Learning to scumble a new savvy is not easy. At least that’s what Ledger Kale thinks.
Ledger Kale, the main character in “Scumble” by Ingrid Law, was hoping his savvy would be something useful, like running at lightning speed. But when his 13th birthday rolls around and things start falling apart, literally, his hopes for his future are destroyed, along with the family van and anything else held together with nuts and bolts. Ledger Kale’s savvy is being able to tear things apart and he is not happy about it.
When the family drives to Uncle Autry’s bug ranch in Wyoming for cousin Fish’s wedding, things go from bad to worse. In an effort to help Ledger learn to scumble or control his savvy, his parents leave him and his sister, Fedora, at the ranch for the summer. The ranch is the perfect place for using your savvy without worry of discovery, out in the wide open spaces of Wyoming and is home to several other cousins who are working on scumbling. Things get really complicated when 13 year old Sara Jane Cabot stumbles into Ledger’s life and sees his savvy at work. The problem is that she runs a self-published newspaper called the Sundance Scuttlebutt and is about to blow the whistle on what goes on up at the ranch, which has just been foreclosed on by her father. Now it’s a race against time and Sara Jane, to save the ranch and keep the family secret a secret.
Ledger is a typical 13 year old, full of self-doubt and extra energy, to which most kids, boys and girls both, will relate. His savvy is most active when he is nervous, angry, or embarrassed which seems like all the time, especially when you’re in the middle of puberty. Introducing a girl, Sarah Jane, into the mix makes it all the worse to the point that he doubts he will ever regain control of himself. I believe most kids will relate to those feelings. As in Savvy, I really appreciated the simple love story. It was innocent, fun and completely age appropriate, which seems really hard to find these days.
Ledger learns a lot about himself throughout his adventure. In the final climatic scene of the novel he says, “Closing my eyes, I bowed my head, wondering…praying…demanding to know: Dear God, what had I been built to do?” This prayer could be offered by anyone, young and old, anytime making the novel relatable to all who read it. And his prayers are answered as he discovers his savvy is not just to tear things down. “But now I knew too,…that sometimes things have to come apart before becoming something different-something better.”
This young adolescent novel is fantastic and lives up to the expectations left by its predecessor, “Savvy.” It is full of new family characters, each with their own unique savvy and a few carry-over characters, such as Rocket. The new savvies, as well as old, are fun to see and the characters interact as a family would. The characters are diverse and interesting. This book is just wonderful. It’s full of adventure and discovery. Just like “Savvy,” I recommend it for all pre-teens and up.