Young Adult – Savvy

Mibs Beaumont is bracing herself to turn thirteen. Aside from all of the usual trials and tribulations of becoming a teenager, her family has a special reason for viewing their thirteenth birthday as both thrilling and terrifying: thirteenth birthdays are when Beaumont children first get their savvy, a special power. Her older brothers’ birthdays were marked by lightning, blackouts, and unexpected hurricanes. Mibs has no reason to believe that her birthday will be any less “exciting”.

But all thought of her birthday, her savvy, or any other consideration is driven out of Mibs’s head when her father is in a serious accident. Her mother leaves the children at home to go to the hospital. The next day, confident that she has come into her savvy, Mibs is convinced that she will be able to wake her father from his coma. She sneaks on board a bus heading towards the hospital, accidentally dragging her brothers and two kids from church as well. She’s so determined to get to the hospital and save her father, that she’s willing to overlook the possibility that her savvy might be something altogether different from what she expected. Then the bus turns left, instead of right, heading away from the city, away from the hosptial….

This was Ingrid Law’s first novel, and it is fantastic. The language is wonderful. Mibs’s words are expressive, with a subtle down-home country feel to them. The savvy’s of the Beaumont family are clever, and are not used as deus ex machina excuses. If anything, the book highlights the many ways in which having a special power is more of a hindrance than a help. Mibs’s growth, both into her savvy and into her coming adulthood, is handled well. The “listen to your own voice” message that is subtle throughout most of the book gets a bit heavyhanded in the final chapter, but it is a message many teens need to hear. All in all, an excellent book.

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