Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague (2014)
Suggested age range: 10 and up (Harper Collins, 288 pages)
The book says it’s geared for 8-12 year olds, and there are certainly 8 and 9 year olds that would appreciate the book, but more broadly I’d say, 10 and up.
[Warning: There are instances of violence and death in this story—just a warning for parents who might want to know.]
Rating: 5/5 shooting stars [I loved this book, will read it again, and I think you should too! I had almost no dislikes with this book!!]
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
The Book: Margaret’s family has a secret. They have the ability to travel through time—though it is a gift thirteen year old Margaret’s father makes her promise not to use, right before he is taken away to prison, where he has received an unfair death sentence. Margaret may have to go against her father’s wishes though—her friend Charlie’s Grandpa Josh claims that if Margaret can go back in time and stop a murder from happening, maybe the evil judge Lucas Biggs won’t wrongly convict her father of a crime he didn’t commit. Maybe everything can be set right. Or can it?
Spirituality in Saving Lucas Biggs: This story is full of rich and moving passages that urge readers to think about the consequences of our actions and the way we treat each other. Even in its earliest pages, we get a glimpse of Margaret’s father’s character—he has decided to honor each and every human being, even when they may not deserve it. It’s how we view others that matter….and how we view ourselves as well. The notion of love as the most powerful force in the universe is also discussed in the book. That alone highlights a spiritual element that I was especially drawn to. There are many quotes in the book that are highlighting-worthy—I think you’ll quickly discover this as you read.
Who Should Read This Book: If you like middle grade fantasy in the time travel genre that also includes history, you’ll appreciate Saving Lucas Biggs. I didn’t know anything about hydrofracking before I started reading it, and I can honestly say I learned a lot—especially since this is a very real issue in the world of mining. Young and old readers would enjoy this book—this is one of those middle grade titles that I’ll be recommending to certain adult readers I know who enjoy a thought-provoking time travel story. I didn’t have any problems with this book other than that it was too short!
The Final Word: Beautiful language and a healthy pace made for a satisfying story that I think could have gone on a bit longer, but I was happy at the conclusion. It left me thinking about the story for quite awhile afterwards and that’s one sign of a good book for me. A classroom of students reading the book might be interested in comparing the time traveling mechanism in this story with that of another middle grade time travel book. There are so many science fiction books lately employing the time travel component—I think a comparison/contrast of multiple time travel stories could be a pretty cool project. In fact, I would do it!
And this whole idea of history not wanting to change…