The night before 2009's Newbery winners were announced, I lay in bed with a book--the last book of award season. It was a grin-inducing, delicious story I couldn't put down, and when I finally turned the last page, my bleary thoughts giggled, "Wouldn't it be funny if this whale-of-a-tale won something in the morning?"
The book was Savvy, and the award was a Newbery Honor.
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 Mib’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.
My 7th-grade sister and the school librarian read Savvy months before I did, and both of them kept telling me, "You've got to read it!" Which shows how well the story straddles age categories, and contains lovable ingredients for preteens, twenty-somethings, and middle-agers alike. It would be a great read-aloud: steady downpour of action, heaping spoonfuls of laughter, a large family that delights in every member, and sober moments, too ... Ingrid Law's debut novel ladles out a thick, toothsome stew.
A cross between the wacky hilarity of Polly Horvath's The Trolls and the overall well-done-ness of Elise Broach's Shakespeare's Secret.
One of my favorite 2008 titles.