Posted in 2014-2015 Club, Not Mock Newbery

Boys of Blur, by N.D. Wilson

Boys of BlurSummary:  When Charlie moves to the small town of Taper, Florida, he discovers a different world. Pinned between the everglades and the swampy banks of Lake Okeechobee, the small town produces sugar cane . . . and the fastest runners in the country. Kids chase muck rabbits in the fields while the cane is being burned and harvested.  But there are things in the swamp, roaming the cane at night, that cannot be explained, and they seem connected to sprawling mounds older than the swamps. Together with his step-second cousin “Cotton” Mack, the fastest boy on the muck, Charlie hunts secrets in the glades and on the muck flats where the cane grows secrets as old as the soft earth, secrets that haunted, tripped, and trapped the original native tribes, ensnared conquistadors, and buried runaway slaves. Secrets only the muck knows.

Random House



3 thoughts on “Boys of Blur, by N.D. Wilson

  1. This book is magical realism, and I’ll admit, I don’t normally enjoy reading this type of book. However, Boys of Blur is definitely an exception to that. The magic felt well-explained (at least as well-explained as magic can be) and the magic didn’t distract from the more realistic parts of the book. This book packed a lot of action and depth into a relatively short amount of pages, but at the same time it didn’t feel rushed. The idea was original and interesting and the characters were relatable.
    The writing style would have to be my favorite part of this book. Although it’s very realistic in the first quarter of the book, it starts to get pretty scary once the Gren enter into the plot, and the writing style reflects that. In a couple parts of the book, I got really creeped out, but in a good way. The plot is almost horror-like, but with a much deeper storyline than some horror books I’ve read.
    I really enjoyed this book and I think it may be a Mock Newbery contender.

    1. This book was one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. Now typically I don’t like to read books with things like the Gren in it, I’m more of a sports book, and realistic fiction type of person but this book incorporated magic and zombie type things into normal life so well, it made it seem that if you moved to Taper you could see the Gren. The characters were good. They were deep, take Sugar for example. He knew that Charlie was his half-brother but hated him because Sugar thought that Charlie and his mom had taken his dad from him. The style of writing was really good, incorporating magic into real life so well. I agree with Olivia, the plot was horror-like but it wasn’t too scary. I agree this is definitely a Mock Newbery contender.

  2. I always start magical realism books and love the captivating writing style, and mostly enjoy the plot. I connect to the characters and usually want to read on…until suddenly ghosts show up, people develop magical powers, or my least favorite of all, zombies start trying to eat people. Although the Gren in Boys of Blur are not your typical zombies, I have the same problem with them in this book than I have in others. In essence, I find it really hard to connect with a book when such strange things are distracting me from what I want to focus on. I do admit that this book had great potential to be an entirely distinguished book with its links to Beowulf, exciting chases, well developed setting, relatable family issues, and uniquely delivered theme. However to me it felt like the author had a lot of a amazing ideas, but didn’t take enough time to weave them all in. The writing style was supposed to be an imitation of Beowulf’s I think, and initially, this was really beautiful to read, but because it was so fast moving, I occasionally wished for something deeper and clearer. This brings me to my confusion on the age group this book was meant for. I am fourteen and I wished this book had more details and less action so perhaps it was meant for younger ages like the cover says, but then I doubt fifth through seventh graders would really appreciate all of the deeper meaning that there was. Its genre however, would appeal to many audiences, but as for the age group I don’t know if the author was focused enough in selected his audience. I do like how the author described the town of Taper and the small town feeling he incorporated through the sugar field racing, and the football games. The setting was the strongest criteria and it made the story better than the average magical realism and added depth with the history of the town. I don’t usually like reading books with any focus on sports, but the author made football serve an actual purpose in the book and I loved the history of the coaches and the football expectations Charlie had to fill. That one scene with him catching that football really added a finished feeling to the creation of the Taper culture. However, to me the book didn’t feel solid enough for me to really appreciate and their are other books that I personally have an easier time calling distinguished. For example, when comparing the gren in Boys of Blur with the night gardener in the Night Gardener, the similarities being they both are meant to scare, they both want to eat/kill you and they both feed off greed, I felt a mysterious attraction to the night gardener, was more scared by the night gardener, the night gardener had more history involved with it, and the night gardener was a better illustration of the theme than the gren. Simply comparing the bad guys in these two books, I find that the Night Gardener is more distinguished then Boys of Blur. I would recommend each book to people looking for partly frightening, partly deep books with relatable characters and fascinating settings, but will not nominate this as my winner.

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