Saturday, January 19, 2013

ARC Review: Ivy in the Shadows by Chris Woodworth

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
208 Pages

After Ivy's stepfather disappears, Ivy's mama begins waitressing at Dining Divinely to make ends meet. She also takes in a boardertwelve-year-old Caleb, who's the same age as Ivy and is the weirdest guy she's ever met. With Mama working full-time, Ivy has to babysit her little brother, JJ. She also has to fend off the nosy Pastor Harold; stop Caleb from filling JJ's head with lies; and keep her best friend, Ellen, from knowing anythingabout her embarrassing situation at home. 

Ivy has always found out all she needs to know by lurking in the shadows (some might call it "eavesdropping"). But as things at home become more complicated, she learns to step into the light and not only listen but speak up.


Ivy in the Shadows is a cute middle grade story that is sure to entertain.

Ever since Ivy's stepfather, Jack Henry, walked out on her mama, things have been going downhill. First, mama starts making them go to church again so that she can connect with the congregation and practically beg for help. Then her little brother, JJ, meets Caleb, who Ivy is sure keeps making up stories to impress JJ and to make matters worse mama offered to take him in until his missionary parents get settled in in their new town! All the while, her best friend, Ellen starts acting weird and trying to fit in with the popular people. 

I fell in love with this story. Ivy reminded me a lot of myself at that age. She felt pressure from everyone, but she didn't know how to tell people. She's in the verge of adolescence, and confused by all of these new developments, but I think that overall, she handles every situation she is put in well. Especially when you are reminded that she's only twelves-years-old. Ivy is a very strong character and I sincerely enjoyed reading from her perspective. I loved all of the characters in this book. While I got frustrated with Aunt Maureen towards the end, it's obvious that she's only trying to help. Caleb and JJ are sweethearts, even if JJ got too rowdy at times. My heart went out to Caleb, and by the end I wanted nothing by happiness for him. I wanted them all to be happy and for everything to work out for them.

Ivy in the Shadows is a really relatable story. I think kids of all ages will be able to identify with some part of it. I mean, I'm a college student and I understood everything that Ivy was going through and how hard it was on her. The author is vey skilled at portraying real issues. The things that occurred, and the characters that were introduced in this novel were believable and that's probably one reason that I was so charmed by it.

This is a pretty short novel. It moves at a slow, albeit it steady pace. I read it in two sittings, partially because of the length and partially because I was taken with Ivy's voice and the story she told. Ivy in the Shadows is a sweet novel that will be enjoyed by middle schoolers, but it isn't to them. As you can see, I enjoyed it immensely and I'm an adult. It was a great, heartfelt read. 

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review.

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