Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley. 390 p. Dial Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Young Readers Group, August 29, 2017. 9780525428442. (Review from arc courtesy of publisher.)
Eerie legends and family curses. Twelve-year-old Blue Montgomery gets dumped in Murky Branch, Georgia (population: 340) by his race car-driving father. He doesn't even stay to say hello to Granny Evie; he just jumps back into his truck and takes off. Granny Evie takes Blue's appearance in stride but has to get over to the old age home where her mother, Ma Myrtle is causing a ruckus on the roof. It seems that Ma Myrtle now knows when her death date is and has decided to share the secret to finding Munch, the golden alligator responsible for the two hundred year old curse of the Montgomery and Wilson families. Now Montgomery kin are descending upon Granny Evie's house to curry favor with Ma Myrtle.
At the same time, Tumble Wilson moves with her family into a ramshackle home across the road. Tumble has just one desire: to become a hero in order to erase something. Her own hero is Maximal Star. She has read his book about being heroic and faithfully followed his advice only to fail repeatedly. She knows nothing about a curse, but thinks she can perhaps help Tumble overcome his. Only she gradually begins to feel she is cursed as well.
I was duly impressed by Ms. Beasley's debut, Circus Mirandus. Color me further impressed by her sophomore effort. Tumble and Blue is totally different but equally magical. Beasley's setting is vivid; her characters are unique, colorful and endearing and the friendship between Tumble and Blue is achingly real. The pace is leisurely, but with enough humor and mystery to keep readers engaged.
There's something I love about the square trim size. It's hefty and comfortable to hold. And what about that cover? Is it not the most gorgeous thing ever? A while back, EW posted a video of the making of the cover. Click here to view the painstaking process that led to one beautiful cover.
I cannot recommend this enough! I rarely reread books, but I would reread this.
Tumble and Blue is perfect for your thoughtful readers who are fans of magical realism or books about friendship.