Monday, August 9, 2010


What if your grandfather could move mountains, one brother causes hurricanes and another creates electricity ... and now it's your turn? As if becoming a teenager wasn't difficult enough, Mibs Beaumont is in for more than a wish when she blows out those thirteen candles.

A Newberry Honor winner, Savvy by Ingrid Law introduces readers to an unusual family, one with extraordinary powers. They don't get to choose their "savvy" (as they call these God-given gifts) and they don't get them until their thirteenth birthdays.

Just before Mibs's special day arrives, her father is in a terrible accident. When her mother leaves town to be with him at a hospital in the next state, Mibs and her younger siblings fall to the care of the pastor's wife, an ulta-perfectionist who wouldn't understand savvy even if she tried. With the pastor's wife, come her kids: Bobbi, a sassy teenager who thinks she knows everyhing, and Will, Jr., Bobbi's brother who is cute and nice, but still makes Mibs uncomfortable. She just wants to be herself, but how can she? Savvys can be unpredictable. Mibs needs time to "scumble" (or learn to control) hers, and she doesn't even know what it is yet! She hopes and prays that her savvy will be powerful enough to help her poppa get out of the hospital.

In fact, she's so convinced that her new savvy will help him, she jumps aboard an old bus planning to catch a ride out of state. Unfortunately, her siblings and the pastors' kids tag along too. Their adventure really begins when the traveling Bible salesman driving the bus heads in the opposite direction of where they want to go.

Hurricane winds blow, tattoos come to life, and the most unexpected friendships evolve. Along the way, a little romance buds and some lives are changed forever. In the process, Mibs discovers that everyone -- even seemingly normal people -- has a savvy. We just need to know how to look for them. Then we need to learn how to use them.

What I Like: I like everything about this book! Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. It was fun, whimsical, and yet solidly built upon Christian morals and teachings.

I especially liked Mibs's response to Will's advances. He is clearly interested in her and, at one point, steals a kiss. An innocent kiss, but a kiss nonetheless. Mibs, after struggling with her emotions and binding her fear, summons the courage to tell him she's not ready for stuff like that. He gently and sweetly tells her he'll wait. I loved this part! Too many teens (and younger) are eager to embrace romantic relationships. This book and these characters model an age-appropriate patience and self-awareness. They recognize their maturity (or lack thereof) and are brave enough to accept it.

The characters were beautifully developed, each multi-faceted and interesting. I liked the redemptive undertones and the all-around enchantment of the story. It encourages kids to recognize the special gifts in themselves and everyone around them, then to seek God's will in using those gifts.

What I Dislike:
Nothing! However, some parents may take issue with the prevalent presence of tattoos (even temporary ones) in this book. Others may be concerned with Will, Jr.'s romantic interest in Mibs. At fourteen and thirteen, respectively, they are rather young for dating. Please see my notes about this under "What I Like" as well.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal:

Publisher Info:
Puffin, 2010; ISBN: 0142414336; Paperback; $7.99
This book is also available in hardback and Kindle formats.

Buy it at for $7.99!

Special Info:
The sequel to this book, Scumble, is set for release on August 17th. It is currently available for pre-order on

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Erin said...

This book sounds great! I can't wait to get it. Thanks for your review. Erin

Tanya said...

You're welcome! I hope you enjoy it. I can't wait to read the sequel later this month. :)

Lori Scott said...

After I read this review, I KNEW I wanted to check this book out. So I did... and I LOVED it! My middle-school daughter is reading it now, and she loves it too! If you're looking for a great YA read, don't miss this one. (I also found it at our public school book fair.)

Lori Scott said...

After reading this review, I KNEW I needed to check out this book. So... I did. And I LOVED it. My middle-school daughter is reading it now and loves it too. If you're looking for a great YA novel, don't miss this one. It's a keeper!

Tanya said...

Lori: I'm so glad you liked it! I've just started the sequel, "Scumble" and hope to have a review posted within the next few weeks.

Anonymous said...

WOW what a GREAT website. Our daughter just came home with Savvy and said a couple of girls from school said it was good. We had never heard of it googled Christian book review of Savvy and your blog came up.
Thanks for helping us parents.
Jim & Debi