Margaret’s father has been wrongly convicted of arson and murder, found guilty by Judge Lucas Biggs. Knowing her father is innocent, Margaret is devastated. Encouraged by her good friend Charlie and his grandfather (who has a deeper connection to her family–and the Judge’s–than Margaret or Charlie realize) Margaret dares, for the first time, to use her unusual gift: the ability to travel through time. It is a genetic trait of the O’Malley family, one which they take an oath to respect and NOT to use.
Margaret, Charlie and Grandpa Josh believe Margaret can travel back to Judge Biggs’ youth in an effort to help him become in the present the good-hearted man he could have been. But “history resists,” as Margaret is told by her great-aunt in the past. And she finds this to be true. The roots of the conspiracies, personal anger and ugliness that lead to her father’s conviction are much deeper, darker and more twisted than Margaret could have imagined.
Margaret’s trip into the past has elements of both failure and success–as do many events in our own lives. The specific goal Margaret sets out to accomplish is not necessarily the one she achieves. Margaret begins to see people, her life and the lives of her family in a new, compassionate and inspiring light.
Saving Lucas Biggs is an interweaving of science fiction, fantasy historical and contemporary fiction. It was more than I expected as a reading experience. It is a classic story about what it means to care about each other written in a fresh, unexpected and compelling way. I loved that the plot did not necessarily rely on time-travel or supernatural events or devices to resolve the conflicts in Margaret’s life.
Saving Lucas Biggs could be an excellent read-aloud for upper elementary or middle school students. IT could also be used as a family bedtime reading selection for older children as it provides a springboard for appreciating those we love and discussions about values and what standing up for your beliefs might look like for you.