April 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley | SLJ Review

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redstarBEASLEY, Cassie. Tumble & Blue. 400p. Dial. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525428442.

Gr 4-6 –An immersive, supernatural middle grade adventure. Hear the whispers of long-kept family secrets in shadowed corners. Feel the humidity of a languid Georgia summer. Beasley, author of Circus Mirandus, weaves the tale of two tweens spending the summer looking for the way out of an ancestral curse. In 1817, 12-year-old Blue Montgomery’s forebear Walcott (a fugitive horse thief) and Tumble Wilson’s ancestor Almira (a “murderous young bride”) were forced—by violence—to split the mysterious gift of changing one’s fate, which they obtained from the fabled golden gator, deep in the Okefenokee Swamp at the rising of a bloodred moon. Both sought to escape the consequences of their crimes, but legend says that the golden gator’s gift is meant for only one. “Those are the rules, and they can be terribly sharp when broken.” Ever after, subsequent generations in both families were struck indiscriminately with either good or bad luck. A chance to fight the gator for his gift comes only once every 100 years when the moon runs red. Now, as the time draws near again two centuries later, Tumble and Blue must reverse the curse if there’s to be any hope of normal lives for them both. Beasley’s shimmering prose pulls readers in, line by line, like a fish dragging on a hook through swampy waters. The lush setting and lustrous portrayal of the characters will captivate even the most reluctant reader. VERDICT Middle graders will delight in the richly drawn world and history that Beasley creates. A first purchase for most collections.–Chelsea Woods, New Brunswick Free Public Library, NJ

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2017 issue.

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