Wednesday, May 6, 2015


by Ingrid Law
published: Puffin, 2010 (first published 2008)
pages: 368

Mibs Beaumont is turning 13 and unlike most 13-year-olds she is expecting an extra-special gift, her savvy.  These magical powers come to her family during this time and Mibs is hoping it will be something amazing like her brothers' abilities to control weather and electricity.  But when her mom receives a call that their dad has been in a car accident, all attention shifts.  It becomes Mibs's mission to get to her father to prove that her new power can save him.  She'll do just about anything to accomplish it, even if it means getting other people into trouble as well.

This story may follow Mibs, but it's not just about her.  The cast of characters that willingly follow her on her adventure is enthusiastic and fun.  Traveling with Mibs are her older brother - Fish, her younger brother - Samson, the paster's kids - Bobbi and Will Jr, and Lester - an unfortunate man who got caught up in trying to do the right thing.  They all have secrets that they attempt to hide from one another but the truth comes spilling out along the journey.

I love how these characters interact with each other.  I enjoyed seeing Bobbi step into the protective older sibling role while trying to maintain her teenage apathy.  It was fun to see Fish trying to control his savvy while being in emotionally charged environments and situations. The kids collaboration of deceiving the adults in this book was so fun to read, I laughed quite a bit.  I know I would have never thought of anything like what they got away with, it's impressive.

The writing is as quirky and fun as the characters and because it's from the voice of Mibs herself, it just adds to each of the character's likable quality.  You can practically see her thinking up phrases to express herself.  It's amusing and imaginative; there are several phrases in the novel that I wish I would have thought up!

Magical element in this story is subtle and beautiful.  While the premise of the story is centered around Mibs getting her savvy and figuring out how to use and control it, the magic doesn't take over.  Their family lives a relatively normal life and they are surrounded by normal people.  Quite a few of the savvies are things that people would think a coincidence if they were used.  Mamma Beaumont likes to think of savvies as enhanced talents.  Everyone has talents, but savvies just happen to present themselves in extraordinary ways.  It's fun to think about what kind of savvy I would have, the possibilities are endless.

Ingrid Law has created an imaginative and interesting story for anyone who loves a good fantasy novel.  I look forward to reading more of her in the future.

Stars: 3/5


"Law displays both a fertile imagination...and a dab hand for likable, colorful characters...[a] marvel-laden debut."
     --Kirkus, starred review

"...[Law'] a natural storytelling who's created a vibrant and cinematic novel that readers are going to love."
     --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Law's storytelling is rollicking, her language imaginative, and her entire cast of whacky, yet believable characters delight...wholly engaging and lots of fun."
     --Booklist, starred review

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