Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos

This story explores the self-delusion of a man, Lucas Biggs, and how it leads to his unhappy life. Bigg's self-justification and a series of bad decisions result in him leading a life as a corrupt judge and hateful person. Once, he was a nice boy. Once, he tried to do the right thing. But the desire for physical revenge, versus nonviolent civil disobedience, and his youthful ignorance led him down the slippery slope of wrong-doing. While the story is somewhat slow at the start and appears realistic before changing into a time travel story, I liked the author's turn of phrases and character development of the protagonist, thirteen-year-old Margaret. The point of view alternates between her and Josh as they try to make sense of and right past wrongs. Most of the time they fail, but they never give up or give into despair.

Margaret's father has been convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sentenced to death. The mining town of Victory, Arizona is owned by the Victory Company along with corrupt town leaders in powerful positions. Margaret learns that this corruption has deep roots in the past and that in order to change it, she must use her family's unique ability to travel into the past and change history. When her mission fails, she learns to pursue other means of reaching Lucas Biggs, the man that lost so much and chose to be unethical. She shows great courage in her choices and with the help of her friend, Charlie, and Josh, they make a difference.

I found that it took me a while to get into the story. I preferred when Josh's flashbacks put the reader directly into the action versus when he was explaining it to Margaret and Charlie in the present tense. If you are a cartwheeling-type person like myself you might find the pace or passive voice too slow in those moments. I also wished the letter that Margaret wrote to the newspaper was revealed to the reader. I did find the information on hydrofracking interesting, I've been hearing that word quite a bit lately as we have friends in North Dakota and never took the time to learn what it meant.

The emotional descriptions of Magaret's inner turmoil are rich and wonderful to read. "What I wanted more than anything was to be alone, to sit in my own pocket of space and just breathe and feel, feel whatever there was to feel without worrying about anyone seeing me." Margaret learns to have courage and be brave rather than hide. She reflects that her motivation to be brave is out of her love for her dad, just like Bigg's love for his dad motivated him to change. The theme of love and family is an undercurrent throughout the plot. A good book for messages on redemption, friends, loyalty, courage, and civic responsibility.

4 Smileys

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