The Real Boy

By Anne Ursu

National ebook Award Longlist
2014 financial institution road kid's e-book Committee top publication of the Year
"Beautifully written and assuredly established, this delusion is as actual because it gets."—Franny Billingsley, writer of Chime

The actual Boy, Anne Ursu's follow-up to her generally acclaimed and liked heart grade delusion Breadcrumbs, is a spellbinding story of the ability all of us wield, nice and small.

On an island at the fringe of a massive sea there's a urban, a wooded area, and a boy named Oscar. Oscar is a store boy for the main strong magician within the village, and spends his days in a small room at the hours of darkness cellar of his master's store grinding herbs and dreaming of the wizards who as soon as lived at the island generations in the past. Oscar's global is small, yet he likes it that manner. the genuine global is mammoth, unusual, and unpredictable. And Oscar doesn't really slot in it.

But now that international is altering. little ones within the urban are falling in poor health, and whatever sinister lurks within the wooded area. Oscar has lengthy been content material to stick in his small room within the cellar, comforted within the wisdom that the magic that flows from the wooded area will hold his island secure. Now, even magic is probably not sufficient to avoid wasting it.

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Oscar flinched. He hadn’t even been attempting to make Wolf offended; all he’d performed used to be solution his query. Wolf took a step toward Oscar. “Do you even recognize what a freak you're? ” he requested. “There’s a cause Caleb retains you within the basement. ” His eyes flicked from Oscar to the entrance and again. “Anyway, who cares concerning the herbs? It’s a Shiner. She won’t recognize the variation. ” “But . . . what if she does? ” The phrases popped out of Oscar’s mouth sooner than he may cease them. He couldn't aid it—they have been fluttering round in his head and had to get out. Wolf drew himself up. “Look, Mouse,” he acknowledged, voice carnivorous. “She won’t. Shiners wish magic to paintings, and so it really works. in case you weren’t dumb as a goat, you’d be aware of that. ” Oscar smashed his lips jointly. If that was once real, it was once no magic he understood. “You permit Caleb and me fear in regards to the customers,” Wolf persisted. “You can fear in regards to the cats, and your little crops, and—” yet no matter what else Oscar needed to fear approximately might stay a secret, for simply then the magician’s voice got here echoing down into the cellar, calling for Wolf. The apprentice became, accumulating his bones and hollows. “Bring the walnut leaves up once you could have them ready,” he acknowledged as he moved out the door. “And for the affection of the wizards,” he additional, “don’t pop out into the store. we'd like the purchasers back. ” 5 mins later Oscar used to be creeping into the shop’s kitchen, 4 packets of herbs in his fingers. They weren't walnut leaves. He hadn’t had a lot time, so he’d prepare a package deal of passionflower and verbena, which a minimum of wouldn't reason lively damage. From his place within the doorway he may perhaps see grasp Caleb leaning around the store counter, his tree-dark eyes fascinated with the woman sooner than him as though they existed for not anything yet to behold her. The shining humans didn’t really shine, in contrast to a lantern or a firefly or a crystal within the gentle. yet they could in addition have. The younger woman in entrance of Caleb gave the impression of all of the urban humans did—perfectly tender olive-touched pores and skin, cheeks with colour and flesh, hair performed up in a few complex sculpture of braids and bejeweled pins, a glowing amulet round her neck, donning a gown of such intricately specified textile it made Oscar’s arms harm simply to examine it. Wolf seemed within the kitchen and instantly grabbed the packets out of Oscar’s hand. Oscar gazed progressively at Wolf’s chest. The passionflower appears like walnut leaves, he whispered in his mind—though no matter if to persuade himself or Wolf he was once unsure. Wolf eyed the contents and sniffed, then grew to become and went again into the store. His complete physique looked as if it would swap as he walked during the door, as though he have been reworking from beast to human. Oscar let loose a breath after which all at once stuck it back. Wolf was once handing the packets to not the buyer, yet to grasp Caleb. Who used to be looking forward to raspberry leaves. Oscar had by no means made a mistake, no longer with herbs besides, no longer in 5 years. Caleb took the packets in his hand. Oscar’s center thudded. yet Caleb simply smiled on the patron, his mouth spreading extensively throughout his face how it continually did while there has been a lady at the different part of the counter.

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