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IVY by Julie Hearn Kirkus Star

IVY

By Julie Hearn

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: June 17th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-2506-4
Publisher: Ginee Seo/Atheneum

Ivy’s wild red hair and porcelain skin get her daily work as a painter’s model, far from Victorian London’s slums, but she can’t escape a debilitating addiction to the popular drug laudanum. This entertaining Dickensian yarn introduces teen readers to sooty streets, scheming dodgers, ripe Cockney accents and 19th-century class struggles. The clear narrative voice remains agile throughout, nimbly documenting Ivy’s pitiful orphan existence in scenes both humorous and horrific. Readers will find themselves rooting for Ivy to take control as she sinks into numb, drug-induced stupors and allows herself to be continually exploited by bullying relatives, a pompous painter and his authentically evil mother. Hearn infuses Ivy with quiet luminosity and a feisty inner voice that convince readers she might fight to claim her own happiness. Teens will find such contemporary issues as addiction, animal cruelty and vegetarianism nestled comfortably within this clever work of historical fiction. Intricate, engaging language and quirky characters paint a vivid picture of the Victorian era. (Fiction. 14 & up)