Sunday, February 3, 2013
Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Faith, Hope, and Ivy June
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Delacorte, 2009)
Summary from Goodreads:
Ivy June Mosely and Catherine Combs, two girls from different parts of Kentucky, are participating in the first seventh-grade student exchange program between their schools. The girls will stay at each other’s homes, attend school together, and record their experience in their journals. Catherine and her family have a beautiful home with plenty of space. Since Ivy June’s house is crowded, she lives with her grandparents. Her Pappaw works in the coal mines supporting four generations of kinfolk. Ivy June can’t wait until he leaves that mine forever and retires. As the girls get closer, they discover they’re more alike than different, especially when they face the terror of not knowing what’s happening to those they love most.
Faith, Hope, and Ivy June is a sweet story of friendship and learning to look beyond stereotypes. I enjoyed getting to know both Ivy June and Catherine over the course of the story, and felt as if Naylor does a fairly good job of describing the lives of both girls without getting too sappy in the process. This is a great book for an upper-elementary/middle school library because it is an approachable book for that age range, and the story has elements that will appeal to those middle readers, especially girls.
As an adult, I felt the plot had a few holes, some of which I had a hard time getting past. Some events are just too contrived to be believable, and the ending left me a little cold. However, I think middle grade girls who love realistic fiction stories about friendships and love happy endings will thoroughly enjoy this book.