In The Real Boy, Oscar feels like a misfit. He is an orphan and a magician's helper who happily spends his days in the shop cellar mixing just the right herbs and plants to create powerful effects for the shop's customers. When he is forced upstairs to deal with customers, he finds that his feelings of other-ness are only confirmed by people openly finding him odd. However, his journey upstairs leads him to his first friend, aside from his clowder of cats - Callie.
Together, Oscar and Callie unravel the mystery of something plaguing the perfect children of the nearby Shining City, something that Oscar thinks may be the answer to why he always feels out of place. As Oscar and Callie explore their history and the deeper motivations of those around them, Oscar discovers that there is much more to him than he or anyone else ever realized.
This beautiful story of friendship and accepting each other and ourselves for who we are is an unbelievably perfect follow up to Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. Oscar's struggles with who he is will resonate deeply with middle grades students who are in the throes of becoming whoever it is that they will be.
Who Should Read This?
This is a perfect 10-14 read, but would be enjoyed by anyone who likes fantasy, fairy tales, and very good friends.