Faith, Hope, and Ivy JuneTitle: Faith, Hope, and Ivy June
Author: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
ISBN: 9780385736152
Pages: 280 pages
Publisher/Date: Delacorte Press, c2009.

The fact was that when the invitation had come from the Buckner Academy for Girls to participate in a seventh-grade student exchange, the teachers at Thunder Creek Middle School had decided that any seventh-grade girl could submit her name. But she had to bring a note from home saying that the family was able and willing to take on a guest for two weeks. Ivy June had supposed that at least half the seventh-grade girls would turn in notes the next day, but at the end of the weke, only six families had said they were willing. After a teacher’s visit to each of those homes, the names had been placed in a coffee can and shaken around. The principal herself had drawn the winning name: Ivy June Mosley. (9-10)

This is how Phyllis Reynolds Naylor begins her newest story, Faith, Hope, and Ivy June. Ivy June Mosley is from Thunder Creek Kentucky, where she lives with her grandparents since her parents and four siblings ran out of room in their house. They have outhouses instead of bathrooms, rely on a ham radio to relay the news rather than telephones, and worry whenever a cave-in is reported in the mines. Catherine Combs is from Lexington, where she attends an all girls Catholic school, lives with her family in a house with four bathrooms, and has her own computer at home. When they visit each other for two weeks, the girls initially have a hard time relating to one another. Family emergencies for both the girls prove that sometimes, faith and hope is all you need to have in common with someone.

I read this book about a month ago, which I know is a big no-no in terms of reviewing books. Your supposed to review them while they are fresh in your mind, but there’s also something to be said for waiting and see what is memorable from the story and “sticks in your brain.” I remember being a little bored in the beginning, because of the slowness of the story. Although we get both perspectives from the journal entries, I wish the story would have alternated narrators, as opposed to just focusing on Ivy June. Ivy June and Catherine’s concerns and worries are real and complex, and the book provides a nice discussion point on stereotypes and what they include. I don’t think boys will be particularly interested in this book, but girls will appreciate the mostly light-hearted tale of friendship in unexpected places.