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Saturday, August 29, 2009

This Book's A Keeper - Savvy?

Turning 13 can be an adventure for anyone, but when you're part of the Beaumont clan, it's a

little more ... um, exciting ... than usual. When Rocket Beaumont hit 13, he created a crackling, lightbulb-popping electrical storm; with his brother, Fish, it was a swirling, whirling hurricane. Now, it's Mibs' turn to discover her "savvy" - will it be electricity, hurricanes or something less destructive, like her mother's perfect-in-every-way savvy? Whatever it is, one thing's for certain - no one outside the family can know about it. A Beaumont's 13th birthday is, and always has been, a very private affair.

Savvy by Ingrid Law begins two days before Mibs' big day. Even though Rocket insists that "Girls don't get the powerful jujubes," Mibs can't wait to see what she will get. She's excited, nervous and most of all, thrilled that she won't have to attend public school any longer. Since savvies can't always be controlled, she'll be homeschooled until she learns to "scumble" her powers. She can definitely do without a bunch of snotty kids reminding her what a freak show her family is. Mibs is delighted to spend her birthday at home in the midst of that very freak show - the people she loves the most.

When the Beaumonts receive an urgent phone call, all plans are thrown out the window. Poppa's been injured in a 10-car pileup on the freeway. Their beloved, non-savvy father lies in a coma at Salina Hope Hospital, 60 miles away. Momma and Rocket rush to Poppa's side, leaving Mibs, her grandpa, and 3 of her siblings, in the care of the preacher's wife. Miss Rosemary Meeks "had her own matching set of rights and wrongs - like suitcases she made other people carry - and she took it upon herself to make everything and everyone as shipshape and apple-pie as she felt the Lord had intended them to be" (17-18). Part of her plan includes a very public, 3-ring circus of a birthday party for Mibs. The birthday girl knows any crazy thing can happen - and it does. Before she realizes it, she's stowing away on a pink bus, convinced she can save her father with her new-found savvy. But, the bus is headed in the wrong direction; she's unexpectedly taken along a whole crowd of hostages; her savvy's not performing quite like it should; and Poppa's getting worse by the day. Despite all the magic inside her, Mibs has managed to get herself into the biggest pickle of her life. Is she savvy enough to get herself back out of it?

Savvy's gotten a lot of buzz in the book blogosphere; I, for one, think it's well-deserved. This quirky story charms from its colorful front cover, to its jacket flap plot summary, to the story itself, to Law's author bio. I loved this description:

Always on the hunt for her own savvy, Ingrid Law has dabbled in costume design, floral design, and fiber arts. She has sold shoes, worked in a bookstore, helped other people get jobs, and assembled boxes for frozen eggplant burgers. Today, she writes and imagines with her thirteen-year-old daughter in a lovely old mobile home called "Poppy," which they like to believe is a cross between a spaceship and a shoe box. They enjoy writing on its walls and painting on its ceiling, and have filled their home to the brim with wonderfl things like good books, fluffly pillows, a ukulele, and the aroma of baking muffins.

I tell you what, I've never wanted to live in a funky old mobile home more than I want to right now! Law's own charming brand of sorcery infuses her book with what can only be described as magic. Her characters are loveable, her story engaging, her writing bewitching. I adore Savvy, and can't wait for the sequel (coming Fall 2010).

Grade: A

If this were a movie, it would be rated: G


  1. I like Savvy too and have recommended it to a couple of people. I didnt know there was a sequel in the works.

  2. Wow, the cover is incredible

  3. Great review. It reminded me how good this book really is. Thanks.

  4. Agree with elnice: gorgeous cover. I adore books with teen/pre-teen protagonists. It's such a lovely reminder of the awkwardness of growing into your own skin.


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