It seems like 11-year-old Ivy Blake’s dreams are coming true when she is reunited with her mother, but she quickly realizes that this is not the happy ending she’s been yearning for.
Ivy was first introduced as Prairie’s best friend in Prairie Evers (2012), but readers don’t need to have read that volume to enjoy this installment of Ivy’s story. When Ivy’s mother comes to collect her from the Evers’ home, where she’s been staying, Ivy has high hopes. But soon her mother’s bad judgment and temper return in full force, and Ivy is scared, lonely, and ashamed to tell the Evers family what’s happening. Still, Ivy keeps a level head as she forges onward, finding new friends and a means of self-expression by cultivating a newfound love of moviemaking. In the end, Ivy will have to choose between the life her mother wants for her and the life she is building for herself. Because this contemplative tale is character- rather than plot-driven and doesn’t shy away from Ivy’s emotional turmoil, it can feel somewhat dispiriting in places. Persistent readers, though, will become invested in Ivy and ultimately find her story quietly satisfying.
An uplifting coming-of-age story that foregrounds both the loss and the luster involved in creating an identity all one’s own. (Fiction. 9-12)