Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Review: Savvy

Summary: A vibrant new voice . . . a modern classic.

For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a “savvy”—a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn thirteen. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity . . . and now it’s the eve of Mibs’s big day.

As if waiting weren’t hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs’s birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad. So she sneaks onto a salesman’s bus . . . only to find the bus heading in the opposite direction. Suddenly Mibs finds herself on an unforgettable odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up—and of other people, who might also have a few secrets hidden just beneath the skin. -- Dial/Walden Media

I was just thrilled when I got the opportunity to participate in the KidzBookBuzz.com tour of SAVVY by Ingrid Law. I have become somewhat familiar with this book in the past few months because it has been a New York Times Bestseller; and it has been winning so many awards including a 2009 Newberry Award Honor Book, a 2008 Boston Globe - Horn Book Honor Book, one of Publishers Weekly's "Best Books of the Year" 2008, Booklist's Top 10 First Novels for Youth, the #1 Book Sense Children's Picks for Summer 2008, a Borders Original Voices pick, June 2008, and even a selection on Oprah's Kids Reading List -- the list just keeps going on and on! Plus, when I read the book's description and saw that it was geared towards middle grade readers, I just had a feeling that my daughter and I would both enjoy it.

I guess I can best sum up SAVVY by saying that I think all of the praise is justified -- I absolutely loved this book and I can't wait for my daughter to read it next. I think this book will appeal to both adults and young kids alike
because it has a little something for everyone; and I think kids especially are going to love it regardless of whether they are big readers or not . For children who like fantasy books, SAVVY will appeal because it has its share of the unexplained and super-natural. And for children who love getting to "meet" special characters, SAVVY has terrific characters including Mibs, her brothers and her friends. The storyline is also entertaining and action-packed enough to keep every child's interest. And best of all, the ultimate messages from this story are just wonderful - ones that parents as well as children can never hear enough!

One of my favorite things about this book was the storyline. The book starts out with Mib turning 13 years old. As if entering the teens isn't enough stress for a young girl, Mibs' 13th birthday is the day when she will find out her "savvy." All of the kids in Mibs' family find out their savvy -- or special gift -- on their 13th birthday; however, Mibs' life is turned upside down that day because her father is in a serious accident and ends up in a coma. Mib discovers what she thinks is her savvy and decides that she has to see her father because she can help him. Her persistence in traveling to the hospital in another city sets into motion an entire chain of events that is extremely entertaining! Mibs discovers that everything is not what it first seems, and she has to learn to accept her savvy and use it accordingly.

Another thing that I appreciated about this book was the character of Mibs. I loved that the author chose to tell this story through the eyes of Mibs because she was such a honest narrator -- both wise beyond her years and yet still having some innocence. Although I didn't exactly love the year I turned 13 because I was just so darn awkward and such a geek, I do love reading about young girls who are that age. It is such a special time in a girl's life because while she is just about ready to become a young woman she still sometimes feels as if she is a kid -- so many conflicting thoughts and emotions. I just loved how Mibs was such a bright and sensitive young girl who was willing to do anything to help her father; and I also liked how she was so insightful into the actions of other characters. But I think my favorite part of her Mibs' story was seeing her realize her savvy and then understanding how to use it -- it was just the perfect symbol of a young person realizing what their special talent is. Mibs was just a terrific character and one that I will remember for a very long time.

As a parent, I can't say enough about the overall messages in this novel -- LOVE THEM! I think the overlying concepts about the importance of families and friendships is terrific, as are the messages about learning to control your emotions. I also really appreciated the lesson that things aren't always easy -- you have to work hard and persevere sometimes. (This ones is especially important in today's society where we think everything should be instantaneous.) And I definitely think the idea that everyone has a "savvy" is just so important. As a 40 year old woman, I still struggle to find my savvy. I can just imagine if I had read this book when I was younger -- it might have made a difference in my self-concept.

I read somewhere that SAVVY is being developed into a film. I am so excited about this (and not really surprised) because I kept thinking it would make a terrific kids' movie while I was reading it. I know my nine year old daughter has a hard time finding movies that she likes because she is kind of past the Disney animation ones and the pre-teen ones are just a little too mature for her right now. I can just imagine how much she'd enjoy seeing a movie based on this novel; and as a mother, I love that it would be sending a powerful, positive message while still being entertaining.

I highly recommend SAVVY for the middle grade reader in your life (or even yourself) because it is a very special book. I feel as if this entire review is just me gushing, but I really did love SAVVY that much. I am most definitely recommending it for a future pick for our Mother-Daughter book club. There are just so many things to discuss including the various characters and their actions; but more importantly, I would love to hear our girls talking about discovering their savvies! If you want to get a better idea of the story or the author's writing style, you can read an excerpt.

Thanks to Sally from KidzBookBuzz.com for allowing me to participate in this book blog tour!

Check out the other blogs participating in this tour:

A Christian Worldview of Fiction
All About Children’s Books
Becky’s Book Reviews
Cafe of Dreams
Dolce Bellezza
Fireside Musings
Looking Glass Reviews
Maw Books Blog
Never Jam Today
Olive Tree
Our Big Earth
The 160 Acrewoods
Through a Child’s Eyes


Beth F said...

Looks like this one deserved the awards and the hype.

bermudaonion said...

I'm way over the targeted age group, but I want to read this book after reading your review. It sounds like one of those books that leaves you with a special feeling.

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

GREAT review! Savvy has been on my wish list for some time now. I love the messages this book leaves its readers, messages that all young adults should learn.

Becky said...

Great review. :)

Vanessa said...

Great review. I have wanted to read this book for a while, mostly because I loved the cover.

Sally Apokedak said...

Oh, you are most welcome.

I'm glad you enjoyed this book. I loved it, too.

And now I have a confession to make. And I'm making in the comments instead of writing an email, in case other readers have already clicked on your Savvy links.

I'm so sorry and this is totally my fault. The link you have for Savvy is linking to The Year the Swallows Came Early.

LOL Another great book, but...not the one we are trying to link to today.

For some reason the links were broken in the email that Feedburnier sent out. I mean I noticed they were broken on my site but Feedburniner sent the content out before I had fixed them.


So if you any of you want to visit Savvy at Amazon, the link is actually: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0803733062

I'm laughing now because you were so good and you linked every time you mentioned the book.

Arghhh. I never seem to have a tour that doesn't have some link trouble. Always my fault, too. =0)

Julie P. said...

Sorry about the link confusion -- I think I fixed all of them! ;)

Jen - devourer of books said...

Between the positive reviews here and at Maw Books, I think I'm going to have to read this.