Like most 12 year olds, Mibs (short for Mississippi) Beaumont is looking forward to her 13th birthday. But in the Beaumont family, this means a lot more than just becoming a teenager at last. On her special day, Mibs will discover her very own "savvy," her special, paranormal power.
Before that fateful day, Mibs can only speculate what her savvy will be. It might be a bit overwhelming, like her brother Fish's tendency to cause terrible weather. It might be electric through and through, just like her brother Rocket's power. Or it might be gentle, like her mother's gift of making everything turn out, well, perfect.
But just before Mibs' big day, her beloved poppa is in a traffic accident. Her mother and Rocket drive off to be with him (Rocket is needed to power the old station wagon!), leaving the rest of the family with Grandpa Bomba (whose savvy is, well, making new places. Where do you think the entire state of Idaho came from, anyway?).
When Mibs suspects her savvy might help Poppa wake up, she has to find a way to get the 90 miles to Salina, Kansas, even if it means commandeering the pink bus of the Heartland Bible Supply company. And if Mibs thinks she can undertake this journey alone, well, fate would have it otherwise.
Mibs is destined to share the ride not just with the Bible delivery-man, Lester, but with the preacher's kids, the snooty Bobbi and the sweet Will Junior. And then of course there's a small stowaway, her moody little brother, Samson. And that's just the beginning!
During this event-filled journey, Mibs discovers that her savvy-, along with her first impressions about people-, might be different than she expected. She also comes to realize that although the Beaumonts have often been outcasts, it's possible to find community in unexpected places.
Ingrid Law's debut novel Savvy is already a hit with tween readers and is being mentioned as a Newbery contender. If you thought the road trip in the film Little Miss Sunshine was wild, hold onto your hat! Or better yet, open up Savvy and settle in for a delightful read. Copyright 2008 BookPage Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 April #1
Mibs can't wait for her 13th birthday, when her special gift, or "savvy," will awaken. Everyone in her family--except beloved Papa, who married in--has one, from Grandpa Bomba's ability to move mountains (literally) to Great Aunt Jules's time-traveling sneezes. What will hers be? Not what she wants, it turns out, but definitely what she needs when the news that a highway accident has sent her father to the ICU impels her to head for the hospital aboard a Bible salesman's old bus. Sending her young cast on a zigzag odyssey through the "Kansaska-Nebransas" heartland, Law displays both a fertile imagination (Mibs's savvy is telepathy, but it comes with a truly oddball caveat) and a dab hand for likable, colorful characters. There are no serious villains here, only challenges to be met, friendships to be made and some growing up to do on the road to a two-hanky climax. A film is already in development, and if it lives up to this marvel-laden debut, it'll be well worth seeing. (Fantasy. 10-13) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2008 October
Ingrid Law?s first novel is an absolutely delightful coming-of-age saga of the two-day adventure of just-turned-13 Mibs, two of her siblings, and a couple of preacher?s kids. The story begins with an introduction to the very unique Beaumont family, each of whom has inherited some unusual power from their mother?s line. The gift reveals itself on the child?s thirteenth birthday. Unfortunately for Mibs, her birthday begins with her father?s serious injury in an accident. The preacher?s wife throws Mibs a surprise birthday party, but Mibs is the brunt of cruel jokes by her peers who consider all of the Beaumont kids ?weird.? Frustrated, Mibs, along with her brothers and the preacher?s kids, board a traveling Bible salesman?s bus thinking they can get Mibs to Salina, Kansas, to visit her father in the hospital. Mysterious happenings, the emergence of Mibs? ?savvy,? and her attraction to the preacher?s son, Will, keep the reader engaged throughout. Law?s prose sparkles with down-home dialogue and humor in a story with a less-than-fairytale ending. Recommended. Karen Sebesta, Children?s Librarian, San Antonio (Texas) Public Library ¬ 2006 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 April #1
Reviewed by Sarah Mlynowski
In Mississippi Beaumont's family, turning 13 means your savvy kicks in. When her grandfather turned 13, he created Idaho. And when her brother turned 13, he caused a hurricane. At the start of Law's winning debut novel, Mississippi's 13th birthday is only two days away.
With her dad in a coma after a horrible car accident, Mississippi is convinced that her savvy will have something to do with waking people up. Along with her brothers, the cute preacher's son and his obnoxious gum-chomping sister, she sneaks aboard a delivery bus she believes is heading toward her dad, hoping to save him.
The thing about Mississippi? She's not always right. Turns out, her savvy has her hearing a whole bunch of voices--in her head. When people around her have any type of ink--say, a tattoo or a pen mark--on their skin, she can't help but read their minds.
What makes this book so engaging is that aside from the whole mind-reading thing, Mississippi isn't extraordinary. She's not excessively brilliant, incredibly attractive or overly girly. She's afraid of growing up. She prefers to be called Mibs, but the mean girls call her Missy-Pissy. She wishes she could mess up less and be more like her perfect mom. (Literally, perfect--that's her mother's savvy.) Readers, boys and girls alike, will see a bit of themselves in Mibs.
Also, the Beaumonts aren't the only ones with savvys. Normal people (the bus driver, the hitchhiker, the obnoxious gum-chomper) have them, too--they just don't recognize them. As Mibs's mom says, "One person might make strawberry jam so good that no one can get enough of it.... There are even those folks who never get splashed by mud after a rainstorm or bit by a single mosquito in the summertime." The 10-year-old boy or the 40-year-old mom reading the book--they might just have one, too.
Besides saving her dad, Mibs's quest in the novel is to learn to "scumble"--in other words, control her savvy. She has to learn to quiet the voices she hears, and to find her own voice.
Law has definitely found hers. Short chapters and cliffhangers keep the pace quick, while the mix of traditional language and vernacular helps the story feel both fresh and timeless. And while road-trip novels tend to be more about the journey than the destination, the ending, like Momma's savvy, is pretty perfect. I wasn't sure how Law was going to manage it without going all fairy-tale, but she does the story justice, making the conclusion happy and heart-rending simultaneously, resisting the urge to tie it all up with a fancy ribbon and a happily ever after.
Law's savvy? She's a natural storyteller who's created a vibrant and cinematic novel that readers are going to love. Ages 9-11. (May)
Sarah Mlynowski is the author of the Magic in Manhattan series, the most recent of which is Spells & Sleeping Bags (paperback reprint from Delacorte due this month), and, with E. Lockhart and Lauren Myracle, the coauthor of How to Be Bad (HarperTeen, May).[Page 60]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-7-- Mississippi Beaumont ("Mibs" for short) simply cannot wait for her 13th birthday. There's the allure of finally becoming a teenager, of course, but in the Beaumont family, 13 is when family members get their "savvy," or unworldly power. For Mibs's older brother Fish, it's control over the elements, and for her mother it's the ability to do everything perfectly. Unfortunately, Mibs's excitement is cut short when her father is injured in a car accident. Convinced that her new powers will be able to save her Poppa, she and some new friends climb aboard a bus toting pink bibles on her birthday, in the hopes of getting to the hospital. Instead they find themselves headed in the wrong direction with the cops looking for them, Mibs's powerful brother seriously angry, and the son of a preacher man she has a crush on coming dangerously close to figuring out the Beaumonts' secret. Mibs's real savvy isn't what she expected, and neither are her traveling companions. Though the story never lives up to the brilliance of its opening chapter, Law has a feel for characters and language that is matched by few. With its delightful premise and lively adventure, this book will please a wide variety of audiences, not just fantasy fans. Definitely an author to watch.--Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library[Page 130]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.