OK, I admit it- I let this one sit on my TBR pile for way too long. During spring break I have finally had time to sort through my piles and when Savvy surfaced at the top, I picked it up and brought it out to the porch to read. Boy am I glad I did! Well deserving of the Newbery Honor it took home in January, Savvy is fantasy for those who think they don’t like fantasy.
Mibs is about to turn thirteen which is a big deal in the Beaumont family. See, they aren’t exactly a normal family. Each member of Mib’s family possesses a magical ability or a ‘savvy’, as they call it. When a member of her family turns thirteen, their supernatural gift manifests itself. For her older brother Fish, he discovered he could cause hurricanes. Another brother, Rocket, can create and control electricity. Once a savvy makes itself known, the Beaumont’s begin home-schooling so that they can learn to control their power before living out the rest of their life.
A few days before Mibs’s thirteenth birthday, her poppa is involved in a terrible car accident on the interstate. When Mibs awakens on her birthday to find her brother’s turtle alive again (after a very long “hibernation” that the rest of the family knew was death), she is convinced her savvy is to awaken living things. She decides that she must get to her father’s bedside immediately. Unfortunately, he is in a hospital almost 100 miles away. Never one to give up, Mib manages to sneak onto a bus belonging to a bible salesman. What she doesn’t count on is the adventure that begins the moment she steps onto the pink bus. Before she can get to her father, Mib, her brothers, and the preacher’s kids are entangled in the bible salesman’s life as they take off on an overnight adventure. During the journey Mib’s discovers a lot about herself and realizes that she might not be the only one with a secret.
Savvy is tween-perfect fantasy. The world-building is minimal and the setting is in the midwest. The characters are regular kids with regular kid problems- compounded by the fact that they have a savvy. The savvys are a little like super-powers, so I think Savvy will appeal to some of my super-hero fans. I also think it will appeal to my realistic fiction readers because Mib is a pretty typical tween. She is dealing with her first crush, family issues, frienships, and growing up in general. The fantasy aspect isn’t overwhelming but her savvy is pretty cool. In fact, I bet more than one of my students has wished for a
similar ability at some point in the past few years! Highly recommended, this is a book that will stand the test of time and will appeal to a variety of readers.
(On a side note, I am fan of the original cover. The paperback has a different cover, on the right, and I just don’t like it as much!)