Book Title & Alexandra's Review

Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker

5th Grade and Up


Ware can’t wait to spend summer “off in his own world”—dreaming of knights in the Middle Ages and generally being left alone. But then his parents 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, creating a castle-like space of his own in the church lot.
Jolene scoffs, calling him a dreamer—he doesn’t live in the “real world” like she does. As different as Ware and Jolene are, though, they have one thing in common: for them, the lot is a refuge.
But when their sanctuary is threatened, Ware looks to the knights’ Code of Chivalry: Thou shalt do battle against unfairness wherever faced with it. Thou shalt be always the champion of the Right and Good—and vows to save the lot.
But what does a hero look like in real life? And what can two misfit kids do?


This is a summer adventure story that all introverts can relate to.


Growing up as an introvert kid, I know what it’s like to have adults constantly nag you to join in with the other kids. The playground attendants were always trying to get me to play with the other kids, but I just wanted to walk up and down the length of the playground, off in my own little world. For me it was relaxing and a much need break from the anxiety caused by the world around me. Others don’t seem to understand that just because someone is quiet it doesn’t mean nothing is going on inside their head and that they aren’t happy being on their own.


It broke my heart how much Ware wants to change himself to please his parents. His parents don’t realize that the pressure they put on Ware to conform to their hopes makes him feel like something is wrong with him.


I wish parents and people in general would stop saying they want their kids to be ‘normal’. I don’t think they know what that actually means. Normal means ‘not creative’, ‘not extraordinary’, ‘not interesting’. Just say what you want them to actually be, like ‘more social’, or ‘more active’, ‘well-adjusted’, or ‘happier’. Stop throwing the word ‘normal’ around like it actually means something.


When it comes to the Rec camp, I’m with Ware, by any kids’ standards this place sounds awful. An enclosed spaced full of loud kids that smells like feet, sunscreen and vomit. I would have had a panic attack by lunch.


There is a bit of religious talk throughout the story but since the kids are hanging around an abandoned church that’s to be expected.


I didn’t like Jolene that much. She’s so bossy and so negative that she believes nothing good every happens in the ‘real world’. Just because her personal life is horrible it doesn’t mean she has to bring everyone else down with her. It is true that the real world is not fair and bad things do happen, so you have to fix what you can.


To all the introverts reading this, believe me, from one introvert to another, there is nothing wrong with you and never be ashamed of wanting to spend time off in your own world.


I leave you with this quote from the story:

“Don’t ask to be normal, you’re already better than that


This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about Medieval Castles

Some medieval castle walls were as thick as three king-size beds.

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