Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Saving Lucas Biggs

Saving Lucas Biggs
Marisa de los Santos and David Teague
HarperCollins, 2014  279 pgs
Grades 4-8
Fantasy, Mystery

Thirteen-year-old Margaret's father is sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit.  He dared to speak up against the mines that basically own their small Arizona town concerning their practice of fracking and other illegal and dangerous operations.  It all comes back to the judge who delivers the sentence: Lucas Biggs.  Biggs is the adopted heir to the mines and passes the sentence on Margaret's father.  Margaret's best friend Charlie's grandfather knew Biggs as a boy and knows the pivotal moments when the trajectory, ending with the sentencing of Dad, began.  Margaret employs the family gift, the ability to time travel, to go back to the depression, when things first went terribly wrong.  Even though using the gift is draining and dangerous, she travels back in time, meets a great aunt, as well as Charlie's grandfather as a boy.  Together they try to stop the labor dispute, which begins the series of events leading to Margaret's tragic present.  The past fights their efforts and all feels as if its been in vain.  Margaret, Charlie, Grandpa, and a surprising new ally all work together in the present to set things right before its too late.

This is a great book.  I love me some time travel, especially when two stories in different time periods merge together by the end.  The book is written in alternating chapters with Margaret's point of view in the present and Josh's (Grandpa's) point of view telling the story from the past.  Eventually the stories merge, as Margaret joins Josh in his time.  Even Charlie gets a turn to narrate a bit by the end.  The tale is well written and conceived and provides great entertainment.  The plot moves along, back and forth through time, seamlessly and unceasingly.  Sometimes time travel books get confusing, but this one didn't.  I always knew where I was and who was talking. The time travel element was also believable and made sense to the story.  The best part about this book is it also functions as a mystery and suspense grows as Margaret and Charlie work to save Dad and more of Bigg's story is revealed.  My only complaint is that the book is pulled together at the end a bit too tidily.  It is somewhat unrealistic that a mysterious person, formally not introduced in the story, shows up and saves the day.  I didn't love the ending, but that's typical for me.  I often find complain with book endings.  I loved the concept and the meat of the story and would highly recommend this book to both boys and girls of all reading levels and interests.

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