Home  |  Reviews  |  Vlogs  |  Interviews  |  Guest Posts  |  Fairy Tales  |  Jane Austen  |  Memes  |  Policies

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

THE REAL BOY by Anne Ursu | Artwork, Excerpt & Giveaway!

By now, I'm sure you know I'm half in love with Anne Ursu. Or her writing, at least. (Maybe her, too; she's pretty nice.) Breadcrumbs was one of my absolute favorite reads of 2011, and one of the most memorable middle grade books I've read, period. Two solid years later, and I still push it frequently.
Needless to say, I have been looking forward to her next book, The Real Boy, eagerly and for some time - and you'll hear all my thoughts on that tomorrow, but until then, I'm thrilled to get to share a scene from the book, including a reveal of some of the fantastic artwork from Erin McGuire that is sprinkled throughout.
Below, you'll meet Callie - a bold, strong, compassionate character that I think most readers will instantly love (I did!); click through to read the whole excerpt, and then enter to win a signed, finished hardcover of this excellent middle grade fantasy!
click to embiggen

The shining lady saw Oscar behind the counter and stalked toward him, pushing the girl with her. Oscar took a step backward and bumped into the wall.

“Something’s wrong with her,” the lady repeated, her voice a hiss. “I need Caleb.”

Oscar had been down this road before. You would think telling someone Caleb’s not here would be enough, but it never was. “There’s a healer,” Oscar said. He kept his eyes away from the girl. “Madame Mariel. That’s who you see when someone’s sick: the healer, not the magician.” From the corner of the shop, Callie cleared her throat and shot him a look.

“No,” said the lady. “The healer can’t help me. She’s not sick. I need Caleb.”

“Um . . .” Oscar’s eyes caught movement. Pebble was hunched down and had started to creep in a wide circle around the counter, moving as if the floor might shatter under her at any moment. Her eyes had grown to twice their size. Carefully, carefully she moved, focus never
wavering from the lady and the girl. The kitten stopped two feet away from them, crouching on the floor, and and a long, low growl emanated from her and began to spread its way across the floor like spilled oil.

The girl shrieked and grabbed on to her mother’s skirt. Her mother yelled at Pebble. Pebble growled with a note of finality, then sprang up and darted out of the room.

The lady’s eyes narrowed. “What is that filthy creature doing in here?” she asked.

“That’s Pebble,” Oscar said. “She lives here.”

The lady huffed. “Caleb will hear about this. Have him call on me, as soon as he gets back. Tell him it’s urgent.” She tossed a card on the counter, made a sniffing noise, and grabbed her daughter by the arm. “Come on.”

The door slammed—the lady was gone. But her card lay on the counter. Oscar shrank. If a City lady complained about him, it was all over.

Suddenly, Callie was by him, rolling her eyes again. “They think they’re in charge of everything,” she muttered.

Oscar blinked. Weren’t they?

“Don’t worry.” Callie palmed the lady’s card and crumpled it in her hand. “He’ll never know.”

Oscar inhaled sharply. The smooth white card turned into a ball in front of his eyes. “You can’t—”

“I just did.”

“What if someone tells? You’ll be in trouble!”

“It’s worth it.” She looked around the room and then whispered, “I have to go now. Madame is expecting me back. You’ll be all right. Just . . . try to pretend.”

And then she picked up her parcel of herbs from the counter, set down some coins, and left—Oscar watching her the whole time. She didn’t even know Oscar, but with one squish of her hand she’d taken his troubles away.

All artwork copyright © 2013 by Erin McGuire

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
Get It | Add It
Middle Grade Fantasy, 288 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Walden Pond Press
On an island on the edge of an immense sea there is a city, a forest, and a boy. The city is called Asteri, a perfect city that was saved by the magic woven into its walls from a devastating plague that swept through the world over a hundred years before. The forest is called the Barrow, a vast wood of ancient trees that encircles the city and feeds the earth with magic. And the boy is called Oscar, a shop boy for the most powerful magician in the Barrow. Oscar 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 it's been a long time since anyone who could call himself a wizard walked the world, and 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 trees will keep his island safe. Now, even magic may not be enough to save it.

To celebrate the release of the awesomeness that is The Real Boy, Wladen Pond Press has offered up a giveaway of a signed hardcover copy to one lucky winner! US only, ends October 15th, 2013. Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. Good luck!
Please do not leave any sensitive info or email addresses in the comments! These entries will be deleted!

[And hey, wanna increase your chances of winning The Real Boy? WPP is also giving away 2 signed hardcovers & $300 worth of books (via a bookstore gift certificate) over on their Facebook page all month long, so definitely make sure to stop by and check that out!]

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Anne Ursu is the author of Breadcrumbs, which was acclaimed as one of the best books of 2011 by The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, Amazon.com and the Chicago Public Library. It was also an IndieBound Next List Pick, an NPR Backseat Book Club featured selection, and received four starred reviews. Anne lives in Minneapolis with her son and three cats. You can visit her online at www.anneursu.com.

Erin McGuire is a children’s book illustrator living in Dallas, Texas. She has illustrated such books as Nancy Drew Diaries, Breadcrumbs, Saranormal, and French Ducks in Venice. Outside of work, she enjoys her book club, baking, and camping. As an avid reader and lifelong lover of books, getting to illustrate stories for kids every day is her dream job. Erin’s work can be found online at http://www.emcguire.net and on her blog at http://emcguire.blogspot.com.


  1. I love it! I wish I would get the giveaway :D keeping my fingers crossed!

  2. Currently reading Breadcrumbs with my daughter & it's fabulous! Would love to win her latest book. Thanks.

  3. OH my gosh! I read Breadcrumbs because of your recommendation and it was LOVELY. I absolutely push it every chance I get. Man, now I want to read it again. Thanks for that rec and I can't wait to read this one!

  4. Also, that art is super lovely. And looks like it'll really add to the writing of a great writer.

  5. I agree, it is really nice. I particularly like the use of light in the cover art. It's somewhat realistic looking but pretty dramatic too.

  6. I like the artwork. It really adds to making the book look more interesting.

  7. The artwork is just gorgeous! It reminds me of the artwork in Liesl and Po. And I LOVE Anne Ursu I've meet a few times and she's so nice!

  8. I feel like im copying everyone else but have you seen the artwork

  9. It's beautiful! Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Lovely artwork!!!
    Thak you for the giveaway!

  11. Thanks for the giveaway! The excerpt and the artwork were awesome! I've never read Breadcrumbs, but it's been on my TBR for a while. I'll have to look for it in my next bookstore venture.

  12. I think the artwork is beautiful and I love the black and whites/greys of these drawings and they help people envision what is going on in the book. Thank you for sharing this with us

  13. I love the illustrations. loved the ones in Breadcrumbs too

  14. Also loved reading your blog and review!

  15. The artwork is stunning, and might I say creepy. I love how the figure in the doorway seeps into the background, making you wonder if she is really there, or not.

  16. The artwork looks amazing, and I LOVE Anne Ursu! Breadcrumbs is one of my favorites. (And if I can make a suggestion, if you like Breadcrumbs check out The Remarkable and Very True Story of Lucy and Snowcap. It's awesome, too.) :)

  17. I love the way you can tell from the cover art that the book is going to be fantasy/realism. really enhances the intrigue of the story.

  18. I have been watching your vlogs for a while. Many of the books you review end up on my Goodreads TBR list. I am loving the giveaways and hope to win one at some point. So glad to have discovered you!

  19. Acknowledges for paper such a beneficial composition, I stumbled beside your blog besides decipher a limited announce. I want your technique of inscription... Dubai artwork


Tell me all your thoughts.
Let's be best friends.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...