Lu Zimmer's best friend moved away last summer. Salman Page is the new kid in school. Blos Pease takes everything literally. Three kids who are on the fringe of the middle school social order find each other and warily begin to bond, but suddenly things start going wrong. Salman becomes the object of the school bully's torment, and Lu's pregnant mother has some unexpected complications. Is something conspiring against them?
In fact, through no fault of their own, Salman and Lu have become pawns in a game of jealous one-upmanship between Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of Faery, with the mischievous Puck trying to keep the peace.
Taken from Titania's mention of a foundling in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, A. C. E. Bauer spins an original tale about magical intervention in the least magical of settings: a public middle school.
From the Hardcover edition.
Fairy tale charm and magic are woven into the everyday struggles of three middle-school children, when Bauer (No Castles Here) expands on a plot line from A Midsummer Night's Dream, about a boy whose presence disrupts fairy land's harmony. Bauer's third-person narrative alternately focuses on new kid Salman, a perpetual foster child; Lu-Ellen, the "designated buddy" assigned to help Salman acclimate to seventh grade; and Blos, a socially challenged student who befriends them both; along with first-person chapters from Puck, servant to Shakespeare's Oberon and Titania, who bicker over Salman's fate. Supernatural elements, such as a crow that links human and fairy worlds and the astonishing fecundity of Salman's foster mother's garden, soften but do not blunt the harsh realities faced by the protagonists. Bullies, mental health difficulties, sibling rivalry, social services, and school bureaucracies all provide mystifying obstacles for the children to navigate. While the forbidding social milieu, abetted by fairy mischief, threatens to destroy their spirits, the power of true friendship prevails in this magical yet realistic tale that, quite rightly, makes middle school feel like a trip through a dark and scary forest populated by not-so-friendly creatures. Ages 9-12. (July)