Ivy in the Shadows by Chris Woodworth
Posted by Krystal Larson at 1:50 AM Thursday, January 10, 2013
After Ivy's stepfather disappears, Ivy's mama begins waitressing at Dining Divinely to make ends meet. She also takes in a boarder—twelve-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 anything about 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.
I almost always have trouble connecting with characters in books meant for younger audiences. Twelve year-old Ivy was an exception to this rule. Smart, serious, and relatable, Ivy drove the story forward with her efforts to protect her family during a difficult time. I admired Ivy and admonished her as I read when I suspected her ideas would end badly.
Ivy’s mother recently divorced Ivy’s stepfather. Rather than paying child support to aid in the upkeep of Ivy’s younger, half-brother JJ, Ivy’s stepfather leaves town. Now, Ivy’s mother and best friend Maureen spend hours thinking of ideas to earn money. One of these ideas result in the taking in a border Ivy’s age named Caleb. With a seemingly never-ending supply of stories, Caleb is slowly taking over Ivy’s role as caretaker of her younger brother. Another idea of Maureen and Ivy’s mother leads to Ivy’s mother working long hours at a restaurant, leaving Ivy to run the house. Ivy’s life is in a state of change through the course of the book.
Kids between the ages of nine and twelve could relate to Ivy and enjoy reading about her life. Ivy in the Shadows was a fun and easy read. I give Chris Woodworth’s efforts four out of five stars.
*Reviewed by Kristin*
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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.
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