Everyone has a talent to share, but in the Beaumont family talent takes on a whole new meaning. Mibs Beaumont knows that when she turns thirteen her “savvy” will manifest itself. Her brother Rocket began to generate electricity on his thirteenth birthday. Her brother Fish produced hurricanes. Unfortunately, Mibs’ beloved father is in a car accident the day before her birthday, so when she realizes she can read other people’s thoughts and feelings if they have ink anywhere on their skin, she has no adults to help her deal with the frustration she feels with this new power. Will Jr., the boy she thinks is the minister’s son, has a crush on her, and this adds to her confusion.

Mibs’ most special talent, however, is her well-formed conscience. She does not want to misuse her new found power and respects others’ privacy. Mibs demonstrates maturity, understanding and sensitivity to the people around her. She recognizes her own selfish inclinations and consistently tries to rectify her motives, thoughts and actions. Mibs tactfully but firmly handles Will Jr.’s interest in her, while her brother Fish indicates quite clearly that he is prepared to defend his sister’s honor. (Will’s puppy love is actually innocent and warm-hearted.) Relationships within the Beaumont family are refreshingly normal. Mibs’ devotion to her father and admiration for her mother are characteristic of healthy family life. All five Beaumont siblings demonstrate loyalty and closeness to each other with a firm “family first” attitude. The entire family possesses a clear respect for all stages of life and for the individual.

One small detail prevents this reviewer from giving Savvy a “highly recommended” evaluation. At the end of the book Mibs learns that Will Jr. is not the minister’s son, but his grandson. Will’s presumed older brother turns out to be Will’s father. Nothing is clarified about Will’s birth, nor is his birth mother ever mentioned. The author does not dwell on this point, and many young people may not give it importance, but some parents may feel the need to discuss this with their children.

Jennifer Minicus

Jennifer Minicus lives in New Jersey with her husband and son. A former French, Latin and mathematics teacher, Jennifer currently enjoys the responsibilities of a "domestic engineer", particularly making...