Thursday, September 02, 2010

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Mississippi Beaumont, called Mibs, is something of an outcast at her school. Her entire family is blessed or afflicted with something called "Savvy". On their 13th birthday, they receive a magical talent that allows them to do something special, something magical, and their whole lives change.

But getting a Savvy doesn't necessarily mean you can control it, and that's why her family had to move from the coast to a place between Nebraska and Kansas, which they call, alternately, Nebraskas and Kansaska. Her brother Fish could manipulate water and made hurricanes.

And Mib's birthday is coming soon, but while she ends going to normal school, because she will soon be home-schooled by her mother to keep her away from the non-savvy people around her while she adjusts to having her savvy. Even though the other girls there tease her and hurt her feelings, when she gets home, there is worse news. Her father has been in a car accident and is in the hospital in a coma, and her mother must go to him, leaving Mibs and her brothers, and her little sister Gypsy, behind.

Unluckily for Mibs, the wife of the local preacher, Miss Rosemary, shows up at their house, offering to take care of Mibs, her brothers and sisters while her mother goes to the hospital to look after their Poppa. But Mibs doesn't want Miss Rosemary, her daughter Bobbi and her son Will Junior at her party. She wants her own perfect Momma and a perfect cake with sugar rosea and her entire family around her. Instead, she gets a big party up at the church with everyone from her former school invited.

That morning, she wakes up because Gypsy is doing something strange, and her brother Samson's pet turtle, who everyone thinks is dead, comes back to life. And then Mibs knows that her Savvy is something special after all- she can wake up her Daddy and make him come back to life again just like the pet turtle!

But when she and her brothers take off in the Bible delivery Van, Bobbi and Will Junior, the children of the local preacher, come with them, and Mibs finds a new side to her Savvy that she hadn't expected. She can also hear the thoughts of people through their tattoos or any facelike doodle drawn on their skin.

As the miles go past, and the delivery van drives opposite to where they want to go, it may be up to Mibs to figure out the secrets of those around her, to discover the truth of her feelings for Will Junior, and why he's Will Junior when the preacher isn't named Will. And if her savvy doesn't turn out to be bringing the dead back to life or people out of comas, can she ever save her Poppa?

I really enjoyed this book, even though it's meant for kids, it basically tells kids that what they believe about themselves might not necessarily be true, but it doesn't matter, because they can still triumph in the end.

And while not all kids may have the savvies of Mibs and her family, every kid has something they do well, which begs the question- what is the reader's savvy? What do they do so well that it can be considered their savvy? Do they do cartwheels really well? Are they really excellent readers? Figuring out what their savvy is might keep kids thinking long after they finish the book.

I found this an intriguing and heartwarming book, and I really enjoyed the story aspects. Mibs isn't just a victiim of her savvy, she ends up using it to make the lives of the people around her better, and she helps her older brother, Fish, to finally tame his savvy and get it under control. While she may still not be popular with everyone, she helps people and changes things for the better, and even if her Savvy isn't the strongly powerful savvy she wants to have, she still makes changes for the better. Recommended.

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