Lu Zimmer’s best friend moved away last summer. Salman Page is the new kid in school. Blos Pease takes everything literally. Three kids on the fringe of the middle school social order find each other and warily begin to bond. Then, through no fault of their own, Salman and Lu become pawns in a game of jealous one-upmanship between Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of Faery. The mischievous Puck with the help of a magical crow tries to keep the peace, but at what cost to the kids?
Loosely based on the changeling’s tale in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this is a story of magical intervention in the least magical of settings: a public middle school.
“[T]he 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.”
– Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[T]he interweaving of magical and realistic elements works surprisingly smoothly . . . Despite its Shakespearean roots, this is a very accessible story.” “Distinctly and sympathetically drawn [characters], and some of the most heart-wrenching and beautifully written passages are in the form of . . . language arts assignments.” “The book is an excellent introduction to Shakespeare’s play, and initiates will enjoy picking up little references such as Blos’s name (a riff on Peaseblossom), but this is, on its own, a compelling story about friendship and trust.””
– Horn Book Magazine
A “touching blend of realism and fantasy.” “Weaving in magic, dreams, doubles, contrasts, and other elements from [A Midsummer Night’s Dream], Bauer spins an enticing variant.”
“In essence, this is a middle grade story of friendship, one of negotiating the complexities of growing up and being true to one’s self. And it’s a fine example of that genre. The magical underpinnings are unobtrusive, linked to the events of the “real” world, but not so much as to make the kids’ story, in itself, a fantasy. In fact, the story of Salm[a]n, Lu, and Blos could stand alone without the fairies. “But Titania, Oberon, and Puck add a dimension to it that gives it a special zest, a magical intrigue that makes a fairly predictable story into something more.”
“This is a quirky book with an interesting cast of characters and emphasizes sticking with your friends no matter what.”
– Parkersburg News and Sentinel
“I thought the voices of the three kids were great. Bauer does a great job of developing their individual personalities. Salman, Lu and Blos made this book for me. As far as the fantasy goes, I liked the language, especially Puck, the character caught between the feuding King and Queen.”