Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen's house is destroyed in a tornado, but this is only one of the horrible things Ivy is having to deal with. Her older sister, who used to be her best friend, is not someone she can trust anymore, and Ivy has a lot of things that are confusing her. She also experiences her first crush, but it's on a girl: June Somerset. The more time she spends with June, the more she realizes that her feelings for June are not platonic. But Ivy has no one to turn to. It takes some anonymous notes, many drawings, and a few scary conversations for Ivy to start figuring out who she is and where she belongs in the world. At the end, she comes to terms with the fact that she's still figuring herself out (and that's okay), and that she belongs with her imperfect but very loving family.
What an amazing book! Ivy is such a realistic and memorable character that she comes to life from out of the pages and will cement a firm place in every reader's heart. The author does such a wonderful job of tackling relatable issues that affect young teens everywhere. She also does a great job of discussing sexuality and identity in a way that is not vulgar or pushing an agenda—Ivy realizes that she likes girls and struggles with feeling out of place, but the reader is left with a sense of hope and security for Ivy's feelings and future. This book is more than just a story about a girl who likes other girls—it's the story of every middle child who's felt underappreciated and invisible, the story of every kid who's experienced a family tragedy, the story of every kid who's wondered and wished and felt antsy about their place in the world. Any reader will find a little bit of themselves in Ivy, no matter how young or old they are. This book stands out among all middle grade and young adult titles.