Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker
Enthusiasts of Sara Pennypacker’s Pax will delight in the release of Here in the Real World, another intuitive and sensitive work with a beautifully flawed protagonist at its heart. This is a story about Ware, a quiet and reserved boy who prefers to keep to the periphery of things, watching others from the sidelines. Ware’s parents are too preoccupied working double shifts, keeping ahead financially, to notice that Ware feels like a misfit and a disappointment to them.
When his parents enrol Ware in a summer kids' program to experience ‘meaningful social interaction’ with other kids, Ware’s anxiety about socialising makes for raw and painful reading. But the reader is offered something profound in the story that follows as Ware finds an abandoned church, befriends a gutsy, spirited girl, and together they stake out a place that brings purpose and a sense of belonging for them both. Ware finds courage in imagining himself as a guardian, of sorts, a champion serving the needs of others, especially against any perceived ‘unfairness’. Ware’s story is about personal transformation, knowing who you are and finding value in difference. Recommended for ages 10+.