Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen's house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm--and what's worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.Mysteriously, Ivy's drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling...

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Title:Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World
Author:Ashley Herring Blake
Rating:

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World Reviews

  • Laura (bbliophile)

    I was on the verge of tears or actually crying the entire time while reading this book. Wow.

  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    I don’t read a lot of middle grade novels, and when I do, they’re generally exclusively fantasy or historical fiction. When I think of MG contemporary novels, it’s not typically a book I’m going to reach for. That said, I have adored Ashley Herring Blake’s YA novels so tremendously (as you can see from my raving reviews of

    and

    ), that I knew I would love this little MG story, too, and was elated when she sent me an ARC.

    I don’t read a lot of middle grade novels, and when I do, they’re generally exclusively fantasy or historical fiction. When I think of MG contemporary novels, it’s not typically a book I’m going to reach for. That said, I have adored Ashley Herring Blake’s YA novels so tremendously (as you can see from my raving reviews of

    and

    ), that I knew I would love this little MG story, too, and was elated when she sent me an ARC.

    Ivy is such a precious, believable little character. She is so kind and loving, but struggles with a myriad of emotions that anyone who’s ever lived through the preteen years can relate to. She is jealous of her new baby siblings, misses her mother’s undivided attention, sees her father as her hero, and wants nothing more than to go back to calling her big sister Layla her best friend. There’s just one thing about Ivy that makes her feel a little bit

    from the other kids her age.

    Ivy is only interested in other girls, and at the time that we meet her, she’s still questioning a little bit, but mostly just scared to admit her orientation to herself, much less the people who love her. When she develops a crush on a classmate, June, she realizes quickly that there’s a name for the confusion she’s been feeling, but her entire life is already in upheaval and she doesn’t quite know how to cope.

    One of the scariest aspects of coming out, for June, is her big sister’s opinion on the matter. A recent fight between Layla and her best friend – also a queer girl – has left Ivy feeling unsafe among her own family. Ashley Herring Blake weaves this beautiful portrayal of how painful it is to feel unaccepted by one’s own loved ones, and how terrifying it can be to know that a part of your identity, something you could never change even if you wanted to, could make them see you differently or love you less. I’ve been there and felt those fears, as I know most queer individuals have, and it positively made my heart ache for Ivy every time the topic was breached.

    Ivy also suffers a lot of frustrations due to the utter lack of normalization and acceptance of queer individuals in her rural Georgia town, and from one Georgia gal to another, I related so hard to everything that pained her in this aspect. I grew up knowing so few

    queer individuals that I could’ve counted them on one hand until reaching my late teens, and I saw so little representation of LGBTQ+ relationships that I didn’t even understand my own desires for a very long time. Had I been shown how healthy and normal it was for a relationship to be comprised of anything other than one cis man and one cis woman, I can’t imagine how much it would’ve improved my self-worth and views on the world as a kid.

    Despite how abnormal queerness may feel to Ivy in the town she lives in, though, there is a bright light in the dark: a young black lesbian named Robin, who takes Ivy under her wing as soon as she notices that there’s something Ivy hasn’t quite come to terms with. Robin was my favorite character by far, because she was so maternal and kind, and reminded me so much of not only a figure I wished desperately I’d had as a teen, but also the kind of woman I desperately want to be for the children in my life, present or future.

    Robin never made Ivy feel silly, out of place, or as though she were overreacting in her fears and confusions. She also never pushed Ivy into labeling herself, and encouraged her to take some time to figure things out, explaining that there was nothing wrong with questioning your sexuality or abstaining from labels. I honestly

    for this character and everything she represented, as well as the fact that her own back story showed Ivy it was possible for a queer woman in the rural south to grow up, be happy, have a wonderful relationship, and embrace her sexuality. Ashley Herring Blake understands that it’s so incredibly crucial that queer books showcase the fact that LGBTQ+ individuals can have happy endings, too.

    Finally, more than any other topic touched on in this beautiful little tale, I adored the fact that we see Ivy learn that the people who genuinely love you, and matter, will accept and support and love you, no matter what your orientation or identity falls under. She has such an incredible support system, and though they are imperfect, they do everything they can to fix their mistakes and to make her feel safe and warm.

    I am so delighted to have had the chance to read an early copy of this book, and desperately hope that it is placed in every library, every school, and on the shelves of every child who has ever questioned their sexuality, or feared how the world will react to their identity. Ivy shows kids that being queer doesn’t have to mean a life of misery and fear and hiding, and that even if your friends and loved ones don’t always understand right away, if they truly need to be in your life, they will stand by you and treat you with the respect and love you deserve.

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  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    A middle grade novel about a girl realizing she likes girls! My queer little heart is so happy. If I had had this book when I was 12, high school would have been SO different. I want everyone to read this damn booooook.

  • lov2laf

    Some words to describe this book: Perfect. Beautiful. Poignant. Necessary. Long overdue.

    I loved it! So many thanks to the author for writing it.

  • Adriana

    This book is so perfect and beautiful and soft and thoughtful—the queer middle grade that kids have deserved for a long, long time. There was *nothing* I didn't love about this triumphant love letter to self-acceptance °✧◝(▿)◜✧°

    This book is so perfect and beautiful and soft and thoughtful—the queer middle grade that kids have deserved for a long, long time. There was *nothing* I didn't love about this triumphant love letter to self-acceptance °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

  • ambsreads

    Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World was a book I knew I was going to love before I even started it. I have read two others of Ashley Herring Blake’s works and loved them. Ashley has a talent of incorporating as much as feeling into her books as possible so you have no choice but to feel connected to her characters. Her books feel so short to me since I’ve read them all in one sitting, but they’re so damn good. Ivy Aberde

    Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World was a book I knew I was going to love before I even started it. I have read two others of Ashley Herring Blake’s works and loved them. Ashley has a talent of incorporating as much as feeling into her books as possible so you have no choice but to feel connected to her characters. Her books feel so short to me since I’ve read them all in one sitting, but they’re so damn good. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World was no different. I was so blown away by the beautiful writing, the emotions, the representation of mental health in a young person and just the connection of every character.

    Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World opens with a tornado raining down on her town. I’ve lived through a couple of cyclones (the Australian equivalent) and they were scary as heck. This tornado was so much worse than anything I’ve ever experienced and I was crying. What happens to the Aberdeen’s though is that their entire house is destroyed. They’re homeless. They end up in a hotel, where the owner is a lovely woman who’s girlfriend is coming to live with her soon. As the book continues Ivy deals with her own sexuality and the feeling of isolation in her own family. I truly believe there is something for everyone in Ashley Herring Blake’s books, and this one is no exception.

    L I K E S

    ✗ STRONG FAMILY TIES

    This review is high key just going to be praising Ashley Herring Blake. Ashley knows how to write a good family. No one is perfect and they’re always messy. There are problems interwoven into every family and a lot of books don’t accurately explain this. This particular book highlights the importance of family, but also how you don’t always feel included and that can be a bit shitty. I know I’ve had moments where I don’t feel as if I’m included in my own family and it really bloody sucks.

    Despite all the messy stuff that happens in the book the family ties are so strong. Really. As Ivy struggles with her identity it felt so important that she had her family. They make mistakes and with her being the middle child she is sometimes forgotten or labeled as too young but in the end it’s family that matters in the book.

    ✗ GOOD FRIENDSHIPS

    This is similar to my last point. The friendships are a bit messy, yes. But, they are so important to the story. They have their problems and the characters make mistakes and accidentally end up hurting each other but it’s because they care. You have to remember as well, since this is a middle grade the characters make mistakes and are also young. You really can’t critique their actions because this is how people act at this particular age.

    ✗ ADORABLE STORY

    This is one of the most adorable stories I have read to date. I smiled, a laughed, I cried and I was so damn happy by the time I finished it. It was amazing. I don’t know why this book affected me so much but it felt perfect honestly. I think the best part of this story was that when it ends you know it’s not over for Ivy Aberdeen. She has a long road of life to go and it will be a journey, but a journey I would desperately like to read about.

    I really can’t put into words how much this story made me feel and I hate it, because I want the world to know just how important Ashley Herring Blake’s books are to the world. They need to be read.

    ✗ MADE ME CRY

    Believe it or not, I was crying about 3% into this book. I was so heartbroken by the writing. The feelings that Ivy had towards her family’s home being destroyed in Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter To the World. I am a big crybaby but of late I haven’t been crying a lot – it’s a shock. So, when I started bawling during this book I was both confused and amazed.

    D I S L I K E S

    ✗ I REALLY CANT THINK OF A FLAW

    This is a little embarrassing, I literally can’t think of a flaw for this book. I have sat here for about thirty minutes thinking about a point in this book that I didn’t enjoy. I have nothing. It was basically a perfect middle grade story that you can fly through. I know it seems as if I’m sucking up the ass of the author by not adding a flaw (yeah, low key am oops) but I truly can’t think of something. I read this book in under two hours and the rollercoaster of emotion it took me on was so damn beautiful.

    Overall, Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World is one of my favourite books of this year. I am so happy I had the chance to read it because I enjoyed it more than I could have ever though. I can’t recommend this highly enough, even if middle grade or contemporary isn’t a genre you typically reach for. You should reach for this. It’s the perfect story of a teen dealing with her identity while displaced and I just…I have no words. Ashley Herring Blake is truly one of the most talented authors I have had the pleasure of reading

  • CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

    This is a beautiful, emotionally pitch perfect book about Ivy, a 12-year-old dealing with a lot: she's feeling left out of her family with two new twin babies; a tornado destroyed their house; she's realizing that she likes girls instead of boys. After the tornado, Ivy's notebook that has drawings revealing her feelings for girls goes missing. The way this book resists the urge to tie everything up in too neat a bow is lovely. The way this book dealt honestly and compassionately with its charact

    This is a beautiful, emotionally pitch perfect book about Ivy, a 12-year-old dealing with a lot: she's feeling left out of her family with two new twin babies; a tornado destroyed their house; she's realizing that she likes girls instead of boys. After the tornado, Ivy's notebook that has drawings revealing her feelings for girls goes missing. The way this book resists the urge to tie everything up in too neat a bow is lovely. The way this book dealt honestly and compassionately with its characters, young and old, reminded me a lot of Jo Knowles's See You at Harry's, another great LGBTQ middle grade novel!

  • Lola

    This book is an explosion of emotions.

    3.5 stars. I did not expect to be reading a middle grade story. This is my fourth book from this author, and I was sure I knew her style and genre of choice by now, but this just shows that authors will try different things—sometimes it works for them, sometimes it doesn’t.

    Well I sure hope Ashley Herring Blake will surprise us with more middle grade reads in the futu

    This book is an explosion of emotions.

    3.5 stars. I did not expect to be reading a middle grade story. This is my fourth book from this author, and I was sure I knew her style and genre of choice by now, but this just shows that authors will try different things—sometimes it works for them, sometimes it doesn’t.

    Well I sure hope Ashley Herring Blake will surprise us with more middle grade reads in the future. This is a powerful debut in that genre. It is not without flaws but I’m sure the author will learn from her mistakes and present us with something even more splendid next time.

    But let’s take a break from predictions of the future and focus on IVY ABERDEEN’S LETTER TO THE WORLD. How I wish there were LGBT middle grade books with characters that are questioning their sexuality when I was around eleven. Perhaps there were, but not in my library. So there was no heroine I could go to for answers as I was wondering if I was in love with my best friend. Yes, that did happen to me. Glad to know, nine years later, that I wasn’t the only one. (LOL)

    Ivy knows that she doesn’t think about boys the way her sister and her best friend do. But she doesn’t know for sure if she’s lesbian—that word, by the way, never comes up. She questions herself. Somehow, when she meets June, she finds answers but even more questions also. After she learns that her notebook, in which she spilled her deepest secret, disappears, Ivy becomes anxious and tries everything to find it back. What if it falls in the wrong hands—her sister, for instance?

    This author is known to write in the first person point of view, so I was surprised when she switched to third person for this book. More often than not, I wished I could get Ivy’s thoughts directly, without going through the omniscient narrator. Also, the names of the characters are repeated an exaggerated amount of times on each page. It was as though the author feared we would forget them—seriously?

    Last thing: Because Ivy is so introspective and asks herself so many questions, she often forgets to interest herself in other people, meaning that the only person we get to know well enough to connect with on a meaningful level is Ivy herself. At the same time, this *may* be why I came to love Ivy with all my heart… She is relatable, good-heartened and insightful. Perfect trio.

    Despite the imperfections, this remains an important and beautifully-told story. Shelves would be lucky to possess it.

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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    I have now five starred two books by this author and am contractually obliged to read everything she ever writes

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