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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

28. Savvy by Ingrid Law


Title: Savvy
Author: Ingrid Law
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 343
Format: ARC Paperback from publisher for review
Rating: 3/5 stars
Finished: 3-25-08

I received this through Walden Media's BookShare Club after reading the first chapter and responding with my thoughts on that first chapter. The first chapter had caught enough of my interest that I wanted to read the rest of the book.

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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