Book Review: Scumble

Book Review by Newbery and Beyond | Scumble: Pretty Darn Good

This book is the follow-up to Ingrid Law’s Newbery book Savvy, in which kids of a particular family receive a “savvy,” or a strange talent, on their thirteenth birthday.  Scumble occurs nine years after the events in Savvy and focuses on a different branch of this savvy family.

The star of Scumble is Ledger Kale, cousin of the family in Savvy.  His family cautiously makes its way to a wedding in Wyoming shortly after Ledge’s thirteenth birthday.  When they get there, however, Ledge’s savvy begins to show itself–he can destroy almost anything just by making it fall apart.  His inability to control this new savvy causes chaos at the wedding, and to make matters worse, there’s a non-family member hanging around who starts to get suspicious–a nosy girl named Sarah Jane.  Ledge’s parents decide to leave him and his sister at his uncle’s ranch for the summer, so Ledge can learn to scumble (control) his savvy, but Ledge starts to lose hope that he’ll ever be able to scumble.

I absolutely loved Savvy, and I’ve been looking forward to reading this follow-up since I first was introduced to this crazy family.  These books are all about growing up and learning to use your unique talents and gifts, but these talents aren’t like anything you’ve ever seen.  I love that the savvies are hardly ever stereotypical “magical power” type stuff.  For example, Ledge’s uncle is able to get insects to cooperate with his wishes, and Ledge’s cousin Rocket can cause electricity to form and even blow out lights with it.  Ledge’s mom is able to get anyone to cooperate with her just by asking with a smile–something her children hate.  But these books aren’t just about growing up with strange, cool talents.  They’re also about family, and if you know anything about me, you know I love a good, heartwarming family story.

I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as I enjoyed Savvy.  I enjoyed the characters in Savvy a lot, while both Ledge’s mom and his new friend Sarah Jane annoyed me tremendously.  I also found the plot a little predictable, although there was a nice surprise at the end that I didn’t see coming.  Definitely pick it up if you’ve read and enjoyed Savvy, but be aware that this is more of a companion novel than a sequel.  If you haven’t read Savvy, start there and then decide if Scumble is worth your time.

Rating: Pretty Darn Good

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