Dial, Aug 24 2010, $16.99
When he turns thirteen, Ledger Kale inherits his genetic Savvy, but hates the feeling of what he describes as red ants running wild in his blood. He especially is ashamed because he cannot control his Savvy unlike his family including his older cousin Mibs (see Savvy); his power leads to destruction of human created objects.
Fearing for their son (and society), who has not learned how to Scumble his Savvy, his parents leave Ledge and their younger daughter seven year old Fedora at the remote Wyoming insect ranch of Uncle Autry. Also staying at Flying Cattleheart Ranch are several of Ledge’s cousins. Complicating the situation is thirteen year old Sarah Jane Cabot, snooping wannabe reporter who sees exposé articles on the strange extended family at the ranch. At the same time her businessman father sets out to take ownership of local establishments including Autry’s ranch. Ledge knows life at the ranch is at least as complicated as back home.
This is a terrific whimsical coming of age tale that targets middle school readers (and my spouse) with its insectoid humor, but will be enjoyed by adults as a strong metaphoric novel as well. Filled with a conscience and guilt, Ledge is a fabulous narrator whether he discusses with readers the plight of destroying his father’s nose trimmer, spilling his guts to feed carnivores, or the quandary caused by the snoop queen. The support cast at the ranch also brings humor to the mix. However, this is Ledge’s saga as he struggles with the change from tweener to adolescence causing him emotional stress and physical imbalance; all because his Savvy has surfaced out of Scumble control.