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Boys of Blur

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,227 Ratings  ·  296 Reviews
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 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 t
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2014)
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I like a kid’s book with ambition. It’s all well and good to write one about magic candy shops or goofy uncles or simpering unicorns or what have you. The world is big and there’s room for every possible conceivable type of book for our children you can imagine. But then you have the children’s book authors that aim higher. Let’s say one wants to write about zombies. Well, that’s easy enough. Zombies battling kids is pretty straightforward stuff. But imagine the chutzpah it would take to take th ...more
G.M. Burrow
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book blurs. My heart is still sprinting. N. D. Wilson’s new story of boys, brothers, swamps, stink, muck, and monsters grips from the get-go and never lets up. Ever. It is scary fast. I sat down to read it and a few hours later—done. A little dizzy, but done. Some of Nate’s best prose yet is crammed into this breathlessly exciting mystery-adventure that openly and happily shoplifts all the best stuff out of Beowulf and is (so far) definitely the easiest of his to translate into a movie: com ...more
May 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2014, ya
Boys of Blur (now there's a word) is well-written in parts, give it that, but the well-written parts cannot salvage the whole. It is, in fact, a mish-mash that some readers will be perplexed by. Is it a realistic novel? It certainly begins as one. Boy (Charlie) moves to a Florida town with Mom who has married a new man while the old one's still about. As said town (Taper) is step-dad's (Mack) hometown, he is cued up to become the new football coach, replacing the recently-passed Coach Wisdom.

Benji Martin
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So I just finished an under 200 page book filled with swamp muck, high school football, dead bodies, an abusive father, human appendages nailed to walls and an awful stench that makes you hate everyone and everything, and the only word in my head after finishing the last page was "Beautiful." Only N.D. Wilson can do that.
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I burned through this book--reading it the day it arrived. I've enjoyed every book Nate Wilson has written, so I knew I was in for treat. Boys of Blur exceeded my high expectations. A fantastic story with brilliant writing.
Valerie Kyriosity
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Back in the early '90s, Eugene H. Peterson was my pastor for about five minutes. (I was in the last group of folks to join Christ Our King Presbyterian Church before he left. I don't think correlation indicates causation...) Gene's son once told him, "You only have one sermon"—an observation that Gene didn't take as a compliment. Sometime later, the son moved away to another state and started looking for a new church there. After visiting one congregation for a while, he switched to another. Why ...more
Barnabas Piper
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good one

Wilson always delivers and this was no exception. I'm always amazed by the vivid imagination and fantastical worlds he creates. So enjoyable.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
By rights I should love this. Smart, complex middle grade fiction that defies genre classification! And yet: football.

I've always disliked football. I didn't realize how much that bled over into, say, fiction about football until I read Boys of Blur. It's not so much the football itself - well, it kind of is; the way football is used as a barometer for adulthood, or success, or being a good person. It rubs me the wrong way. It's an accurate reflection of life, but that's probably why it bothers
Hannah Jayne
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Glad I don’t live next to a Florida swamp.

(Also, wish I could write in italics, because that’s the only way speed should ever be said again.)
Brandon Miller
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book was a blur.
Emotions. Relationships. Really weird things happening that no one seemed to notice. (Seriously though, minor underreaction to the church thing.) Also football. Somehow that made it in there.
This book tricked me into feeling things I didn't want to feel. Anger. Envy. Condescension. Then is slapped me in the face with reality: those feelings lead to a logical conclusion. Sometimes it's brawling in the stands, sometimes it's Las Vegas (prayers for all affected), but those feel
So a few weeks ago, I made this comment: "I just don't like middle grade books."

I think someone Up There heard me and put this book in my path. Because BOYS OF BLUR is one of the best books I've read this year and quite possibly the best MG book I've read ever.

I make the comment all the time that there is a class of YA Fiction that I call "sophisticated". Sure, there are plenty of fluffy and fun YA books, but there seems to be this class of books that is expertly crafted, gorgeous, and un-put-d
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

have been a huge fan of N.D. Wilson's book since I read his first, Leepike Ridge. I pre-order his books as soon as I can and devour them all. I was so excited when I discovered he had a new stand alone, the first since Leepike Ridge, coming out this year. Then everyone else (who doesn't read their ARCs in order of publication date, or at least doesn't get as behind as I sometimes do) started singing its praises and my excitement and expe
Jan 10, 2015 rated it liked it
N.D. Wilson is an incredible writer- I would benefit from reading anything of his. That said, this Zombies-in-the-Swamp story was a little much for me. It must be a personal aversion- I'll take Orcs, Fangs, Witches, Goblins and Government-Workers any day, but Zombies fail to penetrate. But in this Wilson spoke true: Grace is greater than sin. And if there is any place in the south zombies are likely to show up, it's at the football game.
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I was like, Oh, okay. Interesting.
Then I was like, Wait, what?
and then, What in the world. This world?
Then, hahahahahaha too much.
Processing... processing...
Then, Okay, I think I get it now.
Much wow.
Oh, who survived?
Sudden ending.
Back to "real" life.


Reminded me a but of Frank Peretti. Like, it's real world, but then monsters and scary and spiritual stuff, but we're still on earth. Though it's a place with crocodiles and fiery sugar cane fields, so Becky can't relate a
Megan Lane
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't know. But I liked it. There was conflict and weirdness and sadness and forgiveness and anger and hate and love and friendship and family and basically all the necessary ingredients for a great story.
You should read it. It's weird. But it's great.
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Source: Received from publisher

N. D. Wilson consistently defies the expectations associated with middle-grade fantasy. In his latest book, The Boys of Blur, he immediately subverts the genre by introducing not just a main character with a stable, loving family but one who forms part of a racially mixed family. Moments like those, moments when you know the author cares about reaching his or her audience and meeting them wherever they are at, whatever walks of life they are are travelling, are wha
Joshua Whiting
My review, posted on

Taper, Florida is a town filled with history and muck, sugar cane fields and football fields. It is the home town of both Charlie’s stepfather and his estranged and abusive biological father, but Charlie is there for the first time in his life to attend the funeral of the legendary high school football coach with his stepfather. He is a little bit afraid to run across his biological father. Instead, with his newfound
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This book was fun, scary, and exciting. I stayed up late because I wanted to finish it~:-) Wilson's fiction comes across as unnecessarily dark to me. He believes in the light and in goodness and in right being strong...but he mentions good so infrequently compared to the time he gives evil. If a reader did not have a Christian worldview (or even a strong theology of God), I wonder if they would not recognize the hat tip Wilson gives to what is right and true. {Or, maybe, I am used to literature ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this book with my son, and while there are some interesting themes and plot, I thought some of the themes were too quickly introduced and not fully developed. For example, a great deal is made early on about Charlie's abusive father and excellent step-father, but I didn't think the the redemptive theme in either case was explored as well as it could have been. Moreover, the depiction of evil in this story did not take on for me a clear picture. I sensed more of a generic darkness than a s ...more
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Yet another triumph by one of my favorite authors. Will the awesomesauce ever end? I sure hope not. ND Wilson's writing is so rich. And I don't mean simply his allusions to ancient history or jabs at heavy British novels. Boys of Blur horrifically portrays the radical corruption of man- man is born to trouble as the Sparks fly upward. We die by living, and yet we live by dying. One, however, cannot truly grasp this author's cadence until he grasps The Author's creed.
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-aloud
Tighter, clearer, and (ironically) less breathless than his some of his more frenetic fiction-- this is good ND, including some of the best elements from his fantasies, but hearkening back to the neatness and readability showcased by Leepike.

Also (note to all) ND's writing is best read out loud.
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Can a book about fast boys and swamps and monsters be beautiful? Yes, and this is a beautiful book. The writing is amazing... and I lingered over every line.

This books makes me want to read Beowolf again. How many young adult books make you want to read Beowolf?

Love, love, love...

Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started and finished it in one day. Its absolutely that good. They way N.D. captures the ethos of a place while also weaving in so many literary references and sensory experiences; it boggles the mind.

I like the way Mr. Wilson sees the world and recreates the world and I love the people who live there.

Superb story. Powerful writing. Wonderful characters.
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
An impressive feat to fit such a complete story in less than 200 pages. There are full characters, well written bad guys, and some excellent channeling of Jim Wilson's booklet on how to be free from bitterness.
Josiah Brown
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book I read by N.D. Wilson, and I have to say that I was impressed and immediately drawn into it. It is a book packed with action and adventure, and has an awesome correspondence with Beowulf. I highly recommend this book!
Courtney Carlson
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I can imagine that those who read this book and haven't yet read Beowulf might find the story odd and a little violent - I have read Beowulf and I still found it odd and rather gory. As is usually the case with his writing, though, the book is clever, well-written, and a little verbose.
Review to come closer to release date.

But if you have a copy already in hand, READ. IT. NOW.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shaun Duke
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Admittedly, I don't get a lot of opportunities to review literature for kids. The occasional YA novel? Sure. Most of what I read for review, however, falls firmly within the "not marketed to kids" category (since "adult" means something else here). This review may expose some of my weaknesses when it comes to this particular field, as N.D. Wilson's Boys of Blur is certainly embedded in a tradition about which I am not as familiar as I should be. Regardless, I will tread honestly here in hopes th ...more
Sherry Guice
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I ordered this for 8th graders because of the diverse characters and horror theme. The book is very well-written with lyrical language. But, for the group I read with, it was confusing--multiple terms for the same idea, references to vague bits of folklore and/or horror lore. I think the students liked it. Not sure how I feel about reading it with vulnerable readers in the future.
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Henrico Youth Boo...: Boys of Blur 1 7 Oct 01, 2014 10:55AM  
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