Author Anne Ursu
Author Anne Ursu
Author Anne Ursu

The Real Boy

A National Book Award Nominee
Bank Street Children’s Book Committee Best Book of the Year
A Sakura Medal Finalist
A Minnesota Book Award Finalist
Horace Mann Upstanders Children’s Book Award Winner
A Junior Library Guild Selection
An IndieBound Indie Next Pick

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.

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.

Oscar’s tremendous heart fills every nook of this richly told story. His heroic stumbles will fondly remind readers of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted and Meg from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.
School Library Journal, starred review
Anne Ursu’s latest novel explores what makes someone (or something) ‘real.’ The author mines the potential of magic and mystery in the story of 11-year-old Oscar.
Shelf Awareness, starred review
It’s all highly rewarding and involving, with a tight plot, resonant themes, a gripping adventure, a clearly limned fantasy landscape, and a sympathetic main character.
—The Horn Book

Deeply moving, with language powerful and true as a child’s voice. Grade: A.
Cleveland Plain Dealer

… a brilliant fantasy, alive with the smells and sights and sounds of a place both familiar and strange—but the true magic lies in the powerful friendship that grows between Callie and Oscar. A joy to read.
—Linda Urban, author of A Crooked Kind of Perfect
The Real Boy is an engaging fable about what happens when people reject real life in favor of pleasure, of magic. I enjoyed it very much.
—Nancy Farmer, bestselling and multiple-award-winning author of The House of the Scorpion
Beautifully written and elegantly structured, this fantasy is as real as it gets.
—Franny Billingsley, author of Chime