Saving Lucas Biggs

Saving Lucas BiggsSaving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague. Harper Collins Children’s, 2014.
Margaret’s father has just been falsely and deliberately convicted of murder. Victory, Arizona is a mining town, and anyone who protests the way the town or the company is run can expect heavy retaliation. On his way to prison, he reminds Margaret of the family vow – time marches on and on in one direction. But Margaret is desperate to save her father, and when her best friend Charlie’s grandfather Josh turns out to know about her family’s secret ability to travel through time, she decides to break all the rules. She will travel back in time to 1938, to a time when Josh was a boy and the corrupt judge who sentenced Margaret’s father was his best friend. Young Josh, back in the 1930s, tells the story of his family’s move to Victory and the peaceful labor protests, violently subdued, that arise when workers protest being fired and left unable to pay for medical care when they are injured in the mines. Margaret and Josh hope to unravel the events that twisted his best friend unrecognizably – but it won’t be easy. History resists changes, so that their best-laid plans keep back-firing. And Margaret can only stay for one or two days before history’s objecting to her presence makes her so sick she can’t function…

This is a nicely thought-out time travel book, thinking of things like the difficulty of Margaret finding clothes in the present day that will pass as normal in 1938. The very tight limits on what time travel could accomplish meant that Margaret and Josh had to be very creative in both the past and the present. Though there are tragic consequences when the mining company fires on the tent city where the striking workers and their families are living in 1938, this is mostly a quiet, thoughtful book. It’s a rare and hopeful fantasy take on worker’s rights and the importance of nonviolent activism. The ending might be disappointing for kids looking for lots of whiz-bang magical action, but it is (on the other hand) satisfying to know that non-magical effort can be just as important. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and would recommend it especially to those interested in historical fiction and social justice.

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About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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