New & Noteworthy
What kid hasn’t wished they had some sort of magical powers to make themselves invisible, or able to fly, or even to travel in time? Ingrid Law, author of Scumble must have spent a lot of time day dreaming about those types of powers as a kid. Scumble is a companion to Law’s Savvy, the story of Mibs, 13, who’s coming into her own power, her savvy.
Even though Scumble is not a sequel and can be read on its own without any trouble, I highly recommend that Savvy be read first, if only because it’s just as enjoyable as Scumble.
Taking place nine years after the events in Savvy, Scumble follows a different branch of the O’Connell family tree, following Ledger “Ledge” Kale who did not get the savvy he’d been sure he was destined to get. Instead of becoming the world’s fastest man, Ledge discovers, to his horror, that his savvy is blowing things up. Even though Ledge appears to be a one-man wrecking crew, the Kale family decides to travel to the family ranch in Wyoming for a wedding. If things on Ledge’s 13th birthday were bad, then the trip and the wedding were catastrophes in his eyes. From blowing up a motorcycle while stopped at a gas station to single-handedly bringing down the reception hall with his grandmother’s sound jars as victims, Ledge feels as if his entire family hates him and his new savvy.
His parents decide that it’s best for Ledge to remain on the ranch for the summer in order to learn to “scumble,” or control, his savvy. He doesn’t have much faith in it, though, since his cousin, Rocket, who is a walking lightning bolt, has been there trying to do the same thing for nine years and doesn’t appear to be having much success.
If savvy and scumble issues weren’t enough for Ledge, he has to deal with Sarah Jane “SJ,” a local girl and wanna-be reporter who smells a fishy story with Ledge’s family and will do just about anything to find the scoop. Add to his life SJ’s father, Noble, who appears to be out to destroy anything he deems out of the ordinary, and Ledge finds it almost impossible to scumble his power.
Readers will feel for Ledge as he learns to control his power. Law realistically depicts how desperate Ledge is to turn what he fears is a dangerous savvy into something useful. The back of the galley for Scumble says “Starring a cast both fresh and familiar, Scumble brilliantly melds Ingrid Law’s signature heart and humor with the legendary Wild West.” Truer words could not have been spoken.
Fans of Savvy, if anything like me, will enjoy the few small catch-up events from the characters in the first book as Fish, Mibs, and Will Junior appear at the beginning and the end to offer their fans the perfect wrap up. Samson, Gypsy, and Rocket play bigger roles in the storyline, but it’s the new characters that get introduced that make this book what it is. The only bad thing to be said about this book is that it leaves readers desperately wanting another adventure in this unique family life, and crossing their fingers that some television or movie producer is wisely scooping up rights to take both of these fantastical adventures to the screen.