by Ashley Herring Blake
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The story opens just minutes before a tornado levels 12-year-old Ivy’s home. She and her family join the other victims in the school where Ivy’s extremely personal art journal goes missing. When they take a room at the inn, it’s like sardines in a can – Ivy, her older sister Layla, twin baby brothers, and mom and dad. Eventually Ivy’s parents send her to stay with her best friend, Taryn, where she feels like a burden to her family. On top of all this, she is trying to figure out her feelings for her friend June, and reconcile that with the fight she overheard between Layla and her best friend, where Layla was upset that she had learned of her friend’s girlfriend from someone else. Ivy interprets this to mean that Layla was upset that Gigi was gay, and infers that she can’t tell Layla about her own emerging sexual orientation. Ivy also is feeling distant from Taryn, who can’t possibly understand any of what she’s going through.
Ivy and June, and even Taryn, seem extremely mature and self-aware for 12-year-olds. I liked that Ivy has a trusted gay adult she can talk to and who is kind to her. I also liked that her parents made mistakes and then apologized. Most of all, I appreciated getting into the mind of an artist and hearing how she worked. This book was a lovely read, and gentle, despite its turbulent (emotionally and elementally) subject matter.