Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review - Savvy

Savvy (Savvy #1)
by Ingrid Law
Date: 2008
Publisher: Dial
Reading level: MG
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 342
Format: hardcover
Source: Indigo

For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a "savvy" -- a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn thirteen. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity... and now it's the eve of Mibs's big day.

As if waiting weren't hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs's birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad. So she sneaks onto a salesman's bus... only to find the bus heading in the opposite direction. Suddenly Mibs finds herself on an unforgettable odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up -- and of other people, who might also have a few secrets hidden just beneath the skin.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I started reading this book last year... but I got sidetracked. It wasn't that I wasn't enjoying what I was reading. This book just got pushed down the list of priorities. But I've finished it now, so here are my thoughts.

Mibs Beaumont belongs to a very special family. She and her siblings all have a savvy, which is a special sort of power that manifests on their thirteenth birthday. Her older brothers can manipulate electricity and cause hurricanes. Mibs is looking forward to her birthday and finding out what her savvy might be. But on the eve of the special day, her father is in an accident. Mibs thinks that she might be able to do something to help, so along with the pastor's kids and two of her brothers, she stows away on a pink bus, hoping to make her way to the hospital and put things right.

My favourite part of this book was the way it was written. Mibs's descriptions were evocative, sometimes funny, and very age-appropriate. You never quite forget that a 13-year-old girl is the narrator. She has a voice all her own, one that is quite distinctive. She makes up quite a few words, but it's not as annoying as, say, Georgia Nicolson's habit of continually using made-up words ending in "-osity".

I do have a couple of issues with this book, however. This is a middle grade read intended for kids aged 9 to 12. I question whether showing children (some as young as seven) stowing away on a strange man's bus is a wise idea... no matter how good the children's intentions were.

My other issue was with the ending. In my view, the author blew it (for me, anyway) on literally the second-to-last page. It wasn't so much what happened that bothered me; it was that the rather disgusting lack of responsibility on the part of the parents -- given the current circumstances -- was not addressed at all. (Sorry if that sounds cryptic. I don't want to spoil the ending for people who might want to read the book.)

So, overall, I quite enjoyed Savvy... up until the penultimate page, which kind of soured me on all that came before. Not everyone will be put off by the issue that annoyed me, though, so I'd recommend reading this book anyway, if only for the unforgettable characters and Mibs's unique voice.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 5/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Originality: 5/5

Overall: 4 out of 5 - minus one bug for the ending


  1. I love the review. I have been wanting to read this for quite a while. Thank you for the honesty! I love that you address possible issues for young readers.

  2. I really like the cover of this book and the name - trying to decide if I want to read - sounds like I might feel it's too young for me though.