cover image Tumble & Blue

Tumble & Blue

Cassie Beasley. Dial, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-525-42844-2

For generations, members of the Montgomery family have received supernatural “fates” that rule their lives; some are wonderful, such as a powerful affinity for animals, while others are not, such as one’s husbands always dying. Blue Montgomery fits into the latter category: his fate is that he is cursed to always lose, no matter the situation. After his father leaves him at his grandmother’s house in Murky Branch, Ga., for the summer, Blue is determined to break the curse, even if it means venturing into the Okefenokee Swamp to find a fabled golden alligator named Munch. Eleven-year-old Tumble Wilson, new to Murky Branch and obsessed with being a hero, is immediately drawn to Blue and his bad luck, and she makes it her mission to help him. In their quest to alter Blue’s fate, he and Tumble learn that their families are inextricably linked, and that the line between a gift and a curse is easily blurred. Interludes from the wise and intimidating Munch keep the supernatural aspects of the novel at the forefront of readers’ minds, while Tumble and Blue muddle through issues of abandonment, failure, grief, and loss. Blue’s extended family, many of whom have also traveled to Murky Branch for a chance to change their own fates, creates a vibrant ensemble. Granny Eve is particularly noteworthy; her dedication to her family leaves a lasting mark on Blue, whose father is distracted at best and absent at worst. A tender message about sacrifice—for loved ones and the greater good—underlies this magical story of fate and family. Ages 8–12. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Aug.)