Title: Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Number of Pages: 309
Twelve-year-old Ivy’s house is destroyed in a tornado and she has to stay in a shelter with her family. Her twin baby brothers have been getting all the attention and Ivy feels ignored by her parents and her older sister. Her feelings of loneliness are complicated by Ivy’s burgeoning attraction to other girls, and the disappearance of a sketchbook she’s filled with drawings of girls holding hands.
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World is a moving and age-appropriate exploration of sexual identity, with a main character who is likable and realistically flawed. Ivy had a lot of hard stuff going on in her life but her family is ultimately supportive and nothing is too tragic. The novel focuses on family relationships and how they gradually grow and change as a child gets older, and I liked how the book handled Ivy’s crush on her straight friend June.
Ivy’s passion for drawing is also well-incorporated and involving. This is the first book I’ve read by Ashley Herring Blake and it’s made me interested in reading more of her novels. I’ll probably read The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James next, because it sounds like it has themes in common with Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World and should be less depressing than Girl Made of Stars.