Customer Reviews: Savvy
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on May 4, 2008
The Beaumonts are a unique family made up truly talented individuals. As each kid hits the age of thirteen, his or her inherent power comes to light. They call this talent "savvy," and it can be anything. When a Beaumont celebrates that fateful, lucky thirteen, everyone waits with baited breath to see what happens. No matter what, a savvy is one birthday gift you can't return.

They don't know exactly where it comes from, but they do know that it runs down Momma's side of the family. Daddy's a regular guy, happy with his family and content with his job. Meanwhile, Momma's relatives can do all sorts of wacky things. Great-Aunt Jules would step back twenty minutes in time every time she sneezed. Olive, a second cousin, has the ability to melt ice with her glare. Grandpa Bomba creates new places "whenever and wherever" he pleases, such as the stretch of land stuck between Kansas and Nebraska where he lives with his daughter and their family. (They call it Kansaska or Nebransas.) His wife caught radio waves in old glass jars, saving snippets of songs and stories that she could tune into anytime. Now that she's passed away, the family is extremely careful with these containers and treasures the sounds they emit upon a gentle loosening of their lids.

Then there's the immediately family. Momma's perfect, always - that's her savvy. Oldest child Rocket, aged seventeen, is the body electric, able to illuminate rooms during a blackout or teasingly zap a sibling whenever he feels like it. Weather shakes the next oldest boy, fourteen-year-old Fish, whose emotional hurricane can manifest into a real storm. The youngest kids, somber seven-year-old Samson and imaginative three-year-old Gypsy, are years away from getting their savvies, but when the story opens, middle child Mississippi is about to turn thirteen.

Affectionately called Mibs by her family, a nickname created by Gypsy in an attempt to pronounce her sister's name, our beloved narrator is appropriately awkward for her age and anxious for her birthday. She knows something's coming, something good.

Then something bad happens. The night before her birthday, Mibs' father is in a car accident and taken to a hospital. Momma and Rocket rush off to tend to him, leaving the other children in the care of Grandpa Bomba. Instead of having a happy birthday at home, Mibs finds herself at a gathering planned by the pastor's wife, Miss Rosemary. Mibs and her siblings, already worried about their father, now worry that Mibs' savvy will make itself known in public.

When the birthday girl discovers that a Bible salesman's bus came from the direction of the hospital where her father is resting, she impulsively sneaks on board. The stowaway count increases when Fish and Samson decide to get on the bus, as do the pastor's offspring, defiant Bobbi (who has a crush on Rocket) and gentle Will Junior (who has a crush on Mibs).

The salesman starts down the road, oblivious to his new cargo, and Mibs goes from excited to scared in the blink of an eye. They're heading in the opposite direction, away from the hospital rather than towards it! Her savvy, which had presented itself only a short while before, starts playing with her mind, but she tries to keep it a secret.

Mibs looks around and realizes that she's on an unplanned road trip to who-knows-where with two of her brothers, one of whom barely speaks, a meek salesman named Lester that she doesn't know, and the pastor's kids. As unpredictable and unprecedented as the trip may be, one thing's for certain: Mibs will never forget her thirteenth birthday.

Ingrid Law infuses her sweet family-oriented story with mischief, creating a special effect. Whether or not they have special powers, each character is easily distinguishable from the others, including the grown-ups. It's almost as if the kids from the Maggie Valley books by Kerry Madden (Gentle's Holler, etc) were given the powers of the X-Men. The fact that the Beaumonts gain their powers at the age of thirteen is a perfect nod to their coming-of-age, and this book is a treat for all ages.

Savvy is, from start to finish, a delightful journey. This rite of passage is highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon May 16, 2008
i picked this book up by chance and bought it after reading the first 10 pages because i didn't want to put it down. Mibs (short for Mississippi) is a wonderful character who turns 13 in the beginning of the story. it is an important age for anyone but especially for the Beaumonts, who find out at 13 what their "savvy" is. her brother Rocket can create electricity. her brother Fish can make hurricanes. her grandfather can move mountains. now it's her turn.

but her father gets into an accident, turning everything upside down and sending them on an adventure that teaches them some hard life lessons.

it's a refreshing story about growing up, about being different, about listening to your voice instead of others around you to figure out who you are. i especially love the message that we shouldn't be in such a hurry to grow up.

the story moves along quickly and vividly due to Ingrid Law's use of language and illiteration:
"like the ticks and tocks of a clock"
"with a zest and a zing and a zeal"
"hurly-burly fluster of truth telling"

the ending is touching but believable, not syrupy or fantastical, which stories like this are in danger of doing. i sincerely hope she'll continue the story and write a series because this one book wasn't enough!
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on May 5, 2008
From the first delicious page, I was hooked. SAVVY is full of inspiring, delightful, loveable characters. SAVVY takes you on an amazing bus trip into laughter and magical excitement. I hope this book receives lots of industry buzz and awards because it's amazing and memorable. It's one of my favorite reads for 2008.

I can't wait to read more about these remarkable characters from this very "savvy" author. Excellent debut!
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on July 26, 2008
The idea behind Savvy is pitch-perfect: a family where the leap from childhood into the wild unknown of adulthood is even wilder and more unknown than usual. You hit adolescence in this family, and you acquire a "savvy" -- a mysterious, magical talent. A very specific, and often very strange one. (I loved the Grandma who could save radio broadcasts in canning jars.) The characters are charming and individual, the situations and dialog are why only three stars?

I don't think I've ever read a book where a young character stops more times to suddenly contemplate at heartfelt length that her life has changed, or that she's growing up, or that such-and-such a moment has some special meaning that she'll always remember and she'll never be the same. It bogs down the narrative terribly. Worse yet, it's unnecessary. We get it! It's a coming of age story! We understand why these moments are important, and we see the characters change and grow. But to be constantly told what we're seeing kills the suspension of disbelief, not to mention the light, funny rhythm of the storytelling. I hope this obviously talented writer will trust herself and her readers a little more next time around.
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on July 29, 2011
I liked SAVVY, I really did. It's a sweet coming of age story for a teen girl with a unique paranormal spin. Written in first person from the nearly 13 year old Mibs (short for Mississippi) Beaumont POV, her voice is down-to-earth and believable as she comes in to her own "savvy" or very special and unique power, that those in her family inherent on their 13 birthday. When tragedy strikes just days before Mibs is expected to come into her own, her true adventure begins and her world is changes for ever.

Now, although I enjoyed SAVVY, especially a couple of the plot twist near the end; there were some areas of concern I'd like to note. First off, author Ingrid Law's favor for repeating the same words three times, three times, three times... see how annoying that can become after a while? I get the use of repetition under certain "special" circumstances, which is fine, but the constant use of the repetition by the protagonist throughout the story even outside her savvy was driving me crazy. And second, even with SAVVY's strong premise, I have to admit I less then loved the excess of figurative language, finding the story overly and unnecessarily descriptive and wordy. For example...

"She sank to the floor, looking for all the world as if she were starting right through the checkered brown and blue linoleum to behold the burning hot lava core, at the very center of the earth." and "Her big hair flying up around her head, like a mane as though the angry cat was turning into a lion."

Overlooking those twitchy bits and syrupy descriptions, SAVVY is a good read, especially one I can see drawing the attention of female teen/pre-teen readers.
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on July 27, 2016
My son purchased this book with birthday money after reading the description. He started reading it today and came to me and said there was a lot of mention of "God", going to church and selling bibles. We aren't a Christian family, and while I don't feel this book is preaching to him, he wasn't happy to have purchased a Christian book. Just a heads up to others who would rather spend their money elsewhere.
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on January 24, 2016
Ingrid Law is a superb writer with a penchant for fun language and interesting characters. Her characters are magical, sort of, but mostly they are relateable. I read her books to my children, and Saavy is one of my favorite. This book made my daughter feel powerful, but it made me feel pensive. It made me think about words, both written and spoken and how magic or terrible they can be. It made me think of helplessness and loss. It's a wonderful book worth reading.
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on May 24, 2016
We LOVE Ingrid Law's books! My son and daughter just turned nine and can't put them down. Wonderfully inventive use of language, richly developed characters and stories that relate to real kids' lives--even though the characters develop wacky special powers upon their 13th birthdays. We hope Ingrid Law is busy writing right now and doesn't stop!
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on November 11, 2011
This is a fun quick read that I would say would be most appealing for 4th and 5th graders. The story is told through Mibs Beaumont, who comes from a family with special powers they refrer to as "savvy." The special "how-to" usually appears on the child's 13th birthday. Of course the savvy is powerful, and it takes time and effort for the kids to keep it in control. As a result, one of her brothers started an hurricane on accident, and another quite often causes power outages.

Right before her 13th birthday, Mibs' father is in a horrible accident. Most of the book is about the adventure she and two of her brothers go on trying to get to the hospital to see him. They make some questionable decisions, and luckily everything turns out alright.

The best part of this story is that it teaches simple lessons about the difference between what people show on the outside, and what they are on the inside. It is sweet and simple.
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on January 22, 2016
love love love this novel, and the woman reading this is wonderful! purchased for my granddaughters and they are thrilled with it. on our visit one girl kept sneaking into her room to listen and follow along with the book. now i'm listening (again) with younger girl. Ingrid Law's wording and imagining is FABULOUS.
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