of a boy feeling abandoned and fighting the real world.
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  • Meag McKeron
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed the author's writing style, and I think she does a great job creating characters that readers can identify with on a real emotional level. Ware, in his struggles to be "normal" so his mother will appreciate him, represents a lot of kids who don't feel like they are "enough." I did have a hard time with Ware's parents, who weren't quite developed enough and left me scratching my head at parts. I loved his grandma though. The biggest thing that kept me from loving this was my I really enjoyed the author's writing style, and I think she does a great job creating characters that readers can identify with on a real emotional level. Ware, in his struggles to be "normal" so his mother will appreciate him, represents a lot of kids who don't feel like they are "enough." I did have a hard time with Ware's parents, who weren't quite developed enough and left me scratching my head at parts. I loved his grandma though. The biggest thing that kept me from loving this was my inability to really visualize what Ware and Jolene were creating. It was a big part of the story, and all of the descriptions of them building walls and flinging mud and filling up moats and such weren't clicking for me. This could be my own personal failing though - I'm sure some readers will love the imagery of a garden and castle coming to life in an abandoned parking lot.
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  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    This is my least favorite Pennypacker book. I loved Pax, and the Clementine series offers some great family dynamics. This one just felt off. Ware is an interesting main character and Jolene certainly is realistic also, but the story feels disconnected. Readers see the family's stress as they deal with health issues, work issues, childcare issue, etc. It's certainly possible for families to be this disconnected and happens far too frequently but it's hard to see why it happens in this book. I'm This is my least favorite Pennypacker book. I loved Pax, and the Clementine series offers some great family dynamics. This one just felt off. Ware is an interesting main character and Jolene certainly is realistic also, but the story feels disconnected. Readers see the family's stress as they deal with health issues, work issues, childcare issue, etc. It's certainly possible for families to be this disconnected and happens far too frequently but it's hard to see why it happens in this book. I'm also skeptical of an eleven year old going an entire summer without checking in and no one at a recreation center contacting parents. It's still a fast read and the two main characters are relatable.
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  • Lisa Cobb Sabatini
    January 1, 1970
    I won an Advance Reader's Edition of Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker from Goodreads.Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker is a book about hopes and dreams, about trying to make something more of yourself, and about understanding the limitations and possibilities of the real world. This story about how an eleven year old boy named Ware spends his summer encourages young readers to be true to themselves and inspires them to work toward their goals. Ware and Jolene's struggle to I won an Advance Reader's Edition of Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker from Goodreads.Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker is a book about hopes and dreams, about trying to make something more of yourself, and about understanding the limitations and possibilities of the real world. This story about how an eleven year old boy named Ware spends his summer encourages young readers to be true to themselves and inspires them to work toward their goals. Ware and Jolene's struggle to make sense of their world and to improve their own corner of it may spark memories for older readers and inflame forgotten aspirations.Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker is heartrending and uplifting and heroic.
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  • Jennifer Hill
    January 1, 1970
    11 year old Ware is staying with his grandmother for the summer while his parents are working extra so that they can buy a house, but his grandmother falls and breaks both hips. His summer has now turned into a nightmare of having to go to Rec camp. He HATES Rec camp, but he doesn’t want to cause any trouble for his parents. He overheard them talking about him and how they wish he was normal. As his summer at the Rec starts he finds a dilapidated church next door where a girl, Jolene, is 11 year old Ware is staying with his grandmother for the summer while his parents are working extra so that they can buy a house, but his grandmother falls and breaks both hips. His summer has now turned into a nightmare of having to go to Rec camp. He HATES Rec camp, but he doesn’t want to cause any trouble for his parents. He overheard them talking about him and how they wish he was normal. As his summer at the Rec starts he finds a dilapidated church next door where a girl, Jolene, is planting papaya plants to sell and make money. Ware decides to turn the church into a medieval castle for himself. Wares summer does not end up like he expects.
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  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    Great story about Ware, an introvert, and how he changes over the course of a summer. After his grandmother hurts herself, Walter is forced to go to the "rec" program for the summer. He dreads going and only lasts one day. Fortunately, he notices a girl in the empty church lot next door to the rec center and ends up skipping rec each day and creating an alternative place to spend his days.With some encouragement from his uncle, who understands Ware much better than his own parents, Ware ends up Great story about Ware, an introvert, and how he changes over the course of a summer. After his grandmother hurts herself, Walter is forced to go to the "rec" program for the summer. He dreads going and only lasts one day. Fortunately, he notices a girl in the empty church lot next door to the rec center and ends up skipping rec each day and creating an alternative place to spend his days.With some encouragement from his uncle, who understands Ware much better than his own parents, Ware ends up making some friends, saving Jolene's plants, and becoming the hero he has always dreamed of being.
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  • LS Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a sweet story about an atypical boy and a girl who struggles to trust anything good can happen “in the real world”. The story flowed nicely. I was able to finish it in one day. What appealed to me the most in the description was the boy’s quest to be normal. But what I read was actually a book about my son and some of his friends. Some kids that age just aren’t interested in big games of wiffle ball at summer camp. Kids in middle school can be introspective and it doesn’t mean they This book was a sweet story about an atypical boy and a girl who struggles to trust anything good can happen “in the real world”. The story flowed nicely. I was able to finish it in one day. What appealed to me the most in the description was the boy’s quest to be normal. But what I read was actually a book about my son and some of his friends. Some kids that age just aren’t interested in big games of wiffle ball at summer camp. Kids in middle school can be introspective and it doesn’t mean they are not normal. I’m glad I read the book but I’m not going to keep it on my list of “must read recommendations” for 2020.
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  • Jeannie
    January 1, 1970
    Where to begin? Although I had to nudge myself to get into the storyline, by the middle of the book I was mesmerized by Ware, Jolene, and this mission to make something beautiful out of a discarded, demolished church lot. There is discussion of what is holy in this novel, an element not to be missed. Holy, sacred, born-again - such huge ideas for young people, but the author handles the ideas with care and a light touch.This is a book I want to hand to every 11 year old I know and say, “Here. Where to begin? Although I had to nudge myself to get into the storyline, by the middle of the book I was mesmerized by Ware, Jolene, and this mission to make something beautiful out of a discarded, demolished church lot. There is discussion of what is holy in this novel, an element not to be missed. Holy, sacred, born-again - such huge ideas for young people, but the author handles the ideas with care and a light touch.This is a book I want to hand to every 11 year old I know and say, “Here. This will help you live in the real world.”
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