Here in the Real World


Ware knows his parents fret that he is not Here in the Real World. His mother wants him to have ‘meaningful social interaction with other kids‘ while his Dad speaks to him through sports sayings. Ware considers that he lives life a little drifty, wafting, as though he’s not even standing. He prefers to stand in the sidelines, like his feet are underwater. How can he cope with another summer at the Rec? He had it sorted out that he’d inhabit water worlds in the pool at his grandmother’s retirement home, until her accident. Now there’s only the abandoned church behind the oak outside the Rec….

Here in the Real World is for each of us who stand on the sidelines, the so-called introverts, the dreamers, thinkers, outsiders. Yet, everyone, in some way inhabits this world. Ware’s mother with her schedules and goals, and his father with his conviviality, are as uncertain as he is. Can Ware learn this? Or do their expectations and evident disappointment overwhelm him? Maybe the girl he discovers in the demolished church grounds beyond the Rec could help. Possibly there’s something to be discovered in papaya seeds, ChipNutz cans, glasses of ginger beer or concrete dust…

Sara Pennypacker has created a truly magnificent story that speaks to each one of us. Somehow Ware’s thoughts and fears are our own. We’re each Here in [our own] World.

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Here in the Real World

Sara Pennypacker


Here in the Real World is not a place that Ware chooses. He’d prefer sinking to the depths of his grandmother’s retirement home’s pool, or imagining moats around abandoned churches. Yet it’s the summer holidays and his parents are working double shifts in order to purchase their house. Furthermore Ware’s concerned about the way his parents worry about him. His Mum says, ‘I just want you to be happy’. However, Ware is happiest alone, figuring out double eights, watching from the sidelines, planning, dreaming, seeing beyond the real world.
What happens when Ware is contracted to summer day care at the Rec? Could an escape route behind an oak tree be possible? Might there be somebody hidden on that site who sees Ware as he really is, doesn’t judge him, but focuses upon her own priorities? We’re all in our heads, all the time, only some more than others. What will Ware learn over the summer?
Pax by Sara Pennypacker is one of Bookwagon’s most significant titles. We are overjoyed to welcome her latest book. Yet Here in the Real World stands alone, rather like Ware, with words that linger in your heart and head. This is a keeper, a forever title, a winner…


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