Mom and Dad had known about the wedding at my uncle Autry’s ranch for months. But with the date set a mere ten days after my thirteenth birthday, my family’s RSVP had remained solidly unconfirmed until the last possible wait-and-see moment.
“Nine years after Mibs’s Savvy journey, her cousin Ledge has just turned thirteen . . . But Ledger Kale’s savvy is a total dud-all he does is make little things fall apart. So his parents decide it’s safe to head to Wyoming, where it’s soon revealed that Ledge’s savvy is much more powerful than anyone thought. Worse, his savvy disaster has an outside witness: Sarah Jane Cabot, reporter wannabe and daughter of the local banker. Just like that, Ledge’s beloved normal life is over. Now he has to keep Sarah from turning family secrets into headlines, stop her father from foreclosing on Uncle Autry’s ranch, and scumble his savvy into control so that, someday, he can go home.”
Just like Hero on a Bicycle, this was an MG novel that was pretty good, but kind of just seemed really simplistic to me. It was also set up really differently from Savvy, a book which I loved. In Savvy, Mibs is trying to figure out exactly what her savvy is over the course of a road trip to the hospital where her dad is. In Scumble, Ledge already knows what his savvy is; he just has to figure out how to scumble (control) it so that he can go home and lead a relatively normal life. So I guess the titles are representative of what the main characters’ struggles are, so that worked eventually. Indeed, fifty pages in, the book was already getting much better.
One character that I really did not like was Ledge’s mother; her savvy is that she can make people do her will with a few words and smile. Even though she’s generally a good person, it reminded me eerily of King Leck from the Graceling Realm. In fact, savvys and Graces do have some similarities, despite the fact that one series is set in the basically real world, the other in a fantasy realm. They’re both special powers that mark each person who inherits them as different. So that was especially creepy, since Ledge’s mom’s savvy is essentially the same thing as Leck’s Grace, even though she generally uses it for good. I wonder if Ingrid Law is aware of the similarities. Probably.
Another thing that annoyed me about Ledge’s parents was their poor decision making. Despite the fact that Ledge is clearly having difficulties with scumbling his savvy, they still apparently decide that going on a road trip in a mechanical creation is a good idea. I realize that the place where the wedding is being held is essentially a savvy sanctuary, but getting there was a big problem.
There was yet a third thing about the whole family that disconcerted me; the fact that they’re all so angry at Ledge. I mean, obviously, he’s having difficulty controlling his savvy and he destroys a lot of things, but most of his family members didn’t seem to be very understanding. Most of them have had to go through the difficult process of scumbling their own savvys, and yet they didn’t seem to be able to empathize. That was a little strange.
Despite all of that, I definitely ended up enjoying Scumble, though certainly not as much as Savvy. The two “themes” of the book are very different, as evinced by the titles. But the tone of the two books is very much the same, folksy and fun despite being annoying on occasion. There was also a Western theme in Scumble, since the wedding is in Wyoming on a ranch. That was different, and kind of nice, though also annoyingly folksy as I said. Ingrid Law certainly has a distinctive style, which some love and others don’t. I liked that the author had Ledge stay in Wyoming for the summer to try and make amends and figure things out. A lot of things, like how to get rid of Sarah Jane and get the precious jar back.
Although each page of Scumble goes by quickly, it is a bit longer than Savvy, and thus a bit longer to read. A third book will be coming out eventually, narrated by Gypsy, and I’m looking forward to it, although I’m not wildly excited. I’m not sure if I’ll read it though.
- if you liked Savvy
- if you like realistic fiction or fantasy
- if you like MG fiction