Savvy by Ingrid Law, is the kind of book that grabbed me as soon as I started to read it.
I loved the imaginative plot. Becoming a teenager is a milestone for any girl, but in the Beaumont family, when you turn 13 you find out what your “savvy” is. The older Beaumont boys are still trying to figure out how to manage their powers over wind and electricity.
Mibs Beaumont’s thirteenth birthday gets off to a bad start when her father is involved in a serious car accident. But when she wakes up that morning, she gets an idea about what her savvy might be, and she is sure she can use it to help her dad get better. So she stows away in the back of a pink Heartland Bible bus headed to Salina where her dad is in the hospital, miles away from their rural location equidistant from the Kansas and Nebraska borders (which the creative Beaumonts alternately call Kansaska or Nebransas)
This kind of creative literary expression is another stand-out feature of this novel. For example, Law describes Grandpa’s milestone thirteenth birthday in this way:
When Grandpa wasn’t a Grandpa and was just instead a small-fry hobbledehoy boy blowing out thirteen dripping candles on a lopsided cake, his savvy hit him hard and sudden (page 4)
Or about her own party: “This wasn’t just a little party. This was a full-on foofaraw” (page 43).
I wasn’t the only one who appreciated this writing. Amanda (age 10) expressed her thoughts about this book at my blog Snapshot in last month’s Kids’ Picks:
Amazing. Fantastical. Interesting. Addicting — I just want to keep reading and reading! I’m not sure why, because it doesn’t have as much adventure as I usually like in the book, but there’s just something about it, the way the story is told, that makes me want to keep going back for more.
I explained to her that the creative writing was one thing that compelled her to keep reading. In fact, when I passed on the book to her to read after I finished it (or should I say after she snatched it out of my hands), I asked her to mark some of those expressive phrases as she was reading it, since I hadn’t taken note of any specific ones. When I picked up the book, each chapter had several pages turned down marking one these passages.
But beyond the writing, a lot happens in this sort of early coming-of-age novel. Mibs doesn’t jump on that bus alone. Others join her: her brothers, the sixteen-year-old preacher’s daughter and her brother Will (who thinks Mibs is awfully special, savvy or not), not to mention the bus driver who is trying to make something of himself, and the waitress who ends along involved in the caper as well. And on that bus trip, they each take their own journey of self discovery, as they learn what it means to have someone be there for you.