Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Ingrid Law, author of the award-winning Savvy, returns with a companion title: Scumble. Nine years after the savvy journey of Mibs Beaumont, her cousin turns thirteen and soon realizes that learning to scumble extraordinary powers isn't easy.

Ledger Kale was sure his savvy would be the ability to run lightning fast. He spent hours on his thirteenth birthday running and timing himself, just waiting for his savvy to kick in. But nothing happened. At least nothing extraordinary. All he did was break the toaster. As his family drives to a cousin's wedding (Savvy readers will remember Fish from the first book), Ledge's savvy becomes more and more evident ... and more and more difficult to control. With no effort, Ledge and bust any metal contraption into a million parts. And with all his effort, he can't seem to control this newly granted power.

A thirteen-year-old self-publishing journalist, Sarah Jane Cabot delights in the paranormal. When she sees Ledge destroy a pristine motorcycle with a blink of his eye, she stows away in the family station wagon and gets a full view of the fantastic wedding. This only whets her appetite. As Ledge tries to diffuse the potentially dangerous publicity, other things start falling apart -- like the barn holding the reception.

The wedding ends in catastrophe and Ledge's parents decide to leave him and his younger sister on the family ranch for the summer. They'll stay there with their Uncle Autry (a man who can heard insects), and a few cousins, including Autry's twin daughters (a troublesome duo with cooperative savvy for hovering things) and Rocket (Mibs and Fish's oldest brother who can absorb and expel electricity). To Ledge a summer on the ranch feels like a punishment deserved only by rejects. If he doesn't learn to scumble soon, he'll be isolated forever. Worse: the whole family may pay dearly for his lack of control.

Ledge decides a foreclosed junk yard might be the only place he can't break anything. It is there he meets Winona, the owner of the motorcycle he destroyed before the wedding. In an effort to make amends, he tries to help her re-build, all the while learning more and more about his new "talents."

Sarah Jane makes a persistent snoop while both Rocket and Ledge struggle to master their savvies. When Sarah Jane's dad discovers her growing fascination with the Beaumont family, things only get worse. A powerful, wealthy man, Mr. Cabot threatens to evict them and anyone in town connected with them.

Will Ledge ever learn to scumble? Will he or Rocket ever make it off the ranch? Why does Mr. Cabot hate their family so much? How can savvies that cause so much trouble be a blessing?

If only awesome powers came with instruction manuals.

What I Like:
The author is brilliant. Rarely do I find such excellent writing among recent publications. She simply has a gift for stringing together words into unexpected yet perfectly precise descriptions. Amazing!

What I Dislike:
I don't like that the main character frequently "curses" or "cusses." The offending words are never included in the text, but it behavior is an obvious habit, one that is never portrayed as negative or deserving remorse. The book offers very little guidance for this character (and readers) on how to manage his anger, and he possesses a lot of frustrated anger.

Also, unlike first book, this title is void of a spiritual emphasis. In fact, it only has two vague inferences in the entire book: one mentions prayer and the other references the Creator. Books don't need spiritual elements to be great, but the inclusion of it made the first book spectacular. It added another dimension that is simply missing in this sequel.

Overall Rating:
Very Good.

Age Appeal:
9-12, though older readers may enjoy it as well

Publisher Info:
Dial, 2010; ISBN: 0803733070; Hardback; 416 pages; $16.99

Buy it Now at for $11.55!

This title is also available in Kindle format or as an audio book.

Special Info: There is a touch of romance in this book, both with Ledge and his older cousin Rocket. The text never details anything more involved than kissing, and light at that, but some Christian parents may object to the example between thirteen-year-olds.

Check out our review of the first book in this series, the author's highly acclaimed first novel, Savvy.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: