Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

Fall 2009 Fiction
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
ISBN: 978-0-385-73615-2
Hardcover Price: $16.99
Ivy June is a bit nervous about her upcoming exchange program. For the first time, she is going to leave her home in the Kentucky mountains and spend two weeks at the home of a girl who goes to a fancy private school in Lexington; and then she is going to have to show Catherine, her host turned guest, her own family's dilapidated home and struggling lifestyle. Ivy June's parents, siblings, and friends are all giving her a bit of a cold shoulder, expecting her to come back from Lexington with a swelled head and outsized expectations of life. Only her grandparents are in favor of the program. But as Ivy June and Catherine spend four weeks together and separately write in their journals, they discover several similarities; and when each girl becomes worried about her family, they find support in their new friendship.

Both characters are engaging, and their family dynamics and class differences are sensitively and subtly portrayed; Naylor does not reduce either girl or either location to a stereotype. Many young readers will be interested in the descriptions of life in the Appalachian mountains, but the real draw is in the girls' exploration of their own feelings about their families and friends. The premise of an exchange program gives this teen friendship novel an interesting and refreshing twist.

Naomi Lesley   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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