by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
A quick caveat, though I find myself saying this often: I am a big fan of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. One thing I don’t often get to say on this site, though, is that I’ve been a lifelong fan of hers. I totally and completely devoured Alice, and Shiloh is a classic.
I would say the one thing that demoted this book was that the snippets on the back were misleading. It made it seem that the girls participating in the school exchange, Ivy June and Catherine, were at odds most of the time, when in fact it was just one small incident. Overall it was a great concept, even if the two girls seemed to goody-goody to be true. It was not all fluff, though – each one goes through a family emergency which strengthens their brief friendship.
There was a conflict with Ivy June’s best friend Shirl, which mostly resolves itself in a way that younger children could relate to, but not older ones, ones the ages of these characters. I thought there could have been more exploration of how to resolve a misunderstanding between friends other than just letting it shake out and letting one of them come to her senses – most young girls I know don’t work like that! But overall a great story and some really great geographical and current events learning (about Kentucky in general and mining in particular, also about making assumptions between rich and poor, city life and rural life).