My rating: 4.5 of 5
Savvy, vol. 3
Gypsy Beaumont lives in an extraordinary family, and one of the most outstanding things about this extraordinary family is that everyone, on their thirteenth birthday, gets a special talent, one particularly suited to them. Gypsy was understandably excited to get her new talent (called a savvy) of seeing the future, but things just don’t seem to work out like she’s imagined. In trying to prevent bad things she sees from happening, she ends up looking silly–and the bad things end up happening anyhow! Then one day, Gypsy’s family gets a call that her grandmother’s mind isn’t doing well anymore and that she needs help. A decision is made to move her grandmother in with them–a decision that turns the whole household around as emotions fly all about and, worse, savvies get all confounded. Gypsy’s quiet, disappearing brother Samson now flames, literally. Her savvy-perfect Momma becomes savvy-clumsy. Her baby brother Tucker gets an astonishing talent years before he should have. And Gypsy’s own talent changes remarkably as well. They’ll all have their hands full learning to handle these new savvies, and that’s only the beginning of their challenges.
I absolutely loved Ingrid Law’s first two books about this remarkable family (Savvy and Scumble), so I approached Switch with high expectations. Those expectations were certainly met, if not exceeded. She manages to maintain all the things I loved about the first two volumes while also crafting something unique and pertinent. The wonder and adventure of the story are excellent while still being accessible for a middle-grade reader–and being completely clean. More than that, Law brings to the story a rich cast of interesting characters, and even many of the side-characters have an unexpected depth. She creates a story that reminds us all to be ourselves, to do the right thing, to support our family no matter what, and to love others even when it’s hard. Beyond that, she gives us a story about the very real challenges of dealing with relatives who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, acknowledging the difficulties while challenging us to recognize the moments of beauty in the midst of the brokenness. And she somehow brings all that in a story that had me literally laughing aloud. I would highly recommend Switch to just about anybody, but especially to those dealing with family members who have dementia–for the laughs and for the reminder that you’re not alone.