Boys of Blur

Boys of Blur

eBook - 2014
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Fans of Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee and Louis Sachar's Holes will enjoy this story about a boy and the ancient secrets that hide deep in the heart of the Florida everglades near a place called Muck City. When Charlie moves from Palm Beach 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. Dodging flames and blades and breathing smoke, they run down the rabbits for three dollars a skin. And when they can do that, running a football is easy. 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 Herman "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.
Publisher: © 2014.
New York :, Random House,, [2014]
Copyright Date: © 2014.
ISBN: 9780449816752
0449816753
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Summary: Fans of Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee and Louis Sachar's Holes will enjoy this story about a boy and the ancient secrets that hide deep in the heart of the Florida everglades near a place called Muck City. When Charlie moves from Palm Beach 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. Dodging flames and blades and breathing smoke, they run down the rabbits for three dollars a skin. And when they can do that, running a football is easy. 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 Herman "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.

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JCLChrisK Jan 19, 2016

Muck. Murk. Haze. Blur.

It's hard to consider this book without those words springing to mind. Much of the story takes place in the muck of Florida swampland; in a murky nighttime world where the dead come back to life; covered in a haze of smoke from burning sugarcane fields and confused by a mental haze of hate brought by the presence of the attacking dead; and in a blurred rush of ever escalating tension in a deadly race against time.

And while Wilson is a wonderful writer with some deft descriptions, I felt the story moved at such a rush that my ability to engage it became blurred, that so many elements were drawn into such a quick story that characters and their world felt murkier and hazier than I would have liked. This is a lean tale, with the characters dashing from one situation to the next with no time for introspection. Deep roots of setting and culture, myth and legend, history and emotional baggage are hinted at by their tips sticking out of the muck, never fully revealed or explored. As someone who moves at a slower pace and enjoys reflecting deeply, I would have enjoyed something with a little more meat on its bones.

For those who like their stories light-footed and full of adrenaline, this should be a treat. Included in the mix: football; farming; family; swamp life; race relations; zombies; Beowulf; Voodoo; panthers; and poison. Racing rabbits through burning fields while avoiding snakes and alligators is just the start--things get much more exciting and dangerous from there.

m
Miss_Jenn
Nov 26, 2014

The Boys of Blur is a short read. It's a ghost story of sorts about a small town in Florida that is football crazy. It's a good thing, too, as some of the best runners come from this town in Florida. Boys "train" in the sugar cane fields. They run down the rabbits for $5 a hide during the burning of the cane. They run fast, or suffer the consequences.
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But there's something else in the sugar cane fields. Something that is linked to the ancient mounds that pepper the fields. Boys are disappearing and the Grens and Stanks are on the rise.
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This is what I would call a "boy book" but I enjoyed it (and I'm a girl!). Football is only part of the story. Mostly, it's a ghost story and a mystery. The language is lyrical. It just begs to be a family read-aloud (for households with older children). Maybe one that dad, step-dad, grandpa, uncle or your favorite guy would like to read out loud?
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Here's a book trailer from the publisher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj2nkcGBU34

c
Chickenzilla
Sep 16, 2014

N. D. WILSON IS THE BEST!!!! This book is slightly creepy, but it's still pretty cool! It has all the elements I've come to expect from N. D. Wilson, vivid, poetical descriptions, lots of colorful characters with unique, and well-developed relationships, and a storyline that gives you the chills. Also, he sorta based it on Beowulf. I love his writing style, but I felt like the story was too short. Wilson could have added another 50 pages, and the story would have been much better. If you want to see him at his finest, read the Ashtown Burials series.

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JCLChrisK Jan 19, 2016

She blinked, pressed a towel against her face, and went to wake her son.

Charlie's shins and knees were smeared with dirt and grass. The arms of his sweatshirt were much worse--filthy from elbow to wrist. And he stank. The whole room smelled like horse. Or something less . . . alive.

Natalie bit her lip and leaned back against the doorjamb. She couldn't stop a smile. All in all, Charlie looked like a boy who had been having himself some fun.

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