Here in the Real World
by Pennypacker, Sara - Balzer & Bray/Harperteen, 2021
From the author of the highly acclaimed, New York Times bestselling novel Pax comes a gorgeous and moving new middle grade novel that is an ode to introverts, dreamers, and misfits everywhere.
Summer rec? More like summer wrecked.
Ware can’t wait to spend summer swimming, dreaming, and generally being left alone. But then his parents—who worry Ware is too often off in his own world—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 and spends hours a day there, creating a castle-like space of his own. Jolene scoffs, saying that he doesn’t live in the “real world” like she does. But as different as Ware and Jolene are, they have one thing in common: for them the lot is a refuge where they can build their dreams.
Then, when their special place is threatened, Ware can’t imagine giving it up. But what can two kids do? Maybe the qualities that make Ware and Jolene different are exactly what they need…