I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Boys of Blur by N. D. Wilson
Published by Random House LLC on 2014-04-08
Genres: Action & Adventure, Boys & Men, Legends, Myths, Fables, Young Adult
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Fans of Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee and Louis Sachar's Holes will enjoy this story about a boy and the ancient secrets that hide deep in the heart of the Florida everglades near a place called Muck City.When Charlie moves from Palm Beach to the small town of Taper, Florida, he discovers a different world. Pinned between the everglades and the swampy banks of Lake Okeechobee, the small town produces sugar cane . . . and the fastest runners in the country. Kids chase muck rabbits in the fields while the cane is being burned and harvested. Dodging flames and blades and breathing smoke, they run down the rabbits for three dollars a skin. And when they can do that, running a football is easy. But there are things in the swamp, roaming the cane at night, that cannot be explained, and they seem connected to sprawling mounds older than the swamps. Together with his step-second cousin Herman
It’s really hard for me to turn down a book that’s got comparisons to Holes and Maniac Magee, those were kind of the books that defined middle school for me. Boys Of Blur by ND Wilson was not quite the page turner I was expecting but it was one of those books that as I was reading it, I could see how well done the book is. Wilson’s latest book, Boys Of Blur, has quite the interesting style and setting and is one that, although I did not fall in love with it, I feel perfectly comfortable recommending it to others.
Charlie is in Taper, Florida with his mother named Natalie, stepdad named Mack and baby sister, Molly for the funeral of Mack’s former football coach. Mack has made it pretty big in the NFL. It’s then that Mack announces he has been invited to coach the Taper team and is considering coming back. So, Charlie stays with Mack and gets to meet this kid, Cotton, who is home schooled and kind of weird, but also his cousin. And also he meets this boy named Sugar who is on the football team and kind of mean. Charlie’s not too sure about staying in Taper, but Mack says it’s just until the season is over and then they can make a more final decision. What Charlie doesn’t know is that secrets run deep in Taper. It’s a land where boys have speed, I mean, they are really, really fast. It’s a place where they grow sugar cane and boys chase rabbits to skin for money. There’s something lurking in the muck and Charlie’s about to find out what it is.
I did not entirely connect with Charlie, but I will say that he is a character that is well drawn. The main character of Boys Of Blur by ND Wilson kind of feels vulnerable in the beginning. It’s like he’s this quiet kid who goes along with what other people say, even when like his cousin Cotton leads him into the muck and they come across this mysterious old man with a helmet and a sword. I liked that we got to read about Charlie’s exploration of masculinity — not like in a gross way like puberty, but in a way that he learns about things like courage and loyalty and football. I also enjoyed reading about how Charlie thinks about his relationship to both of his fathers, both his biological father and his stepfather. Also, what it means to be a brother and a cousin. His character really does a good job exploring themes that I don’t often think about.
A word to the wise, things get a little freaky in Boys Of Blur. There are definitely weird fantasy elements, but roll with it. The mythology in the book is interesting. I think that it’s supposed to be kind of like Beowulf, but I wouldn’t know, I zoned out while listening to the Beowulf audiobook. Anyways, Wilson does a great job mixing setting and mythology. I’ll admit, I expected to get through this book in like two hours and it took me about three days. It wasn’t one of those books I immediately gel with. However, now that I have finished it, I don’t feel any sort of regret about reading it. The setting and the mythology are really, really well done that I am glad I read this book even though I didn’t love it. Also, bonus, Wilson includes characters of color in such a natural and organic way and I totally thought that was awesome.