Author Louis Sachar, famous for HOLES, is back with a new release called FUZZY MUD.
Tamaya and Marshall attend Woodridge Academy. Tamaya is in fifth grade and her mother insists that she not walk to and from school alone. Since Marshall, a seventh grader, lives nearby, he is Tamaya's companion twice a day. Years have gone by uneventfully, but that is about to change.
Marshall is the victim of school bully Chad Hilligas. When Chad threatens to beat Marshall up on the way home, Marshall insists he and Tamaya take what he calls a "shortcut." The supposed shortcut takes the two through the woods and makes Tamaya very uncomfortable.
The two soon become separated in the dense woods. Sure that she has heard Chad following closely, Tamaya trips in her rush to escape. She feels her hand sink into something she describes as "fuzzy mud." When she hears footsteps coming closer, she clutches a handful and flings it at the noise. The mud hits Chad full in the face allowing Tamaya to make her escape.
Overnight Tamaya's hand develops an unusual rash which develops into bleeding blisters. The condition worsens throughout the next day, and she begins to wonder what happened to Chad. That worry deepens when it is announced at school that Chad has been reported missing. After that the plot (and the mud) thickens.
This frightening tale is perfect for middle grade readers. Many of them may have not even heard of HOLES or Sachar's other books, but FUZZY MUD is sure to earn fans who can then be pointed in the direction of his earlier books.
Previously posted at readingjunky.blogspot.com