Oberon, Titania, Puck. These were the reasons I was interested in reading Come Fall by A.C.E. Bauer. Take characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream and have them messing in the lives of middle schoolers? I'm so there. And I enjoyed the book as I expected, but not for the reasons I thought I would.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
The story in Come Fall is told in third person limited, but the limited perspective switches from chapter to chapter between the three kids. Puck's chapters are in first person from his point of view. This is one of those books that does not necessarily deliver on the Faery meddling promise so much. If you took out the six chapters Puck narrates this book becomes nothing more than a contemporary fiction novel about three middle school students who are outsiders. Even in the brief encounters with Faery we only get background information that explains why things are happening to the protagonists. The Faery world and the real world never actually meet. With the exception of some remarkable encounters with a crow the children never encounter anything that hints at the other worldly. If I had been in a different mood when I read it this might have annoyed me. However, I liked Bauer's writing and the characters of Salman and Lu enough that it didn't. I do wonder how a child reader who was looking for a fantasy read would feel about the more subtle use of the magical elements here, especially as they would most likely be unfamiliar with the source material for the Faery characters.