No Castles Here by A.C.E. Bauer

I picked up this ARC a little while ago and have been looking forward to reading it.  This morning was a bit gloomy and seemed like the perfect time to delve into it.  And indeed I did and got so wrapped up that I didn’t get a whole lot else done (i.e. the dishes are still sitting in the sink).  This is a surprising tale of a boy, Augie, who happens to accidentally steal a book from a bookstore in Philadelphia.  The books he steals is a book of fairy tales (not your typical fare for a 6th grade boy).  There is definitely something special about this book and Augie really enjoys it, even though he thinks it is kind of dorky to be reading it.  Now when I started this book, I thought it was going to turn into a new version of Neverending Story, but it really took on a life of it’s own and was nothing like it.  Augie and his mom live in a pretty bad neightborhood; he gets beat-up at school and he doesn’t really have any friends.   There are gangs, school budget cuts, and a host of other issues.   Bauer weaves the fairy tale into what might otherwise be your typical story of a kid trying to rise above his humble beginnings.  Yet at no point does the story become preachy or annoying, but rather, due to some excellent character developement, you anxiously wait to hear both the fairy tale stories and Augie’s story.  Usually, in books that have several distinct story lines, there is one htat I like more than others, but in this case, both were equally enthralling.  And the ending was quite satisfying (not that I am going to say what it is of course)


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