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No Castles Here

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  125 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Eleven-year-old Augie Boretski dreams of escaping his run-down Camden, New Jersey, neighborhood, but things start to turn around with help from a Big Brother, a music teacher, and a mysterious bookstore owner, so when his school is in trouble, he pulls the community together to save it.
Audio CD, Library, 0 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Random House Listening Library (first published January 1st 2007)
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Roxanne Hsu Feldman
This is quite a mess of things... the fairy tale inserts don't read like fairy tales (and yes, it's supposed to be REAL, but REAL MAGICAL places and REAL MAGICAL happenings.. but they are so poorly constructed either way); Augie's story itself is interesting to read but that's it... mildly interesting.
A sweet kids’ book about fairy tales and growing up. Good characters, a bit of magical realism. I remember quite liking it at the time—it was a cozy, warm-cup-of-tea read—but it hasn’t stuck in my mind very well. There’s nothing about it that I would call particularly notable. It’s just…pleasant.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this book because of its setting- Camden NJ. Great read with a fairy tale aura but touches on important topics for our youth today- tolerance, bullying, violence and self acceptance.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, 2017, camden-nj
I've had this book on my wish list for years, so this year with all the Amazon gift cards I got for Christmas, I decided why not. This is a cute little read, what grabbed my attention was Camden, NJ. Having worked there for 10 years I could relate to the story. I also liked the Fairy Story Book part of it. Wanted more of that. I do have to agree with the other reviewers about the incest aspect. Other than that I enjoyed it.

Alexis Rhoads
Interesting plot...very different than anything I have ever read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for

Not like many others around him, Augie is pretty different, mostly because of the way he looks. He isn't too fond of school and his teachers, and now that his only friend has moved away, there is no one left to stand up for him.

There are plenty of things Augie never thought he would do. Walking into a bookstore was one of them. But seeing a display with a donkey and a princess in the window, for some reason, captivated him. He
Sarah Sammis
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No Castles Here by ACE Bauer is another one of those display shelf gems from the library. I was curious about the graffiti style castle on the cover, especially with the title. I didn't even bother to read the blurb before deciding to read it.

Augie Boretski lives with his mother in Camden, New Jersey, if you call hiding from bullies and avoiding drug dealers living. His idea of escaping is a ride across the river into Philadelphia.

On his most recent trip to Philly, he does something he never doe
Mary Ellen
In No Castles Here, Bauer commits what I think is an unforgivable sin by writing a middle-grade novel with a MESSAGE that teaches IMPORTANT LESSONS. Why do children's writers do this? Does an adult novelist sit down and think, "Okay, what MESSAGE and IMPORTANT LESSON do I need to teach my readers today?" I don't think so, at least the good writers. Theme, story, plot, character development are the focus, and the author gives her readers enough credit to allow them to draw their own conclusions ( ...more
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: grades 4-7
Recommended to Sarah by: 5/6 list
Augie lives in a bad neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey. Not only does he have to worry about avoiding the drug dealers in the rundown park on the way to and from school, he also must worry about the bullies in his class. Sixth-grade is turning out to be quite a difficult year for him. Things get even worse when he accidentally takes a book from a bookstore downtown. Although Augie isn’t a huge fan of reading, he finds this book of tales fascinating.

When an ice storm hits the town in December, A
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eleven-year-old Augie Boretski dreams of escaping his rundown neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey. For one afternoon, he accomplishes this dream when he saves up for a trip to downtown Philadelphia. He discovers bookstore with a magical book of fairy tales and accidentally steals it. His single mother tries hard to encourage him to make friends, but Augie finds it easier to stay at home and hide from the neighborhood around him. When his mother signs him up for the Big Brother program, Augie is h ...more
Dec 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fairy tale fans
When Augie accidentally steals a book of fairy tales from a bookstore in Philadelphia, his life begins to change. Kind of...

Augie is struggling to grow up in Camden, NJ. His mother is a waitress. He gets bullied by some unpleasant characters at school. He has the meanest teacher ever. And now, his mom arranged for him to get a Big Brother, when he is way too old for that.

However, his Big Brother turns out to be kind and fun. His teacher starts up a school chorus, which Augie enjoys. And then,
Eva Mitnick
May 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Like "The Garden of Eve" by Going, this is mostly a straightforward realistic book - with a touch of magic. Augie is a 6th-grader living in a gritty New Jersey town; he tries to keep his head down but is tormented by a trio of classmates. He discovers a book of fairy tales in a tiny bookstore in Philadelphia; unusually for him, he begins to read and enjoy it. Meanwhile, his single mother has found a Big Brother for him (a great guy who happens to be gay) and his favorite teacher starts a chorus ...more
Wanwei Wu
This book wrote about a boy named Augie who is a timid and warm-hearted boy. He also likes to read books. One day he ran away from his home by himself. He found a interesting book and attracted by it. Later, he brought it home without pay.
The first day he went to school. He found out he was the classmates with the worst kids in school. They always hit him and snatched stuff from him. Augie noticed that they had relationship with drug dealers. He saw them talked to the drug dealers. Wonder wha
Miramira Endevall
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: morgan
I went into this book thinking it would get three stars, based on what I knew of the author and plot. I was pleasantly surprised that it warrants four.

The best thing about this book is that the hero does NOT find a special understanding of a fighting art, beat up his tormentors and then become their best friends. He DOES find a way to see something positive in the enemy, and then is forced to make a tough moral decision regarding said enemy.

The second best thing about this book is that the 'rea
Max M.
Nov 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max Meyer
No Castles Here

What if you get beaten up almost every day? What if you go out with an old brother? What if your school was damaged by a storm? What if they did not want to fix your school at first? This book is called “No Castles Here”.
The story was about a kid named Augie. Augie lives in Camden. He wanted to not get bullied by the bullies at his school. At his school he is in chores. But Dwaine and Fox Tooth beat him up almost every day. When Augie can back to go to sc
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
I was a little unsure about this book at first, but I grew to love it. A wonderful children's book about a sixth grade boy living in New Jersey. Augie ilives in the ghettos of Camden, New Jersey, one of the few white kids in his school. He is relentlessly bullied and has to find ways to fend for himself. Wonderful adult characters who try to help Augie on his way; his single mother Ramona, his kind neighbor Mrs. Lurentushki, Walter his Big Brother, Louisa the bookshop owner, and Mr. Franklin his ...more
Vi Louise
Apr 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Auguie Boretski tries to avoid his bully classmates daily but it's not easy when you're one of the smallest kids in your room. And neither does it help that there's only one more white kid in your room.

I really liked this book because the author deals with several themes relevant today: bullying and discrimination. Augie's mother gets him a big brother who Augie later learns is gay. This compounds Augie's fear of the class bullies. It's not until Augie decides he's tired of being afraid and of l
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I quite enjoyed No Castles Here. Well written, compelling, diverse and well-developed characters, there was much to appreciate about this book. Bauer did an expert job weaving together fantasy and reality in a way that left us feeling as if this story was both utterly real and completely magical. Effortlessly taking it one step further she makes clear the real life magic that occurs when people band together to support something they believe in. This is a fantastic story I would recommend to man ...more
Malia C.
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!!! The book is about a boy who is being bullied so I felt really bad for him and because of that, wanted to keep reading to find out what the outcome would be. Also, the details and emotions were very strong and well written. I thought that the plot was introduced a little late so I couldn't get into it until somewhere in the middle part of the book... Otherwise, this book was great and I want to read more books by this author.
May 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A boy trying to live unnoticed in a rough neighborhood in Camden finds a book in a bookstore that draws him into a fairytale. Not literally, unfortunately. He still goes to school, deals with bullies, whines about being forced into having a Big Brother by his Mom, and joins the choir.

The fairytale story eventually links up in a peripheral way with Augie's contemporary life. The fairytale part of the book had a better flow and a more engaging style than Augie's story.
Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Lots of strong characters and a solid plot make for a very engaging read about a young boy who, with the help of a teacher, a bookseller and a Big Brother, figures out how to stop running from his problems.
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Trin
Shelves: youth
I'm debating if this ends up on the fantasy shelf, too. It's kind of magical realism. In parts. This just came in, so I've only skimmed it, but from what I read, it's pretty damn awesome. I really liked Augie, his mother, and Walter and Roger. Good stuff!!
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a person who would like an interesting story
I think this is a very interesting book about magic in real life, how miracles can come true event to even to a child, and how it is put through a child's point of view. I like how the book is not about a normal everyday child but a child who lives near a gang and is bullied.
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I may, perhaps, be biased here.
Kim B.
May 20, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I live Camden-adjacent (Cherry Hill, NJ!) and not many books are set near me, so I need to read this.
Kyle Mahaney
Oct 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-ipod
This was really hard to get through, and it feels like an otherwise sweet story is spoiled too hard by the fantasy elements. It was just distracting.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great job weaving contemporary stories and traditional fables.
Kim Pickens
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This book was recommended to me as a LGBT book, however, only a minor character is gay. It's really a mess.
Rachael Stein
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Author gave me a signed copy of the audio at Midwinter, and I'm sorry I can't give this a better rating because she seemed very nice.
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I have telling and writing stories since childhood. I took a short break to write dreadful poetry, and then a longer one while I worked as an attorney, writing legal briefs and telling stories about my clients. I have returned to fiction, and published two middle grade novels, No Castles Here (ALA Rainbow Book; Kirkus Review starred review) and Come Fall (CCBC Choices Book; Publishers' Weekly star ...more
More about A.C.E. Bauer...