Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review: Savvy

Image result for savvyHave you ever wished there was something special about you.  Something special that set you apart and made you different.  Have you wished for a gift or talent, perhaps, that no one else has?  That is what Mibs is looking forward to on her 13th birthday.  On that special day, Mibs knows she will find her Savvy and she can't wait.  But as best laid plans often go awry, her life takes an unexpected turn of events when her father is in a tragic car accident the day before her birthday.

"Savvy", a Newberry Honor book, written by Ingrid Law, is a delightful, young-adolescent novel.  Mibs (short for Mississippi) comes from a long line of ancestors who have a variety of "savvies."  While most grandmothers can peaches, Mibs' grandmother cans music.  One brother can influence water and wind so much as to make a storm appear out of nowhere.  Her oldest brother influences electricity, blowing out light-bulbs and TVs, and powers the family car.  Mibs is desperately hoping her Savvy allows her to wake people and things up because now her father in lying in a coma in the hospital.  When Mibs, and a few others, stow away on a pink, bible delivery bus, the adventure begins in earnest, as she discovers her savvy, friendship and how to be true to herself.  

Ingrid Law has a lot of fun with language and descriptive passages that are a delight to read.  The simple and free use of words kept a smile on my face throughout the story.  The eclectic group of characters are fun and down to earth.   Mibs is a character most young girls will relate to, in the middle of growing from a child to a teen-ager, dealing with the drama of girls in jr. high and discovering who she really is.  Mibs comes from a strong, supportive family, which is a relief, when so much that we see on TV or in movies depicts broken and/or disfunctional families.  There are also a couple of sweet, romantic relationships that develop which are completely appropriate for the age of the intended reader.  I can't wait for my 10 (almost 11)-year-old to read this book.

There were a few ideas that I have thought about long after I finished the book.  When that happens, I know I'm glad to own the book and have it on my shelf to lend to others.  

*  One of those ideas is basically the idea of what a savvy is.  Mibs' mother explains it by saying that "lots and lots of ordinary folk have a savvy, but most simply don't recognize it for what it is."  She continues with examples of different talents or strengths, such as making the best strawberry jam, getting called a whiz kid or being able to talk anyone into buying anything at all.  So I've been wondering lately, what is MY savvy?

*  Mibs' savvy (without giving too much away) is being able to hear what others are thinking or feeling.  As she learns more about her savvy, she also learns more about the impact of the thoughts we allow into our minds.  She says:
"Maybe we all have other people's voices running higgledy-piggledy through our heads all the time.  I thought how often my poppa and momma were there inside my head with me, telling me right from wrong.  Or how the voices of Ashley Bing and Emma Flint sometimes got stuck under my skin, taunting me and making me feel low, even when they weren't around.  I began to realize how hard it was to separate out all the voices to hear the single, strong one that came just from me."

The end is especially touching when Mibs wishes her savvy would work in reverse so everyone could know how she feels because she can't find the words for her emotions.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Although it is definitely written for a young group of readers, the little golden nuggets of self-awareness and growth were wonderful and kept me thinking long after I put the book down. 

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