ARC Review: Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Fuzzy Mud, by Louis Sachar
Publication: August 4, 2015, by Delacorte Press
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction, Science Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Source: BEA/Publisher

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodbridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Wilson challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya reluctantly follows. They soon get lost, and they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined. In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world. 

My Thoughts:

Get ready for Louis Sachar to blow your minds. Who cares that this is classified as middle grade fiction with fifth and seventh graders as the protagonists? This novel is just as mature and filled with a broad, thought-provoking subject matter than any other read, and even if you're not a huge fan of books that speak of the environment and all of that, you'll get a huge thrill from reading Fuzzy Mud. The title captivated me from the start!

Fuzzy Mud? was what I once thought after grabbing a copy of this at BEA. I knew that I've seen the name of the author somewhere, though I wasn't so sure about what other books he has written. After picking it up because it's a total short read that I can read in an hour or so, I looked up Louis Sachar on Goodreads and found that he had written There's a Boy in the Girls Washroom, which I read in the fourth grade! I never knew that Holes was by him too until I actually scanned the cover. By then I figured that this would be something that I'd really enjoy, and I was definitely right. 

I once thought...
Written through the perspective of young Tamaya as well as seventh grader Marshall, alongside some documents and conversations with the creators of the infesting-epidemic-causing bacteria that ruined everyone's lives, this doesn't seem like a whole middle-grade book. There's so many things found here that everyone, young or old, can find to enjoy through the heart-racing writing and mystery incorporated in a small amount of pages for young adults to devour. What is this about, you ask? The fuzzy mud, from how Tamaya describes it as. 

At first, I thought the title was the oddest thing ever, but it definitely made sense. Why did the author have to make up some distinctive intelligent title for the infesting bacteria that young people are going to read about? That's definitely confusing. And it all begins with Tamaya and Marshall taking a shortcut home because a bully threatens Marshall to a fight. They find themselves becoming lost, and discover so much in the dark woods that no one has ever even seen before, which saves the world from a worldwide epidemic.

A thousand props and high-fives to Tamaya and Marshall. They're the perfect protagonists, both with a 2 year age difference which makes things so much more unique. When you think about it, these guys saved the world from something that's practically unstoppable, all because they decided to pick up the fuzzy mud and see the rashes occur. And then when *won't spoil* the bully gets lost as well and they go back for him, this makes the story action-packed times a hundred percent more. You'd think that kids can't be unstoppable and show kick-assness in their actions, but Tamaya and Marshall did, certainly. 

As you can tell, I love Sachar's characters. They're utterly brilliant, and being placed in a super-prep "smart school" makes the story so much more believable. Yes, it's dystopian mixed with science-fiction, but these kinds of things can surely happen when you least expect it, and the author delivers a message of fate and expecting the unexpected because that can shatter lives and emotions of others completely. Imagine these kids in real modern society today: they'd be praised forever and ever. Tamaya once mentioned that she'd want to be written about in the history books, and indeed she did something remarkable that others would speak of for ages. Stories are supposed to highlight remarkable individuals who can be spoken about one day in modern society, and that totally occurred with this novel.

Sachar totally knows what he's writing about, and the premise of the novel surely is something to remember. His writing fit right in with the rest of the literary elements that a book needs, and it's totally fast-paced. This seems like such a dark novel that you'll have to read with all of the lights on, but it's actually more realistic than you'd expect. No monsters involved, I promise you. No romance, either. Don't worry, we won't have a little-kid elementary relationship between the protagonists who save the day. There is a lot of friendship involved, which got my feels to kick in by the end. 

But I only felt like tearing up by the end. I hadn't been shaking, but I was addicted to reading this story, which is my main highlight of its awesomeness. Only if this made me smile while reading by some nice life statement, but there weren't any memorable mentionable quotes, either. I guess you'll have to find some nice phrases and words for yourself. *smiles thinly*

This is one of those stories that will stay with you forever, even if you don't remember the names of the characters or the town, which was Heath Cliff, I'm pretty sure. The writing is absolutely intriguing and different for a middle-grade novel. Keep in mind that there'll be tweaks of science-fiction, which everyone can enjoy as they wonder what'll happen to our world one day. If I ever see a puddle of fuzzy mud somewhere one day, thanks to this great read, I now know what to do in the freaky situation. (But this isn't a survival guide, I promise.)

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

What are some nice middle-grade science-fiction reads? By science-fiction, I don't mean Star Wars, sorry. :)

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