For What It's Worth

Friday, April 6, 2018

review: ivy aberdeen’s letter to the World by ashley herring blake


35604722When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen's house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm--and what's worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.

Mysteriously, Ivy's drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks--and hopes--that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings? ~
Goodreads





Source: arc provided in exchange for an honest review

Review:

Ivy Aberdeen is a 12 year old girl struggling to find her place. She’s an artist – often collaborating with her mother, an author of a popular children’s series, and drawing in her sketchbook. Only now, as her friends talk more and more about liking boys and asking them to school dances, Ivy keeps drawing girls holding hands. She’s not even sure what this means but senses that it’s something she should keep secret, especially after overhearing her sister react poorly to her best friend’s coming out.

After a tornado blows through their small town, destroying the Aberdeen home, the family is forced to live in close proximity (6 people in ONE room!) and things come to a head, leaving Ivy increasingly confused and isolated. Her mom has recently given birth to twins and has very little time to spend with Ivy. Her older sister is deemed helpful, while, middle child, Ivy’s questions and well meaning attempts to help just get in the way. Ivy's parents consider sending her to stay with a her best friend while they sort out better living arrangements, thinking she would have more fun, but Ivy sees it as yet another rejection by her family.

Ivy’s sketchbook goes missing after the chaos of the tornado and pages start appearing in her locker, sometimes with a note encouraging her to tell someone her secret. Ivy isn’t sure if it’s someone who is about to expose her or possibly June, the girl who makes Ivy’s stomach do flips whenever she’s around.

Ivy Aberdeen kept breaking my heart and putting the pieces back together again. Her confusion, her loneliness…I felt it bone deep. But I also felt her joy as she finds love and (self) acceptance from her friends and family.

Art as an outlet for expression of painful or confusing feelings is another strong theme in this novel. I love that even though not everyone is as good as Ivy, they still try and have fun with it. I’m not artistic, at all, but I could see the world in brushstrokes and colors through Ivy. She’s just a really relatable protagonist that you root for and want to wrap in a big protective hug.

I haven't read a lot of mid-grade, but the few that I have, have been wonderful - defying age classifications with universal themes. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World is one such book, tackling family dynamics, new and changing friendship dynamics and self discovery, making it perfect for readers young and old.

It’s an especially great addition for LGBQT MG readers as it discuss Ivy’s growing feelings for girls and has supportive adult characters who help Ivy work things out, show that life is messy and adults don’t always get it right or have all the answers.

Friendships, family, love – they aren’t always easy or perfect but they can get better.

23 comments:

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    1. It is! But super relevant and interesting to everyone imo.

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  2. This sounds wonderful! You know I've been looking for good MG books to read to W! THIS is the kind of book I'm looking for. I'm so glad I saw this post, Karen! You're review was lovely. (I'm a little concerned about the constant heart-breaking and repairing, though...)

    Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. She feels rejected by her family (they do love her though - there's just a lot going on) and my heart hurt for her but it is a happy book! It's so sweet!

      You know I don't like being sad lol

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    2. And also, I think a lot of kids do go through these feelings about siblings or during big events - so even though I wanted to wrap her up on a big hug - I think this book would help a kid process those feelings. And let adults see how a child views some of the things w say to them.

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  3. I just love how positive and wonderful MG books have been lately about important subjects, I think it's important for young kids because they go through these things in their own way as well

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    1. I don't read a lot of them but I've been so impressed by how relevant and universal they are. Of course they are wonderful for that age group but I think they are worth reading as an adult as well - just so you can understand what's going on int heir little minds.

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  4. Oh, this looks like such a wonderful read. Thank you for sharing. My best friend came out to me in high school and I always wondered about how that must have been for her at a time when there just wasn’t much talk about lgbtq issues. Thank you for sharing this; will def add to my list! Hope you are enjoying the weekend :) xoxo

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    1. I loved the author's dedication - "To me" because it was the book she wished she had as a child. I'm so glad there are more out there now.

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  5. While it's not my usual type of book, that sounds like a book that I could enjoy.

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    1. I'ts not mine either but I'm glad I took a chance on it.

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  6. I love that authors are coming out with LGBQT books for younger audiences!!!

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    1. Me too and it was such a beautiful book.

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  7. Wow this sounds really good, and I love that this is MG, definitely fills a need. I can't even imagine going through what Ivy is going through, especially at 12- she sounds like an amazing character! Great review :)

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    1. She had a lot going on - as did her family. It was beautifully written.

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  8. I have had my eye on this one for quite some time. I am so impressed with the MGs books I have been reading lately, and I love that the older leaning books are addressing themes like this. It sounds like the author did a wonderful job on this story, because your review had me feeling some feels.

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    1. She really did.I was more emotional than usual reading it, because I just wanted Ivy to feel loved and happy, but the author did an excellent job writing the family dynamics.

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  9. Yay, I can't wait to read this one. I'm glad you loved it so much, and that's awesome it's another good LGBT+ themed novel for the MG crowd. One of the only other ones I can think of - or I've read at least - is George by Alex Gino.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I've been meaning to read George. Is that MG? I thought it was YA.

      I'm 99.999999999999% sure you will LOVE Ivy!

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  10. omg THAT COVER! and that story! I'm already in love with Ivy Aberdeen and this book! I would be so anxious with those notes though! It reminds me a little of Simon and the homo sapiens agenda where he was blackmailed and someone threatened him to revel his identity!

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    1. It does have a bit of a Simon vibe because of the journal. It's not quite blackmail though so it's a little different in that regard.

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