Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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Summary:  Ivy’s life is difficult enough before her house is demolished by a tornado one night.  In the months preceding this tragedy, Ivy’s been dealing with colicky new twin brothers, questions about why she keeps drawing pictures of girls holding hands, and a rift with her older sister that’s directly related to those questions.  While sheltering in the school gym after losing her home, Ivy befriends June, a girl who seems to have stepped out of one of her drawings.  The notebook with those drawings disappears the night of the tornado; then pictures from it start appearing in Ivy’s locker, with anonymous notes urging her to tell someone what is going on.  Ivy feels increasingly alienated from her family and friends until her thirteenth birthday brings a showdown that forces her to start talking about what she is feeling.  The final chapter, “Home”, takes place a year later and shows that Ivy has come to accept herself for who she is and to be okay with not having all the answers.  320 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  More than just a “coming out” book, this is the story of a struggle for self-acceptance that will resonate with many tween and teen readers.  Ivy is fortunate to have loving, supportive friends and family members and to be able to learn to return their love and support.  I hope this book gets some Newbery consideration.

Cons:  It took me a few chapters to really warm up to Ivy.

If you’d like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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