“Savvy” by Ingrid Law

“Savvy” by Ingrid Law

“Savvy” by Ingrid Law

Everyone in Mibs’ family has a special talent, known as their savvy, that they receive on their thirteenth birthday. Her mother does everything perfectly, even when it’s a mistake. Her grandmother could catch music in a jar. Her grandfather causes the ground to move.

Now it’s finally her turn! Mibs is celebrating her thirteenth birthday, and she will finally find out what her savvy is. Will it be talking to animals? Seeing sounds? Only time will tell. Then tragedy strikes – her father is a car accident and is now in a coma. Will Mibs get a savvy that could save him?

Full of quirky characters and wild adventures, Savvy is the story of Mibs and her quest to save her father’s life. She is joined by her brother and a few new friends along the way, and somewhere between pink buses, flying pies, and police cars they must make their way to the hospital to find Mibs’ father and try to keep him alive.

Law, I. (2008). Savvy. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.

Awards: Newbery Honor 2009


This is a fun book about abilities and talents and family relationships. The growing friendship between Mibs and Will and Mibs and Bobbi are great examples of how people aren’t always who they seem to be, and sometimes a person just wants someone to see them and like them for who they really are. I’m really interested to see what Sampson’s savvy is, although it seems as though he already has inklings of it showing through in his behavior, even at his younger age.

A great group read and one that readers of all ages who enjoy a little light fantasy in their books will really enjoy.

Professional Reviews:

Grades 5-7. Upon turning 13, each member of the Beaumont family develops a supernatural ability, or savvy, which must then be tamed. Well aware of the problems savvys can bring (the family had to relocate when one child had difficulty controlling his storm-producing savvy), 12-year-old Mississippi (Mibs) awaits her birthday eagerly but with a bit of trepidation. Then Poppa is seriously injured in an accident far away, and Momma goes to his side, leaving Mibs and the rest of the family to cope with Mibs’ 13th birthday on their own. Initially believing that her savvy is the ability to restore life, Mibs sets her course for Poppa. Joined by her brothers and the local preacher’s kids, she sweet talks her way onto a traveling Bible salesman’s bus. On the journey, however, Mibs realizes her savvy isn’t what she thought, which opens the way for a number of lively adventures both geographic and emotional. Law’s storytelling is rollicking, her language imaginative, and her entire cast of whacky, yet believable characters delightful. Readers will want more from Law; her first book is both wholly engaging and lots of fun.

Teens’ Top Ten Winners Announced!

Teens’ Top Ten Winners Announced!

The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations were posted on the Thursday of National Library Week, and teens across the country voted on their favorite titles each year.

Readers ages twelve to eighteen voted online between August 15 and Teen Read Week™ (October 9-15, 2016) on the Teens’ Top Ten site. The winners were announced the week after Teen Read Week.

View a list of the winners with annotations here. (PDF)

How many have you read?

“Midwinterblood” by Marcus Sedgwick

“Midwinterblood” by Marcus Sedgwick

“Midwinterblood” by Marcus Sedgwick

Midwinter Blood by SedgwickTold through seven different tales in reverse chronological order, Midwinterblood is a tale as old as time.

The first story, Midsummer Sun, is set in 2073. Eric travels to a mysterious island that is said to be a magical place where people are living far beyond a normal lifespan. Once there, he meets Tor and Merle, and is soon settled in. He explores the island, and as he does so, he begins to forget why he had come there to begin with.

The second tale, The Archaeologist, is set in 2011. Edward, an archaeologist, has traveled with his small digging team to hopefully unearth the remains of a Viking village. During his stay on the island, he meets a young boy named Eric, and his mother Merle. He feels as though he has known them all of his life.

The Airman, the third story, is set in 1944. When his plane is shot down, David manages to land his parachute on a small island, though he breaks his ankle in the process. It is the middle of World War II, and this island has so far removed itself from the fighting taking place throughout the rest of the world. David is rescued by a farmer, Erik, the farmer’s wife, Rebecka, and the farmer’s son, Benjamin. He stays with the family while his ankle heals, but the welcome is far from warm. When war comes to the island, David must try to escape the enemy soldiers.

The Painter is the fourth story in the book, and it is set in 1902. Merle is a young girl, living on a quiet island with her mother, who is known for making a special tea using the mysterious dragon flower found on the far side of the island. When Merle crosses to the other side of the island with her mother to harvest the flowers, she discovers a large house, where a very old man lives. Despite her mother’s order to stay away, she returns to visit, making wonderful discoveries.

The fifth part of the book, The Unquiet Grave, is set in 1848. The Graf twins had a nanny, Laura, who told them a wonderful ghost story full of auspense, a romance about Merle and Eric. The children loved the story, and loved Laura too. But Laura was not who they thought she was.

The sixth tale, The Vampire, is set during the 10th century. The men were late returning from their yearly trip at sea, but return they did, and Eirik and Melle helped the rest of the villagers bring the Viking ships ashore for repair during the coming winter months. Unfortunately, their father didn’t just bring home bounty from a successful Viking expedition – he also brought home a mysterious man, one whom their father is unhappy to have home.

The seventh and final story, Midwinterblood, is set before the record of time.  It has been many years of drought and crop failure, and the people have demanded a sacrifice – one only their king can fulfill. King Eirikr has been brought forth to sacrifice his life blood. Will his death be enough to bring about the desired change?

All seven stories tie neatly together into one overlaying theme. It is a tale of love, of death, and rebirth.

Awards: Michael L. Printz Award 2014, Carnegie Medal Nominee 2013


Sedgwick, M. (2013). MIdwinterblood. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press.


Midwinterblood is a fairly quick read, with short chapters within the short stories. While confusing at first, once a few of the stories are read, it is easy to get a feel for the writing and following the story backwards through time. It is not often that a book is written in reverse chronological order, so this is a fairly unique concept, and one that makes for a new and interesting reading experience.

I liked the book, and I have several people in mind to recommend it to. I think this is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages, teens and adults. There are a lot of different themes and topics in this book that can be used as discussion points, from Viking lore to reincarnation beliefs to different times throughout the history of the world. It is easy to see why it was awarded the Printz award.

Professional Review:

“*Starred Review* In the year 2073, a reporter named Eric is sent to Blessed Island to research a rare flower called the Dragon Orchid. There he finds an insular community of mysterious villagers, a delicious tea that has him losing days at a time, and a beguiling girl named Merle. In just 50 pages, we reach a shattering conclusion—and then start anew in 2011. An archaeologist is digging on Blessed Island, where he meets a quiet boy named Eric and his mother, Merle. So begins this graceful, confounding, and stirring seven-part suite about two characters whose identities shift as they are reborn throughout the ages. Sedgwick tells the story in reverse, introducing us to a stranded WWII pilot, a painter trying to resurrect his career in 1901, two children being told a ghost story in 1848, and more, all the way back to a king and queen in a Time Unknown. It is a wildly chancy gambit with little in the way of a solid throughline, but Sedgwick handles each story with such stylistic control that interest is not just renewed each time but intensified. Part love story, part mystery, part horror, this is as much about the twisting hand of fate as it is about the mutability of folktales. Its strange spell will capture you. Grades 9-12.”

Kraus, D. (2012, December 1). Midwinterblood [Review of the book Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick]. Booklist, 109(7), 52.

“Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson

“Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson

“Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson

steelheartThis is my very first sci-fi read and it went surprisingly well. I have always placed sci-fi on this horrible top shelf in the back of my mind where I know I will never bother looking. Thankfully, my husband has great taste in books and insisted I read this book (or anything by Brandon Sanderson, really). I started this book three times before actually committing to it, mostly because I was sure I wouldn’t find it interesting. However, Brandon Sanderson wastes no time in introducing the world of Newcago to the reader. Once I really gave it a chance, I was hooked.

After a quick preface, you get right into the action. The book follows orphaned teenager David who yearns to join a rebel group known as the Reckoners and aid in their efforts to end the Epics rule in Newcago. The constant action and forward pace of the book don’t disappoint and, to my surprise, left me wondering why I had waited so long to read this book. Steelheart caught my attention with humorous characters, unexpected twists, and a “leave-you-wanting-more” cliffhanger.

If you love sci-fi, read this book. If you don’t love sci-fi, read it anyway; it will change your mind.

Teens’ Top Ten Winners Announced!

Teens’ Top Ten Nominees Announced!

The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on the Thursday of National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.

Readers ages twelve to eighteen will vote online between August 15 and Teen Read Week™ (October 9-15, 2016) here on the Teens’ Top Ten site. The winners will be announced the week after Teen Read Week.

View a list of the nominees with annotations here. (PDF)

How many have you read?


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