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Friday, May 1, 2015

Just a typical Boy-meets-girl, boy-develops-the-power-to-disassemble-machinery-with-his-mind, girl-turns-out-to-be-a-reporter kind of story..

Law, Ingrid (2010) Scumble.  New York: Scholastic

Opening lines:  "Mom and Dad has 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.  We had to wait until my birthday came and went.  We had to see if anything exploded, caught fire, or flooded before committing to a long-haul trip across four states in the minivan."

Ledger Kale has problems.  Like the rest of his family, he will develop powers when he turns 13.  His Mom has the power of persuasion, his Uncle can talk to insects, and Ledger's dad is convinced that Ledger, already a track star, is going to develop the ability to run fast.  Instead, however, Ledger develops the uncontrolled ability to cause machinery to disassemble -- sometimes violently.  And when Ledger accidentally destroys a motorcycle in the town near his Uncle's ranch, Sarah Jane Cabot, a normal kid who hopes to be a reporter some day, thinks she has found the scoop that will finally get her noticed. 

What happens from there is a wonderful weaving of plot twists and turns, romance, humor, excitement, and a collection of really interesting (and mostly likable) characters.  This is a fun book to read.  It may also have something to say about family and community, but it is probably best not to point that out to young readers until they have finished reading it.

I can think of nothing in this book that would cause it to be challenged.  It would be a good choice for a classroom library.  It might work for small group study as well.  I am not sure there is enough here to support an entire class focusing on it, but it is a fun book to read.

I would say this is probably the best fit for fifth graders and up. 

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