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Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis…
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Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

Hmm. I'm wondering if part of my apathy toward the book comes from reading it at the wrong time or something. It has all the pieces that I normally love in a story, but this time around it just felt a little tired. Then again, I'm tired, so who knows whether the book is to fault?

The characterization is pretty well done. Ivy June and Catherine are very typical twelve-year-olds, and they are painted with the right mixture of faults and merits to be neither saccarine angels or cliche cheeky devils. The characterization (now that I think about it a little more) might err slightly on the side of the generic, but it serves its purpose and is done very well.

The depiction of city life seemed really straight-on to me, warts and all. The attitude the "city folk" have toward their destitute neighbors is a very realistic cocktail of curiosity, snobbishness, pity, and (in some people) spite. I enjoyed watching Ivy June interact with the city for the first time, seeing my culture through the eyes of a newbie.

As for Ivy June's culture . . . I don't know. I was definitely stressing right alongside her when things got scary in the second half of the book, but when it comes to the town as a whole I had a hard time connecting. Do people really live like that, in America, in the 21st century? Are outhouses really still a thing out in rural areas? I have a hard time suspending my inside realist and accepting the fact that Ivy June lives such a ninteenth-century life. I couuld be completely wrong, though - I don't really know much about rural Kentuky. If anyone knows, I would love to learn whether this aspect of the story was realistic or not.

At the end of the day, I liked Faith, Hope, and Ivy June, but I wasn't swept away. I almost wanted more. The similarities and contrasts between Ivy June and Catherine was interesting, especially once things started going wrong in the second half of the book, but when I put the book down I felt almost apathetic toward it. Somehow I didn't really connect at all with the characters - I felt like I'd seen everything before. Perhaps you might be able to get more out of it than I did; I think it is a good book, it just didn't really do for me. ( )
  Jaina_Rose | Mar 1, 2016 |
This book is an example of a post modernism work. Both girls in the exchange program share in their journals so as a reader you are given two perspectives. In some ways I could relate to Catherine, nice house, healthy family and yet on the other hand, growing up on a farm where my house was near my grandparents and my days on the farm included enjoying the outdoors, I could understand Ivy June.
Curricular Connections:
This is a terrific read for a book club with young girls.
  JulieBFEL | Jan 27, 2016 |
This could have been a great story, but it was so out of touch with kids today. I seriously thought it was set in the 50's or 60's until about a quarter of the way through when it mentioned cell phones. Though it is supposed to be set in extremely remote small towns in the midwest, I still don't think teenagers say things like "that's swell" or "she's a cut up". Unfortunately this just annoyed me so much I couldn't fully appreciate the story. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
This could have been a great story, but it was so out of touch with kids today. I seriously thought it was set in the 50's or 60's until about a quarter of the way through when it mentioned cell phones. Though it is supposed to be set in extremely remote small towns in the midwest, I still don't think teenagers say things like "that's swell" or "she's a cut up". Unfortunately this just annoyed me so much I couldn't fully appreciate the story. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Two girls from very different backgrounds participate in an exchange program where they get to spend a few weeks at the other's house. Will their differences tear them apart, or will they find out that they are more alike than they thought? ( )
  saillergirl | Jan 18, 2016 |
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March 6 - They'll probably be polite - crisp as a soda cracker on the outside, hard as day-old biscuit underneath. Papaw says not to prejudice my heart before I've got there. But Miss Dixon says to write down what we think so we can compare it with what we feel after.
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During a student exchange program, seventh-graders Ivy June and Catherine share their lives, homes, and communities, and find that although their lifestyles are total opposites they have a lot in common.

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