Review: Boys of Blur

25 Jun

18209370I heard about Boys of Blur on the Fuse #8 blog from School Library Journal about some books that the author (Elizabeth Bird) thought might be strong contenders for the Newbery Award for 2015.  A slight novel, with less than 200 pages, Boys of Blur, packed a punch.  With strong parallel themes to Beowulf this is a book that doesn’t stop from page one.  Set in Taper, Florida fires burn the sugarcane leaves and harvesters cut the sweet cane short.  But the boys and the farm laborers aren’t the only ones in the field.  There are forces at work surrounding the town that no one can explain and soon Charlie is in way over his head.  Charlie’s step-father grew up in Taper playing football like many of the boys in the area and when the beloved football coach dies, the family travels back to Taper to pay their respects.  Charlie has met a new-found cousin and after they get into a little bit of trouble, Charlie must choose between family ties and staying safe.

I really liked the strong characters in this novel, set in a world that is familiar, yet not.  In such a short book, the author does a great job of giving Charlie a fully formed history as well as creating strong secondary characters that help to explain more about Charlie’s past.  With the need for diverse books being a hot-button (and necessary) topic being discussed on Twitter, tumblr, on blogs and in conferences, this is a great book that has characters from diverse backgrounds without focusing on the fact that they are black, Hispanic, and biracial, which in my eyes, makes this book even better.  This is a quick read, I didn’t want to put it down and perfect for hot summer afternoons!

You’ve got to check out the book trailer for Boys of Blur  – I think it could definitely be used in place of (or part of) a booktalk – it’ll definitely make kids want to read it!  Learn more about author, N. D. Wilson by visiting his website.

Title: Boys of Blur
Author: N.D. Wilson
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publication Date: 2014
Page Number: 195 pgs.

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