Anyone who knows a thirteen year old boy will agree that Ingrid Law hits the nail on the head with her presentation of Ledger Kale in her latest novel. Ledger, like his cousin Mibs (from Savvy, reviewed October 8, 2010) has a “savvy” or special talent he cannot control. While his mother has a smile too convincing to resist, and his twin cousins can levitate objects, Ledger discovers on his thirteenth birthday that he can take apart metal objects. Unfortunately, Ledger’s emotions, not his reason, have influence over his savvy. Therefore, his parents decide he should spend the summer on his uncle’s ranch, where he can learn to “scumble” (channel) his newly acquired ability. Ledger finds this is easier said than done, when puppy love, family loyalty and an adolescent identity crisis toss his feelings from one extreme to the other.
While Law has created another entertaining fantasy story, Ledger’s struggle towards maturity is quite realistic. Torn between internal conflict and the desire to prove himself, Ledger learns to subdue his passions and use them to help the people he loves. Like any young teen, his poor judgment sometimes leads him to make the wrong decision. However, his intentions are good, and he consistently seeks to set things right. Ledger eventually concludes that he can put objects back together as well as destroy them. This realization gives him great self confidence and enables him to return to school with a plan for his future.
Jennifer Minicus is a former teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.