The Rambling

304p. HarperCollins/Harper. Mar. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062498786.
Gr 4–7—Buddy Pennington is downright unlucky. He's been kicked out of school, has ruined the Potter's entire inventory, and now he's set fire to his mother's bakery. All of these were accidents, of course; he can't help that he's so unlucky, especially when his father is the luckiest man around. Buddy decides then and there to set off on a journey to find his dad and try to change his luck. As soon as they are reunited, though, some thugs sent by Boss Authority snatch Pop in the middle of the night, setting Buddy on a new adventure to find and free him. Along the way, Buddy is helped and hindered by those he meets. It seems like everyone wants to get a hold of his father's rare, magic Parsnit card deck and turn him over to Boss Authority for a reward—some even want to steal his blood. The Rambling is all action from the get-go. Buddy's journey to save his dad brings him further and further down the river into swamp country, where the magic hangs in the air like a fog and the things he used to think of as legend turn out to be true while things he thought he knew about his father are false. Buddy will have to decide whether he can forgive his father for the bad things he has done, or if he will follow his mother's example and turn his back on him.
VERDICT Give this to fans of Garth Nix's Have Sword, Will Travel and Gail Carson Levine's Frogkisser or Ella Enchanted.

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