A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The Beaumonts are an unusual family. On their 13th birthdays (and sometimes before then) each family member gets their savvy -- an unpredictable special ability that runs in their family. One of Mibs's brothers causes storms and another generates electricity, and neither is able to control his savvy too well yet. Now Mibs is about to turn thirteen, and they all wonder what her savvy will be. But just before her birthday, her father is in a car accident, and now lies in a coma in the hospital. And Mibs just hopes that whatever her savvy is, it will be something that can save him.
Is it any good?
There are so many things first-time author Ingrid Law gets right here that it's hard to know where to start. First, perhaps, is her gentle touch with magic. Rarely, if ever, has magic been this emotionally fraught and moving. Mibs's little brother Samson may have come into his savvy early -- he is overwhelmed by the emotions of others, spending most of his time hiding in closets and under tables, but his gentle touch can make anyone feel better. The storms caused by her older brother, Fish, are reflections of his emotions. Her mother's savvy is to do everything perfectly, which is not anywhere near as good as it sounds.
Mibs's own strange savvy, which won't be revealed here, is not at all what she thinks it is, and comes with a powerful emotional component of its own. But, like one of Fish's storms, all of the events and journeys and delightfully quirky characters and, indeed, the entire story, revolve around one central point -- Mibs's father, lying silently in the hospital. His condition, and its realistic resolution, brings to the reader some of the emotional resonance that Mibs finds in the world during her two-day odyssey to learn to understand her own savvy and reach her father. And that's a journey that, one way or another, we all take.
From the Book:
"It's Poppa," Momma said in a choked voice, as her perfect features stretched and pinched.
A gust of wind burst from Fish's side of the table, blowing everyone's hair and sending our paper napkins flying pell-mell onto the floor. The air in the room grew warm and humid as though the house itself had broken out into a ripe, nervous sweat, and the many dusty, tightly lidded, empty-looking jars that lined the tops of all the cupboards rattled and clinked like a hundred toasting glasses. Outside it was already raining Fish rain -- drops hastened from a sprinkle to a downpour in seconds as Fish stared, wide-eyed and gaping like his namesake, holding back his fear but unable to scumble his savvy.
"Momma?" Rocket ventured. The air around him crackled with static, and his T-shirt clung to him like socks to towels straight from the dryer. The lights in the house pulsed, and blue sparks popped and snapped at the tips of his nervous, twitching fingers.