Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World

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Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake ~ 320 pages ~ published 3/6/18 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis:

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 her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks–and hopes–that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings?

 

What I Thought:

As a general rule, I don’t usually read middle grade novels. But, I took one look at that gorgeous cover and I said, “Yes, please!!” The main plot point of this book is the tornado that tears up Ivy’s hometown, and carries away her family’s home right along with it. They are living as a family of six in a small little bed & breakfast for most of the book, which leads to a lot of the tension in the novel. I felt like this was a wonderful look at how it feels to have something so essential to you torn away from you at a young age. You almost feel as if a part of yourself has gone missing.

However, the meat of this book lies in Ivy herself, and all of the feelings she is trying to identify in herself. Ivy is an artist, and therefore sees the world through drawing and color. I really enjoyed how Ivy seemed to process her emotions and how she see’s herself and others in prima-color.

The other big plot point in the book is when her sketchbook is stolen, and the “keeper” of the sketchbook starts giving Ivy’s drawings of girls holding hands back to her one by one. She is terrified that “keeper” (who remains anonymous until the end) is going to spill her secret – that she might be attracted to girls. The scariest part of this is that she is not entirely sure of how she is feeling herself.

I really enjoy Ivy’s relationship with June, the girl who she develops a friendship with, as well as develops her first crush on. Ivy’s relationship with her family I also enjoyed, but through many, many tears. Ashley Herring Blake perfectly captures that feeling of being misunderstood and unwanted when you are a pre-teen. I cried big fat tears through a large portion of this book! It was marvelous! πŸ™‚

I will leave you with two quotes from the book that I particularly loved:

“Maybe perfect was just another word for belonging. For feeling like yourself.”

“Wondering was how you found yourself.”

 

Rating:

5.0/5.0

I absolutely adored this book, and gave it 5 STARS! Even though this is a middle grade novel, it is certainly appropriate for adults as well. I highly recommend it! Keep a box of tissues handy πŸ˜‰ For reference, here is a picture of how much I enjoyed this book:

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This book releases on March 6, 2018 – you can pre-order it here, or through the link listed below.

**I received this book as an ARC from the bookstore where I work, Barnes & Noble. **


Are you interested in learning more about this book? Check out the links below!

Ashley Herring Blake’s Website

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World on Goodreads

Pre-Order Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World on BN.com

 

Love and happy reading,

Whitney

Posted in Subscription Boxes

Owl Crate Unboxing: February 2018 – Hidden Worlds

IMG_1190I discovered the magical world of book subscription boxes last year, and I have not looked back! This is such an amazing way to discover new books, as well as receive some really great bookish swag!

I have decided that I am going to start trying out a different book box every month or so in order to find which one is my favorite! There are so many of them out there! OwlCrate has been my longest running book box subscription, so it seemed fitting to post my first ‘unboxing’ with their February box!

 

OwlCrate February 2018: Hidden Worlds

IMG_1176When you first open the box, it is like a fun little treasure chest! The spoiler card lives right on top, and then you get to dig into the fun packing paper!

IMG_1185The theme of the February OwlCrate box was Hidden Worlds. All of the items in the box revolve around this theme of a hidden world within a book. OwlCrate always includes a spoiler card (which tells you details about each of the items featured in the box), as well as a mini mag that has interviews with the box’s featured author, profiles on the artisans that created some of the bookish swag, fun games, and a sneak peak at the next month’s theme! There is also always a fun button that features the artwork for the theme.

IMG_1179I am always excited about wearable book themed items! This particular one was of extreme excitement to me because I actually collect key necklaces! It was inspired by the key used in the story Coraline, and was created by the OwlCrate team! Plus, it came in a purple bag…it’s like they know me…

IMG_1181There is almost always a candle, or something of the sort in the OwlCrate box, and this one is quite lovely! Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia, this candle has notes of pine, mint and vanilla – which invokes the smells of a forest in winter. It was created by Books on Candles (by VIVLYO). I’m generally not a pine scented candle fan, but I do really enjoy this one!

IMG_1184I don’t know about you, but I am always in need of a good pouch! I am what my friends and family lovingly refer to as a “bag lady” (at least I think it’s lovingly…) so any sort of bag gets me instantly excited! This lovely zippered pouch is inspired by Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and illustrated by artist Risa Rodil.

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A precious sticker is another OwlCrate staple! This one features Alice and the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland (talk about a hidden world, am I right?!). It was designed by Naomi Lord. I have also included the super cute theme button again. πŸ™‚

IMG_1186This was certainly a first from a book box for me! I was thinking it was a scarf, but it just kept on unfolding! hahaΒ  Β It is, in fact, a wall tapestry! I have absolutely no clue where I am going to put this in my house, but I do find it very beautiful! It was designed by Evie Bookish.

And now for the book itself: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert!! I think this one sounds fascinating! Each OwlCrate book has an exclusive cover that is only available to OwlCrate subscribers! As always, this book came with a letter from the author, as well as some fun stickers. She also signed the book, which makes OwlCrate books extra special! I haven’t started this yet, but I cannot wait! Here is a brief synopsis (provided by OwlCrate):

Alice and her mother have always been on the run; trying to escape the never-ending bad luck that seems to follow them at every turn. When Alice’s grandmother, the author of a beloved collection of sinister fairy tales, passes away on her estate, the Hazel Wood, life goes from bad to worse. Alice’s mother is kidnapped by one of the characters from her grandmother’s stories! Alice will have to team up with Ellery Finch (who happens to be a huge fan of her grandmother’s book and may have ulterior motives for helping her), and journey to the Hazel Wood in hopes of saving her mother.

Ooh! I do love a good fairy tale book! I love retellings, but I also love a book that explores new, alternate fairy tales, as well as the dark side of said tales! This will be such a fun read!

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And there you have it! That was the February OwlCrate box! If you are interested in OwlCrate, you should go and check them out at:Β https://owlcrate.com/refer/Whitn-QNSNNRVT

Let me know if you have any questions about OwlCrate or any other book box subscriptions! Do you have a subscription box you love? Let me know in the comments!

Love and happy reading,

Whitney