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Saving Lucas Biggs

Review

Saving Lucas Biggs

What would you do if someone you loved was wrongly accused of a terrible crime? Surely you would do everything in your power to see that justice was served, even if it meant risking your own safety. SAVING LUCAS BIGGS, the first collaboration by literary husband and wife duo Marisa de los Santos and David Teague, starts with that question and takes readers on an exciting adventure through time and into the heart of several interesting characters.

Margaret O’Malley, a 13-year-old girl living in the small mining town of Victory, Arizona, has just found out her father, a whistle-blower working against the bad practices at Victory Fuels, has been sentenced to death for arson and murder by the corrupt Judge Biggs. Desperate to help her father and save his life, Margaret is convinced by her best friend’s grandfather that she has the special ability to do so.

A unique and powerful book, well-written, compelling, provocative and powerful.

Charlie’s grandfather, Joshua Garrett, has a complicated history with Victory and the coal mining company that founded it. The Garrett family moved to the dry desert climate of Arizona to alleviate young Preston’s asthma, but when Frederic Garrett went to work in the mine, the family began to experience another form of hardship and danger. Frederic Garrett and his friend Aristotle Agrippa, along with many other miners, take on Victory Fuels, but the cost is high.  Decades later, the consequences of their actions result in John O’Malley’s conviction.  The secret the O’Malley family carries, and one that Joshua Garrett knows, is that they are able to time-travel. Grandpa Joshua hopes that sending Margaret back in time to the moment his friend Luke Agrippa becomes the hard-hearted Lucas Biggs will save her father and rectify past wrongs.  But Margaret, Grandpa Joshua and Charlie quickly learn that “history resists” and trying to change the past isn’t the solution. Instead, once they better understand past events and hurts, they turn their attention to the present and come up with a plan to save Lucas Biggs in order to save John O’Malley and the town of Victory.

SAVING LUCAS BIGGS is a readable middle grade novel and it packs an emotional punch. The looming execution of John O’Malley as well as some very serious violence in Victory’s history underpin the story with tension and pain. But, the hopefulness --- along with the nice message about resisting corruption and standing up for what is right --- balances out that tension and pain, bringing the story to a positive resolution. Despite the O’Malley ability to time-travel, the story is a realistic one; the elements of fantasy are actually kept to a minimum. The themes are quite sophisticated even as the pace is quick and the vocabulary fairly easy.

De los Santos and Teague bring much story-telling skill to SAVING LUCAS BIGGS. It is a unique and powerful book, well-written, compelling, provocative and powerful.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on May 2, 2014

Saving Lucas Biggs
by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

  • Publication Date: April 29, 2014
  • Genres: Fantasy, Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0062274627
  • ISBN-13: 9780062274625