Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mock Printz (or Newbery): Savvy by Ingrid Law

Title: Savvy
Author: Ingrid Law
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780803733060
Review: PW

Plot: A savvy is a special gift that every member of Mibs (Mississippi) Beaumont's family gets on their 13th birthday. Everyone except Poppa, of course, because he married into the family. One of her brothers and control electricity and another can cause rain and wind to blow when he gets upset. This is why Mibs will be home schooled after her thirteenth birthday and Mibs is looking forward to it. She can't wait to have a great birthday with her perfect mother (her savvy is doing everything perfectly) and family, but a bad accident puts her beloved Poppa in the hospital the day before her birthday. Mibs is positive her savvy will be something that can help her Poppa. She believes so strongly that on her birthday she skips out of the party the preacher's wife organized for her and stows away on a bible seller's bus to get to her Poppa. One of her brother's and the preacher's children end up stowed away on the bus with her. In some fairly unbelievable plotting (but hey if you'll believe in savvys why not in weak adults), the kids convince the bus driver to keep them on the bus and not report back to either set of parents. It's a wild ride that covers almost two whole days because the driver can't miss any more appointments selling bibles, pink bibles. The ride includes: rescuing a waitress with a dead car, a confrontation with her nasty manager, seeing a passed out homeless man, a fake call home, an almost arrest by state troopers, and some secrets revealed...including Poppa does have a savvy of his very own.

A really cute fantasy that is perfect for the tween age. The main character is part of a family where all the members (except Poppa) has a savvy (a special gift for doing something special) – it should be noted that while many would call these talents magic, the author makes a point of the grandfather expressing that the family does not consider them magic or particularly different from 'regular' people. At it's heart, this book is about a girl finding something special in herself and confronting the fact that her parents are real people and invincible or perfect. Some of the dialect in the book grated on me a bit and a boy named Fish (no mention that it was a nickname) made me twitch, but the story held my interest and the ending satisfied me. A balance of happy ever after and reality. Some of the plotting may have stretch believability to the limit, but that is a small complaint about a really good story.

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