Savvy Book Poster Image


Newbery Honor Book is moving and thought-provoking.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Children lie to and mislead adults, though the kids think they are doing it to protect the adults.


A punch and a struggle.


A couple of kisses.

Not applicable

Food and toy brands mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A derelict is drunk and passed-out.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the content is mild here: a punch and a brief struggle, a couple of kisses, and some kids misleading adults.

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea of savvys. Does everyone have a savvy of some sort? What is yours? How do people discover their savvys? What do they do with them? Is Mibs's savvy a useful one? What savvy would you like to have?

Book details

Author:Ingrid Law
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dial Books
Publication date:May 1, 2008
Number of pages:342
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Award:Newbery Medal and Honors

This review of Savvy was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

External sites

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 9 and 12 year old Written bybellingen July 18, 2009

Great Coming of Age Title, Great Fun!

This is a great "coming of age" book. It would make an excellent read aloud for families or classes of kids gr. 4 and higher. There would be many excellent discussion points. It is lots of fun, but with a good message, too. This is the author's debut novel, she has excellent writing style; I hope to read more from her!
Kid, 10 years old September 4, 2009


I loved this book! Its good to read before bed beacuse all my other books are about murder and stuff like that. So, this book was good to read before I went to bed!I love how the book has suspense and is very interestng!
Kid, 9 years old February 13, 2009


What IS Mibs savvy (what this special family calls their "magical power")? If you read this book that is probably a question you will be asking yourself. I really liked this book. I think this is a good book for seven and up (strong readers). If you don't like magic this is not a good book for you, as it is about a family with magical powers. Otherwise it is a great book for every one!