Here In The Real World, by Sara Pennypacker, is a story about a young boy named Ware, who just can’t seem to fit into others’ expectations of him. He doesn’t want to, either. He prefers to stay just outside of crowds, like an onlooker instead of a participant. The people around him don’t really seem to accept him for who he is. Even his parents, as later revealed, wish he could just be “normal,” like all the other kids.
His parents send him off to a summer camp, an idea he voices his disdain for. He even offers to PAY his mother not to make him go. This statement is what leads to the parents’ aforementioned wish.
His parents do not oblige, obviously, and off to summer camp he goes. Unfortunately for him, things haven’t changed from the last time he was there. The room still smells. The kids are still mean. And they all still have to do laps around the entire building in the blistering hot Florida sun.
It’s during these laps that the main plot of the book begins.
Ware decides to make a run for the large, old tree behind the building. And he makes it. No one sees him run away. No one sees him climb the tree. And no one sees the old abandoned church behind the wall. Not the way he sees it, anyway.
He sees a great castle, with a drawbridge and a solar calendar. He sees what he’s always wanted. A place to be alone. To be by himself. That is, until he meets Jolene, the girl who has already “claimed” the lot. She uses it to grow her own vegetable garden.
Can they learn to get along, and share the space over the summer? Or will it all fall to pieces?
You’ll have to read the book to find out.
Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker is available to download for free from Libby.