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 with girls has gone missing.
Mysteriously, Ivy's drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to speak openly about her identity. Ivy thinks--and hopes--that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop feelings.
Spoiler: In the end, the drawings and messages are being sent by Ivy's best friend, Taryn, and unfortunately the girl Ivy has feelings for doesn't return them--but the novel ends on a tone of hope for Ivy and her identity.
Titles featuring prominent LGBTQ characters have been gradually finding their way to the young adult shelves--but even rarer are middle grade books featuring LGBTQ protagonists. The fact that middle grade books such as George
, Gracefully Grayson
, and Better Nate Than Ever
have main characters who are LGBTQ has gained each title widespread attention; and Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World
helps to fill an even rarer category still: lesbian characters in middle grade. Ivy Aberdeen
has the potential to be positioned as one of the few LGBTQ middle grade books pushing for more diversity on the shelves.
This sweet, tender novel has a strong voice in the vein of The Thing About Jellyfish
, strong potential for the School & Library market, and is an award contender.
"Blake captures all the exhilaration of a first crush without shying away from Ivy's confusion....The sisters' relationship is one of the great rewards of this novel that includes a large and vivid cast of secondary characters, who give the story its sense of abundant texture."--The New York Times Book Review
* " Ivy's story is no mere niche-filler in LGBTQ middle-grade realism--it's a standard-setter."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "This is an emotionally sensitive and elegantly written novel about loss and the first stirrings of love."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This necessary and emotionally complex addition to the body of middle-grade literature offers readers a positive, complex, and courageous portrayal of burgeoning sexuality and relationships within the world of junior high."--Booklist
"There are some books that we never forget. This is one of those books. Impactful, emotional, and important."--Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery award-winning author of Hello, Universe
"Blake creates a sensitive portrayal of a preteen who's begun to figure herself out but isn't sure how she meshes with others, and of the bumbling and overstressed, but well-meaning, friends and family around her."--The Horn Book
"A tenderhearted novel that should be in the hands of every reader."--Kat Yeh, author of The Truth About Twinkie Pie and The Way to Bea
"Ashley Herring Blake's novel captures the confusion, thrills and heartache of a first crush so perfectly that you will hold this book close to your heart."--Lisa Yee, author of the DC Super Hero Girls series
* "Filling a much-needed gap in middle grade literature, this story addresses not just the topic of a first crush, but also the invisibility frequently felt by middle children...Young readers will find Ivy's challenges very real and will sympathize with her choices, both good and bad."--School Library Journal, starred review