Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World
by Ashley Herring Blake
read in July 2018
rating: 4 stars
This is a spoiler-free review!
When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen’s house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm–and what’s worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.
Mysteriously, Ivy’s drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks–and hopes–that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings?
Ashley Herring Blake is one of my favourite authors so naturally, I had to read her middle grade debut. It took me a while to get through Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World because I’m in a massive reading slump, so it’s definitely not the book’s fault. I’d go weeks without picking it up but whenever I did, I could easily follow the plot and the characters.
When a tornado destroys Ivy’s family’s house, the aftermath is devastating. They don’t have a place to live and they’ve lost all of their belongings. Ivy can’t find her notebook anymore in which she drew numerous pictures of her holding hands with girls. She doesn’t know yet what those pictures mean and she’s terrified they’ll get in the wrong hands.
This novel is a beautiful story about family, friendships and coming to terms with your sexuality at an early age. I teared up and Robin, who is a lesbian side character, was amazing! I also love that Ashley Herring Blake normalises the word ‘queer’ by writing it casually in this book.
The ending wasn’t 100% perfect, “everything is okay”; but it was very hopeful. I personally prefer endings like this and I applaud the author for taking this approach in a book that’s aimed at a younger audience.
I recommend picking this up and I will definitely purchase this author’s following middle grade novel The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James.
content and trigger warnings for tornado, mentions of Leukaemia
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World is a heart-warming middle grade novel and I will continue to read everything Ashley Herring Blake writes!
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