Two friends, both seemingly cursed, join forces to alter their destinies.
Blue Montgomery, a 12-year-old white boy, has a lifelong history of losing at everything he tries. It runs in the family: half the Montgomerys suffer some sort of curse. When Blue’s father unexpectedly abandons him in Murky Branch, Georgia, to stay with Granny Eve, Blue’s devastated. Then Tumble Wilson, also 12 and white but a girl, moves to town. Harboring a secret and obsessed with her hero, Maximal Star, and his book, How to Hero Every Day, Tumble rescues people with disastrous results. When Tumble learns about Blue’s losing curse, she tries to prove he can be a winner even as he staunchly defends her hero status. As the 100-year red moon appears and every cursed Montgomery hopes to be the one who, according to family legend, will “travel into the swamp and claim a great new fate” from an alligator named Munch, Blue and Tumble bravely head into the swamp to change everything. Oozing magical realism, the plot alternates between pessimistic Blue and optimistic Tumble with occasional dark humor from Munch. With their assorted curses, Blue’s highly eccentric family members add local color and diversion. Black-and-white spot art reinforces the swamp setting.
An original, highly engaging story about the power of friendship, family curses and blessings—and what it means to be a hero. (Magical realism. 8-12)