The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

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Adult readers will savor Ursu’s allusions to well-known fairy tales—most significantly, Pinocchio—and appreciate the many well-turned phrases. But the story has some gaps, and a message about the failings of magic may disappoint younger fantasy fans.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

National Book Award Longlist
2014 Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book of the Year
"Beautifully written and elegantly structured, this fantasy is as real as it gets."—Franny Billingsley, author of Chime

The Real Boy, Anne Ursu's follow-up to her widely acclaimed and beloved middle grade fantasy Breadcrumbs, is a spellbinding tale of the power we all wield, great and small.

On an island on the edge of an immense sea there is a city, a forest, and a boy named Oscar. Oscar is a shop boy for the most powerful magician in the village, and spends his days in a small room in the dark cellar of his master's shop grinding herbs and dreaming of the wizards who once lived on the island generations ago. Oscar's world is small, but he likes it that way. The real world is vast, strange, and unpredictable. And Oscar does not quite fit in it.

But now that world is changing. Children in the city are falling ill, and something sinister lurks in the forest. Oscar has long been content to stay in his small room in the cellar, comforted in the knowledge that the magic that flows from the forest will keep his island safe. Now, even magic may not be enough to save it.

 

About Anne Ursu

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Anne Ursu is the author of Breadcrumbs, which was a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book, an IndieBound Indie Next List pick, an Amazon.com Best Book of the Year, a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best, and a featured selection for NPR's Backseat Book Club, in addition to earning four starred reviews. She is also the author of the Cronus Chronicles trilogy: The Shadow Thieves, The Siren Song, and The Immortal Fire; in addition to two well-received adult books, Spilling Clarence and The Disapparation Of James. Anne is a professor of writing for children at Hamline University. She lives in Minneapolis with her son and three cats.
 
Published September 24, 2013 by Walden Pond Press. 357 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Real Boy
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Sep 16 2013

Adult readers will savor Ursu’s allusions to well-known fairy tales—most significantly, Pinocchio—and appreciate the many well-turned phrases. But the story has some gaps, and a message about the failings of magic may disappoint younger fantasy fans.

Read Full Review of The Real Boy | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Chelsey Philpot on Nov 08 2013

As Oscar and Callie try to understand their history and why Aletheia’s magic is losing strength, they develop and discard theories the way citizens of Asteri might throw away old charms, but those who stay with their mission will be aptly rewarded.

Read Full Review of The Real Boy | See more reviews from NY Times

Reader Rating for The Real Boy
85%

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