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Boys of Blur Paperback – July 28, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Charlie's in foreign territory when his stepfather brings the family back to Taper, FL, to attend the funeral of his high school football coach. Charlie immediately finds himself adopted as a cousin by a relative of his stepfather and, almost as quickly, caught up in the strange customs and eldritch history of the football-obsessed towns that surround the sugarcane fields. Wilson has invented timeless creatures embodying good and evil. A mysterious and terrifying "Mother" reanimates the recent dead, turning them into "Gren"—repellent, odiferous beings that pursue the boys through the muck, canals, and cane fields. The presence of Gren causes humans to think hateful thoughts. On the side of goodness, there's an odd, ghostly man wearing a helmet and wielding a rusty sword and Mother Wisdom, the football coach's widow who has magical healing powers. Additional layers of complications are provided by the appearance of Charlie's own father who'd abused Charlie and his mother before their divorce. There is also a half-brother Charlie never knew existed. Mixed in with the family drama and supernatural elements is some football. The atmosphere Wilson creates is darkly compelling, and the writing is poetic. The mythology, however, is more a net of allusions than a fully formed cosmology. Several references to Beowulf are made throughout the text, though how it directly relates to this contemporary story is unclear. Lyrical language, literary connections, and shifting points of view may leave the intended audience unwilling to wade through the muck with Charlie.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
*Starred Review* In Taper, Florida, football runs through the town’s veins like children through the sugarcane fields—fast as the rabbits they’re chasing. When Coach Wiz dies, 12-year-old Charlie Reynolds and his family travel to Taper for the funeral, and Charlie feels the tug of the land beneath his feet. He and his cousin Cotton take off through the cane until they reach a mound rising between the fields and outlying swampland, topped with a chalk stone, a dead snake, and a mysterious man wearing a helmet and carrying a rusty sword. In the swamp, a mystical sense pervades, and the boys learn of an ancient, evil tribe threatening the town and what they must do to keep it in check. Wilson brings the stuff of folklore to life in this novel, as elements of Beowulf, voodoo, and zombie mythos combine with the everyday to fantastic effect. The story moves at heart-pounding speeds, furthered by magic and mystery and rooted in ideas of familial bonds and self-discovery. In the end, it is a tale of one boy’s daring quest to save his family and to learn what it means to fly. Grades 3-6. --Julia Smith --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I loved it. My little ones are not ready for this one, but someday they will be.
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One for all readers who want a good one.