Monday, September 15, 2008

Coming of Age With Savvy

I waited a long time to get Savvy by Ingrid Law from the library, and then it sat on my to read pile so long that I had to renew it. Finally I got around to reading it, and when I finished it took me a couple of weeks to realize how much I like it.

Savvy is a coming of age story with a really cool twist. The story revolves around Mibs Beaumont who is about to turn 13. Thirteen is tough enough for those of us that experience it in the normal, puberty, voice changing, pimple faced way, but for a Beaumont, turning 13 means that you get your "savvy."

For Mibs, one brother, Fish, can create storms, so they can't live near the ocean or hurricanes will blow. Another brother, Rocket, is filled with electrical charge which the family takes advantage of to start the car, but it also causes lights to explode and the power to go out in town. Her mother's savvy is to be perfect in all that she says and does, even if it means to be perfectly wrong, and her grandfather can literally move the ground under their feet. Another brother, Samson, is too young for a savvy, but seems to have a controlling effect on those with their powers.

Obviously, the Beaumont children have a tough time being at school after the age of 13 and are home schooled. Mibs has a hard time getting along with the other students and can't wait to turn thirteen so she can get her savvy and stay home with her mother. As in most coming of age, teen angst novels, girls are mean! Mibs puts up with the finger pointing and whispering about her unusual family. In order to keep the children socialized, the family attends church where the preacher's daughter, Roberta, torments Mibs while having a crush on her electrical brother. The preacher's son, Will Junior, has a crush on Mibs, and both of the preacher's kids suspect there is something really special about the Beaumont kids but they can't quite put their fingers on it.

The kids end up on an adventure together when Mibs runs away to visit her father in the hospital, convinced that her savvy will be able to cure him. Relationships develop on the big pink school bus and the preacher's kids come to understand that while the Beaumont children are special, under it all, they are just kids.

I really like the way Law deals with differences in the story. She uses fantastic, mystical powers to set the Beaumont kids apart, but it could just as easily be skin color, or economic class, or any number of things that make kids different from those around them. Ingrid Law allows the reader to see the world of growing up through both sides' eyes, and develops the characters so well that the reader forgets that we are dealing with the fantasy world. She has created the Beaumont children in such a way that their powers are believable.

As I said while I read the book I liked it, but as I thought about it over a few days, I realized just how powerful it is on many levels. I'm thinking this will make a great selection for our second Grand Discussion, and I am putting it on my Newbery short list. I like it a lot.

1 comment:

  1. Save it for me! My want to read pile is very short right now!