Excerpt from Savvy by Ingrid Law, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


by Ingrid Law

  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2008, 352 pages
    Mar 2010, 368 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

My savvy hadn’t come along yet. But I was only two days away from my very own thirteen dripping candles—though my momma’s cakes never lopped to the side or to the middle. Momma’s cakes were perfect, just like Momma, because that was her savvy. Momma was perfect. Anything she made was perfect. Everything she did was perfect. Even when she messed up, Momma messed up perfectly.

I often reckoned what it would be like for me. I pictured myself blowing out the candles on my cake and fires dying in chimneys across four counties. Or I imagined making my secret birthday wish—getting my cheeks full and round with air—then floating up toward the ceiling like my very own happy birthday balloon.

“My savvy is going to be a good one,” I told my brother Rocket. “I just know it.”

“Girls don’t get the powerful jujubes,” said Rocket, running one hand through his dark shock of unkempt hair with a crackle of static. “Girls only get quiet, polite savvies—sugar and spice and everything humdrum savvies. It’s boys who get the earthshaking kinds of savvy.”

I had scowled at my brother and stuck out my tongue. Rocket and I both knew that there were plenty of girls climbing round our family tree that had strong and sturdy savvies, like Great-aunt Jules, who could step back twenty minutes in time every time she sneezed; or our second cousin Olive, who could melt ice with a single red-hot stare.

Rocket was seventeen and full of junk that I wasn’t allowed to say until I got much, much older. But he was electric through and through, and that had always gone to his head. for fun, Rocket would make my hair stand on end like he’d rubbed it with a balloon, or hit fish with a wicked zap from the other side of the room. But Rocket could keep the lights on when the power went out, and our family sure liked that, especially the littler Beaumonts.

Rocket was the oldest, with fish and me following after. Born only a year apart, fish and I were nearly the same height and looked a lot alike, both with hair like sand and straw—hair like Momma’s. But while I had Poppa’s hazel eyes, fish had Momma’s ocean blue ones. It was as if we’d each taken a little bit of Momma, or a little bit of Poppa, and made the rest our own.

I wasn’t the youngest or the smallest in the family; broody Samson was a dark and shadowy seven, and doll-faced Gypsy was three. It was Gypsy who started calling me Mibs, when my full name, Mississippi, became far too much for her toothsome toddler tongue to manage. But that had been a relief. That name had always followed me around like one of fish’s heavy storm clouds.

The itch and scritch of birthday buzz was about all I was feeling on the Thursday before the friday before the Saturday I turned thirteen. Sitting at the dinner table, next to Poppa’s empty chair and ready plate, I barely ate a bite. Across from me, Gypsy prattled endlessly, counting the make-believe creatures she imagined seeing in the room, and begging me to help her name them.

I pushed the food around my plate, ignoring my sister and daydreaming about what it would be like when I got my very own savvy, when the telephone rang right in the middle of pot roast, mashed potatoes, and mighty unpopular green beans. As Momma rose to answer, us kids, and Grandpa Bomba too, seized the chance to plop our mashers on top of our beans while Momma’s back was turned. Samson tucked some of those beans into his pockets to give to his dead pet turtle, even though Momma always said he shouldn’t be giving it any of our good food, seeing how it was dead and all, and the food would just go to rot. But Samson was sure as sadly sure that his turtle was only hibernating, and Momma hadn’t the heart to toss it from the house.

Excerpted from Savvy by Ingrid Law. Copyright © 2006 by Ingrid Law. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Group USA. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.