You know that feeling you get when you just can't wait for something to happen? Every time you hear about it, your stomach knots up and you feel anxious? That is how I felt when I thought about reading The Real Boy by Anne Ursu. I am a HUGE fan of her book Breadcrumbs. It's really on my list of top 5 favorite books ever. I have read it aloud to my fifth graders for the past two years and it has been a huge hit. So, when I heard that Anne Ursu had a new book coming out, another book based on fairy tales and folklore, I was SO excited. I remember showing my class the cover reveal on the Nerdy Book Club blog back in March. We had just finished Breadcrumbs, so they were excited, too. "When does it come out? When can we read it?" they asked me. Unfortunately, I had to break the news that it was September, they would be 6th graders by the time that happened, and I would have a new class. To be certain, we were all bummed.
But THEN, my new best friend Stephanie went to nErDcamp (which I must attend next year by the way)...and lo and behold, she won a copy! And she read it quickly and popped it right in the mail to ME! So, as you can imagine, the mailman came...my dogs barked at him...I opened the door...and spent the next 5 hours on my couch reading THE REAL BOY! (Thank goodness I didn't have plans!)
Oscar lives in the Barrow, a huge forest filled with magic. The Barrow surrounds the city of Asteri, where the Shining People live. The Shining People are perfect, but they don't have magic. So, they come to the Barrow to buy their magical trinkets and spells and potions. Oscar works for Caleb, the Magician. He keeps to the back room and gathers and grinds plants and runs errands. He enjoys his work and spends his time learning as much as he can about plants and how they can help people. He is very content working alone and learning alone in the basement. But one day, things start to change. The magician's apprentice goes missing. Caleb is often running off to the Continent, leaving Oscar alone to run the shop. This is not easy for Oscar...it's hard for him to read people, and he often doesn't know what to say.
Thankfully, he meets Callie, the Healer's apprentice. She helps him navigate the world, even as it is changing before their eyes. The perfect children from Asteri are getting sick. Something is trying to destroy the Barrow. Oscar and Callie find themselves as the only people who might have a chance of saving things.
I adore Oscar. I adore Callie. I adore this book. I can't wait to get a copy to share with my class in the fall!
Have you read THE REAL BOY? Are you looking forward to it? I'd love to hear your thoughts!