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A “savvy” is an extraordinary, unique, out-of-this-world, unbelievable talent that goes beyond a person’s wildest imagination --- almost like a superpower. Receiving a savvy on one’s 13th birthday is something that runs in certain families. Mibs Beaumont experienced quite an adventure when her savvy appeared. She can hear a person’s thoughts if they have any type of writing on their skin, from a tattoo to an ink smudge. Nine years have passed since Mibs survived her 13th, and now it is her cousin’s turn.

Ledger Kale has high hopes for his upcoming 13th birthday and the discovery of his savvy. His dad is positive that Ledge will achieve massive speed, which would make winning their upcoming father/son half-marathon a definite. And Ledge is all for making his dad proud. But savvys rarely satisfy expectations, and Ledge couldn’t be more disappointed when he learns that his savvy is the ability to shatter things into pieces. It certainly adds a challenge to their cross-country trip from Indiana to Wyoming for a family wedding when his savvy causes the muffler to fall off the car and a tire to drop off and bounce down the highway. 

Ledge is so frustrated and extremely nervous with his lack of control; the savvy creeps up on him and strikes like a lightning storm. Most of the family understands that learning control over one’s savvy takes time, even years. Just ask Rocket Beaumont, who has been living at the Wyoming family ranch for a long time with his savvy for conducting his own electricity; Rocket doesn’t trust himself in society, so he works on the secluded ranch. But when Ledge accidentally breaks apart the big barn housing the wedding reception, everyone agrees that it would be best if Ledge stays in Wyoming for a bit to adjust to his new savvy.

Ledge is completely discouraged when his parents leave him at the ranch for the summer, but he isn’t alone. He has an uncle, grandfather, younger sister and various cousins to offer advice, sometimes welcomed and other times not. Among his western adventures, he rediscovers an old love of art and building things, forms a strong friendship with Rocket, and even begins to appreciate his savvy. Ledge attempts to survive all of this, along with trying to hide his family secret from an inquisitive 13-year-old reporter named Sarah Jane, whose grouchy father is determined to foreclose on the entire town, including the family ranch. Turning 13 can definitely be a challenge!

Ingrid Law is the genius behind the incredible Savvy stories. Her first novel, SAVVY, not only amazed readers with its spark, but it also won the Newberry Honor Award in 2009. Her companion novel, SCUMBLE, is just as incredible, and bursting with energy, humor, imagination and lots of fun and surprises. Ledge may attract more males to the Savvy fan base, but female readers will love it, too. Law does a wonderful job catching readers up on what’s happening without boring repetition. She writes with an openness and honesty that really invite the readers to become involved with the colorful characters and feel their emotions. She also utilizes lots of relatable descriptions touching all of the senses, which brings the background to life and slides in some awesome alliteration that tickles the tongue. In addition, she skillfully weaves in some words of wisdom, like finding the courage to be yourself, facing one’s fears, and thinking through choices. SCUMBLE is so much fun. Save some room on the bookshelf for this up-and-coming author.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on August 9, 2011

by Ingrid Law

  • Publication Date: August 9, 2011
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin
  • ISBN-10: 0142419621
  • ISBN-13: 9780142419625