Delacorte Books for Young Readers
August 4, 2015
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From the author of the acclaimed bestseller "Holes, " winner of the Newbery Award and the National Book Award, comes a new middle-grade novel with universal appeal. Combining horror-movie suspense with the issues of friendship, bullying, and the possibility of ecological disaster, this novel will intrigue, surprise, and inspire readers and compel them to think twice about how they treat others as well as their environment.Fuzzy Mud is such a fun read. It really does a great job dealing with the friendship and social issues unique to middle school. Tamaya is sweet and you like her quickly, but can also understand Marshall's (two years older, in seventh grade) conflict over walking with her.
"Be careful. Your next step may be your last."
Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodbridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Wilson challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya reluctantly follows. They soon get lost, and they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined.
In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.
I liked Marshall's character, too. He doesn't want to be ignored, but he also doesn't want attention like that which bully Chad is paying him. Even as he doesn't want the responsibility of walking Tamaya home, he isn't able to forget it, either.
This sin't only a novel of friendship, middle school social conflicts and bullies, though. Interspersed with their walk home through the woods are more science-y bits. As we discover more of that story line, we realize how much danger the kids may be in. Sachar does a great job with this information. Some parts take place months after Marshall and Tamaya venture into the woods and give just he right amount of foreshadowing, teasing at the danger they are in, but without revealing too much.
The way the story is told is great. It connects readers with the characters and lets them know (sooner than the characters) what they're up against, really building the suspense. In some ways, Fuzzy Mud made me think of Parasite, though for a younger audience.
It is an enjoyable tale with well done characters that will leave you with something to think about (and perhaps, even, worry/fear).
digital copy received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley