Gypsy Beaumont used to love being a whirly-twirly girl who picked flowers and danced. She has been dreaming of her savvy—the extraordinary talent that strikes every Beaumont on their thirteenth birthday. Gypsy had imagined getting the wings of angels or being able to catch candy necklaces instead of fish, but when her thirteenth birthday arrives, Gypsy gets blurry vision and catches glimpses of the past and future.
Then in a strange turn of events, everyone’s savvy is switched and things become topsy-turvy. Gypsy must learn to use her new powers and try to stop the events of the last vision she saw. As she tries to change the future, Gypsy embarks on an adventure that will lead to new friendships and closer relationships with her family.
Right from the start, readers will want to turn the page to see what happens next in this entertaining story of adventure and magic. Switch shows the power of friendship and family in a heartwarming story. Being told from Gypsy’s point of view allows the reader to peek inside of her mind and understand her hopes, fears, and uncertainties. Gypsy’s personality comes to life and shows the difficulties of being different; however, the story goes on to show how being different should not be seen as an embarrassment, but as a gift.
Switch tackles several difficult issues including changing friendships and the effects of aging. Gypsy’s self-confidence takes a hit when her best friend stops talking to her because Gypsy acts like a “baby.” The story also focuses on Gypsy’s grandmother who is beginning to have difficulties remembering people and often lives her life in the past. Switch expertly weaves lessons about friendship, family, and accepting yourself into a beautifully written story with memorable characters.
- Two characters kiss twice. When it’s close to Valentine’s Day, Gypsy is reminded of the way, “Samson and Nola had secretly kiss-kiss-kissed behind Grandma’s house.”
- Tucker throws a tantrum and grows “as tall as the house itself.” In his anger he uproots “trees in our front yard like they were daisies . . . tossed two leafless maples and a blue spruce into the field across the road.” He also “kicked over a tool shed.” Someone finally calms him down by offering him candy.
- A bully tells B-Bug to punch someone. “B-Bug was already reaching over the counter. With an apologetic look, he grabbed the front of Del’s hoodie. Then he pulled back his arm, aiming his knuckles at the smaller boy’s face.” Before B-Bug can hit him, Gypsy stops time.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Savvy family members have special powers. At the beginning of the book, Gypsy can see into the future and past.
- Samson can make fire. When he first learns of the power, he “glanced down at his hands as each of his fingers lit up in licks of red-and-yellow flames. He looked like he was holding ten candles. A second later, there was a whoosh and a crackle, and Samson’s entire body became a bonfire.”
- Tucker grows bigger (he can grow larger than a house) when he is angry.
- Gypsy’s family attends church once and Gypsy prays. In one scene she “asked God and all the angels to make everything go back the way it was before Mrs. Kim called . . . before we learned that Grandma Pat was ill and had to live with us . . .”
Ledger Kale has looked forward to his thirteenth birthday in anxious anticipation. That is the day when his savvy, a special magical talent that all members of his family receive, arrives. His excitement is short-lived, however, as everything falls apart . . . literally. Ledger’s savvy is worse than he could have imagined. Now he must struggle to regain control as things break all around him.
His family riskily decides to travel to Wyoming for a savvy-filled wedding, where his power is revealed in full force to his entire family and an outside witness: ambitious amateur reporter Sarah Jane Cabot. Due to Ledger’s newfound destructive nature, his parents decide that it is safer to leave him and his sister on the family ranch for the summer. They hope that when he and his sister return, Ledger won’t combust everything that surrounds him. Adventures ensue as Ledger must cope with his new capabilities, crazy cousins, and Sarah Jane’s nosy journalism.
Scumble is a delightful read for young audiences as Ingrid Law spins an enthralling tale of family, friendship, and finding yourself. Ledger’s journey to control his power brilliantly displays the struggles of growing up, no matter how extreme the circumstances. His initial disappointment and ultimate triumph are relatable to young readers trying to discover who they are. Fans of Savvy will love this new adventure because of the fresh faces that invigorate the story. Although not quite as entertaining as the first book, it is still a worthwhile, fun read.
- One of Ledger’s friends, Josh, is a “ladies man.” He has “even locked lips with Misty Archuleta during a field trip to the planetarium once, after giving her a necklace with a big silver M on it.”
- The Kale family goes to the wedding of Fisher Beaumont. Ledger describes the ceremony, including the beauty of the bride and their “just-kiss-the-bride-already smooch.”
- In order to distract Sarah Jane from some savvy magic that is occurring, Ledger kisses her. She promptly punches him in the ribs.
- Ledger’s mom tells his cousin that “a girl wants a cheerful, clean-cut beau, not a moody caveman.”
- Uncle Autry thinks that Ledger has a crush on Sarah Jane and brings it up several times throughout the book. Many of their family members join in teasing the young man and at one point, he protests by saying, “She’s not my girlfriend! Not, not, not my girlfriend.”
- Rocket loses control of his powers and confidence in himself when he “was showing off . . . for a girl.”
- Ledger receives a letter from Sarah Jane. His twin cousins Marisol and Mesquite see him with the letter and they ask, “Did you get a love letter, Ledge? Ooh! Do you have a girlfriend now too, Sledgehammer?”
- When Ledger contemplates the thought that he and Sarah Jane might be cousins, he, “stood up fast, riddled with heebie-jeebies. I’d locked lips with her! And I’d considered doing it again!” It is later revealed that they are not cousins.
- Once Sarah Jane and Ledger are apart for the school year, she writes in a letter that she “planned to kiss me the very next time we met.”
- Ledger trips, and his “mouth filled with the taste of panic, sharp and metallic.”
- Ledger blows up his Dad’s watch using his savvy. “The parts flying like shrapnel… I covered my head to avoid getting razor-thin gears lodged in my brainpan.”
- The realization of the true nature of Ledger’s savvy is quite shocking. “The understanding that I had a powerful savvy after all hit me like a hammer blow. It wasn’t just watches and windshield wipers that needed to look out. It was the whole, wide world.”
- Ledger accidentally blows up the barn during his cousin’s wedding. The groom is injured as his, “cheek was bleeding, gouged by something sharp and airborne.”
- Ledger’s mom references a time when her brother was young. “You broke your leg here, Autry. . . Your collarbone, too. You also fell in the river and nearly drowned before Cam Beacham fished you out. The two of you weren’t even dry before you wrestled him into a cactus patch and got nearly a thousand stickers in your–”
- When Ledger comes to talk to Sarah Jane, she says, “Did you come for another right hook in the kisser?”
- When his cousins continually attempt to help Ledger learn to scumble, they intentionally pelt him with shrapnel to see if he can control it.
- Sarah Jane gets hit by a fence that Ledger is scumbling. “The scratch wasn’t deep. Not even bleeding.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- On many occasions, characters “cuss” but the words they say are not described.
- When Ledger breaks the handle of a suitcase, he is “cussing as it broke loose.”
- When Ledger loses his temper, he lets, “a loud barrage of barnyard language rip. After a full minute of noisy cussing, I looked up realizing that the rest of the world had gone much too quiet.”
- A character yells “shut it” once.
- A character exclaims, “What in John Brown’s britches is going on here?”
- When a truck drives away from Rocket, he runs after it and Ledger could, “hear Rocket cuss as he tugged on the sticky door handle.”
- The word “crud” is used once.
- The majority of the characters have an inherited magical power called a savvy. The plot of the story revolves around the main character learning to control his power of manipulating metal.
- Dinah Kale, Ledger’s mom, can control people’s actions through her words and facial expressions.
- Ledger describes Wyoming as “still and silent as if the ghost of the Wild West outlaw the Sundance Kid had come back to haunt the place.”
- One of Ledger’s cousins, Samson, is invisible.
- A magical jar that captures music is played at the wedding.
- At Grandpa Bomba’s funeral, the Earth drastically shifts in remembrance of his life and savvy, which was the manipulation of Earth.
- Ledger questions his purpose and says, “Surely my Maker had had some plan when He put me together like this?
- In another instance, he asks, “Dear God, what had I been built to do.”
by Morgan Filgas