Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker was published in 2020, and after reading this, I've decided that Pennypacker is one of my favorite authors for young people. I recently read another book in her Clementine series (which is great for early readers), and it was excellent.
Pennypacker knows how to get in a kid's head and see things the way a kid does. Her characters are incredibly real; she is a wonderful storyteller, and her writing is stellar. Her characters seem to have a vulnerability and gentleness about them, which makes them all the more likeable.
Here in the Read World is about Ware, a boy who feels awkward in his own skin. He is eleven years old, and supposed to be spending the summer with his grandmother while his parents both work overtime so that they can afford to buy their home. However, something happens to grandma and that means that Ware must go to the dreaded Rec center for the summer instead.
Ware sneaks away from the Rec center, and goes next door where he discovers an abandoned church and a very salty girl, Jolene. He's been sheltered by overprotective parents his whole life, and now he has a chance to help build something important. In creating a refuge in this abandoned lot, Ware begins to see who he really is.
I loved the symbolism in this story. I listened to the audio version, which was well narrated, but I want to reread the book so that I can annotate because there are many great quotes in this story.
Read to a child today even if that child is you.
We’ve had several donations to our book project this month.
Britney Shaw sent this book.