Scumble

I loved Ingrid Law’s debut, Savvy. If you haven’t read it (you should!) it’s about a girl named Mibs who comes from a family of extremely unusual folk. Turning thirteen in the Beaumont family means that you may develop an astonishing gift – a savvy. A savvy might be the ability to control the weather, or electricity, or to move mountains. When Mibs turns thirteen, a whole lot happens and Mibs begins an adventure full of excitement that is well beyond any wild savvy she could have imagined. A book with a concept that is so creative, so much fun, and so captivating makes you excited for whatever the author comes up with next.

Scumble is what’s next, and it was as delightful and absorbing as Savvy. It begins nine years after Mibs’s story as her cousin, Ledger Kale, is right about to turn thirteen. Like Mibs, he has n of what he’d love to have as his savvy. He wishes for super speed, but instead, ends up with a savvy that seems to be all about destruction. In spite of his dangerous savvy, Ledger heads on a road trip to Wyoming for a family wedding. Needless to say, his out-of-control power wreaks havoc and when a nosy and crafty girl reporter witnesses the chaos, Ledger realizes that he may be responsible for exposing his family’s unbelievable talents. He has to learn to “scumble” – to control his savvy – if he is going to get on with his life and keep his family’s amazing abilities secret.

Law has a lot of talent. Her stories move along at a great clip, and even though this one was long, it never lagged. I think a great part of that achievement lies with the characterization. Even the characters who appear in only a few scenes are memorable and you wish you could spend more time with them. The supporting cast is so colourful and quirky. We can only hope that Law has some stories imagined for them as well. Her language offers a lovely balance of rich and arresting imagery and down-home warmth. You’ll sink right into it. Of course, her creativity continues to impress. As much as it is a rollicking great tale, Scumble is also a pretty deep book about struggling with who you really are, discovering that what seems to be your curse might really be a gift, and that “sometimes things have to come apart before becoming something different – something better.”

I don’t doubt that Law will manage – by some remarkable savvy-like gift – to produce something just as wonderful for all of us to read next. Don’t miss Scumble.

Scumble is published by Dial Books.

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