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  • Savvy
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72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
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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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
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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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
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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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2008
Gold Star Award Winner!

This was a really fun book to read.

Mississippi, aka Mibs, and her family each get a magical gift, called a savvy, on their thirteenth birthday. Rocket, Mibs's brother, has the savvy of being able to control electricity. He is a lot like those comic book heroes, good-looking with electric sparks coming off of his hands. At thirteen, her other brother, Fish, found out that he can control weather, especially causing water storms. So at thirteen the kids become homeschooled and have to learn how to control their special abilities.

When the story opens, Mibs is two days away from turning thirteen herself. She is excited about her special birthday when her father is in a horrible twelve-car accident on the highway. He ends up in a coma in a hospital in Salina, Kansas.

When she gets her savvy, she is being taken care of by the minister's wife and all she can think of is how to get to her Poppa. Mibs, Fish, her little brother, Samson, and two of the minister's kids run away to find Poppa. SAVVY is the story of their adventures crossing Nebraska and Kansas, trying to control savvys, which is called scumbling, learning to see the good in people, and, of course, the courage it takes to act on your ideals and love.

I loved the writing in this book. The author uses a lot of figurative language. Besides metaphor and simile, Ingrid Law also uses a lot of alliteration in the telling of the story. Phrases such as pushing-pulling waves, itch and scritch of birthday buzz, or how about a gaggle of flat-footed goslings. It was remarkable how the author could use language to make this story even better than it already was.

So if you want to read a really good story about growing up or if you just love the sound of language, then this is the book for you. Have a really rad read!

Reviewed by: Marta Morrison
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2008
Mississippi Beaumont can't wait for her 13th birthday, only days away, because that's when she'll officially get her savvy. All the Beaumont's, except Poppa, have a savvy that is uniquely their own. Mama is perfect, Grandpa Bomba makes new land, Rocket controls electricity and Fish can create storms and move water. Trouble is, the savvy is hard to control when it first comes in, and Mississippi, better known as Mibs, is nervous about what will happen at her party.

When her dad ends up in a coma in the hospital after a car accident and her mother leaves the family to be with him, the preacher's wife organizes a birthday party for Mibs, making all the Beaumonts nervous about what will happen on the big day. But the fun really starts when Mibs decides to stow away on a broken down Bible-delivery bus, hoping to reach Salina, Kansas, where she believes she can wake Poppa up. Along for the ride are her older brother Fish, her younger brother Samson, and the preacher's children, Bobbi and Will Junior.

Mibs has a great, down-to-earth voice, and readers will happily follow her as she explores issues of family, friendship, budding romance, and finding the things that are special inside each of us. You may just find yourself looking for your own special savvy. You can also look for games and a discussion guide at the publisher's Web site, [...].
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2008
Mississippi Beaumont's family members always turn thirteen with a bang. That's when their unpredictable (and usually uncontrollable) "savvy" kicks in. One brother makes electricity, another makes hurricanes. But on the day before Mibs's thirteenth birthday, when Mibs' Poppa is injured in a serious car crash, Mibs' impending savvy is all but forgotten. It's going to take more than a savvy superpower to get to Poppa's hospital in Salina, Kansas, 90 miles away, but with the help of windstorms, talking tattoos, a pink bible-selling bus driver, a first crush, and a vanishing seven-year old, they may just make it. Strongly recommended for middle-grade readers and fans of warm-hearted youth fiction.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2008
Savvy is not a bad book; far from it. It's just not a book for me. I think that overall, the book was geared towards a younger crowd than I anticipated, and I feel the book tended to be a bit too simplistic. And it suffered from what seems to be a growing annoyance for me: the "charming" kid colloquialisms that are sprinkled on every single page of the book. I get that the books are geared for kids, but when I was younger, I never spoke like the kids do in these books, nor did any of my friends. To me, it almost seems to be talking down to the readers, as if they wouldn't understand the feelings of the characters unless they were put into an easy-to-understand, cute manner. Maybe this is again that the book is geared towards a younger audience than I imagine it should be, and thus is written perfectly for that age group.

What Ingrid Law does a great job of in Savvy is show the strength and importance of family. The book centers around Mibs Beaumont, a twelve-year-old girl who will be turning 13 in two days. What makes her 13th birthday even more special is what makes all the Beaumonts special; that's the day that her savvy will develop. Some savvy's are subtle (like her mother's savvy, which is to be perfect) and some are more violent (like her brother Flash's savvy, which is electricity, or her brother Fish's savvy, who can't live near water for fear of creating another hurricane). The idea of the savvy struck me as being very similar to the development of the powers in mutant children in Marvel Comics' X-Men franchise. I found it interesting to see how Ingrid Law took this same idea and created a non-superhero story out of it. Mibs father is in a car accident 2 days before her birthday, and is hospitalized in the next town over. After her mother and older brother goes to stay with her father, Mibs decides to run away and try to get to the hospital as well, knowing that her as yet undetermined savvy will help him wake up from his coma. She hides on a bus with her brother Fish, their younger brother Samson, and the local preacher's kids, Bobbi and Will.

From here the story develops into a road trip adventure where each of the kids, the bus driver Lester, and Lill (whom they pick up on the side of the road when her car breaks down) learn to be true to themselves and grow into their own person. Ingrid Law does a good job of developing the feelings of each individual character and showing their growth. And while the book has a happy ending, it isn't a perfect happily-ever-after, which I also feel is a strong point for the book; life doesn't always come out just the way you expect it to, and all too often I think that YA books tend to push the idea that it does.

With the few flaws aside (which I feel are really only because I'm obviously not the target audience for this book), Ingrid Law has done an admirable job on her first book, Savvy.
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