Monday, December 21, 2009

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June (MG)

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. 2009. Faith, Hope, and Ivy June. Random House. 280 pages.

They'll probably be polite--crisp as soda cracker on the outside, hard as day-old biscuits underneath.

Catherine Combs and Ivy June Mosley are about to get a chance to live each other's lives. Both are Kentucky girls, however, they live very different lives. Ivy June is a mountain-girl, a country-girl, a lives-without-running-water-girl, a girl with a big family and a big heart. Catherine is a city-girl, have-everything-girl. But just because her family has more money (at least to Ivy June's way of thinking) doesn't mean her life is perfect, her family is perfect. Ivy June is the first to venture forth. She'll visit Catherine for two weeks in her Lexington home. Then, Catherine will return with her to stay for two weeks. Can these two strangers--two seventh graders--become friends? What can they learn from each other? How will this experience change their lives?

One thing that surprised me--more because I haven't thought that much about it, I suppose--is how little it takes to make someone jealous or upset. Ivy June's back-home friends becoming upset when she returns to school with a new hair clip (or hair bow). How her wearing her hair differently to school one day means that she's returned some horribly changed, unrecognizable person. People are so much more than that. They are more than their hair, their clothes. Ivy June can't stop being herself, her genuine-and-compassionate self just because Catherine loans her a hair clip or shirt.

I enjoyed this one. I enjoyed spending time with both girls--with both narrators. It's definitely a coming-of-age, learning-life-lessons type of book. One where Big Things happen for both girls.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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