Daily Archives: April 2, 2010

Got Savvy?

No, I’m not talking about Jack Sparrow, though he definitely had the ability to woo women folk with his endearing slurs and misplaced charm.  Rather, the savvy I’m talking about is Ingrid Law’s middle grade novel, which I won in a contest from my dear friend and blogger over at Book Binge. 

In Savvy thirteen year-old Mibs has a story to tell and by golly, she’s gonna get it all out.  This endearing MC has a conversational tone that sucked me in from the get go.  I felt as if I was privvy to a secret, like no one else in the world was getting the low down on the Beaumont family but me.  So bring your flashlight, crawl under the blanket and settle in for a quick review.

So, what is Savvy?  In Mibs’ world, savvy is a special thing you get when you turn thirteen.  It’s that little extra something that makes you who you are and sets you apart from everyone else.  It’s the salesman who can sell ice to an eskimo.  That’s savvy.

Yet, Mibs’ family takes their savvy one step further.  They can move mountains, change weather patterns and pull radio waves right out of thin air.  As our story opens, “on the Thursday before the Friday before the Saturday” of her thirteenth birthday, Mibs dreams of xray eyes and other teenage girl wishes. 

However, before the night is out, those preteen wishes disappear with the screech of tires and the smashing of cars.  With her father in the hospital, the focus is no longer on Mibs’ cake, candles and impending powers.  Instead, her savvy is all but forgotten.

Forgive me for interjecting this quick writer’s dissection in the middle of a reader’s review.  In light of all the book beginning contests going on, I can’t help but point out what makes the opening line of this book amazing.

Great Beginnings

“When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he’d caused it”

I was hooked from the first sentence of this whimsical tale.  It has everything a great opening line should have: intrigue, information, voice and a little spunk. 

  • Intrigue: how in the world can a thirteen year old cause a hurricane?  And where is “inland”?
  • Information: right away, Miss Law tells us without saying a single word that this book is for middle grade readers.  She does so by giving Fish’s age and by the tone of the sentence.  It’s written young, not quite YA yet.  We also know this family has some issues and already they’ve had to move. 
  • Voice: “…we moved to the deepest part of inland…” shows the MC is going to spill her family’s secrets, but with her distinct flavor–in her own round-about way.  It screams, “hang on, this is going to be a wild ride.”
  • Spunk: Fish.  Who in the heck names their kid Fish?  Yep, this is a family I want to hang with, if only to find out more about the hurricane-causing brother.  And who better to tell the story than the sassy Mibs?  “Of course.” 

When Mibs wakes up on her thirteenth birthday, things have changed.  She believes her savvy has arrived in the ability to wake those around her.  Her course of action becomes obvious–she must make her way to her father’s hospital bed and wake him from his crash induced coma. 

Savvy is the story of Mibs’ journey as she stows away on a bus of misfits.  The cast of characters grows as unlikely friendships are made and unplanned stops along the way land Mibs and her traveling companions in one predicament after another.  By the time she reaches her father’s bed side, she realizes her savvy is not what she thought. 

Can she still save her ordinary poppa, whose only savvy is losing all his hair?

Grab a copy of Savvy and find out for yourself.