Friday, May 25, 2012

Ivy by Sarah Oleksyk

Ivy is an artist and growing up in a tiny Maine suburb.  Ivy wants to go to art school, but her mother wants her to do something practical and reliable, like business.  Ivy thinks she's finally met someone who really understands what she's about at an art college fair, and after a terrible fight with her mom they run away together.  But life on the road is not what she expected, and neither is her kindred spirit.

Ivy was so angry.  It was startling to see it.  She had an incredible amount of anger inside her about all sorts of things, and it kept bursting out.  She's grown up with just her mom, who doesn't seem like the most reliable person.  She's often going out on dates (and bringing men home) and leaving Ivy to take care of things like cleaning up and cooking.  She wants Ivy to go to business school close by, while Ivy wants to go to art school far, far away from Maine.  Ivy's mother is clearly afraid that Ivy will end up like her, but it doesn't help Ivy much to hear her mother tell her that she should make the same mistakes.  We know what she means, but what kid wants to hear that she was a mistake?

Ivy has a couple close friends, but at the beginning of the book it's clear that they're being pushed away by Ivy's moods and anger.  Ivy is not only angry all the time, but she's incredibly self-absorbed.  One of her friends has an abusive father, and she had no idea that he was having an especially bad time because she never asked.  As her friends shut her out, Ivy just gets more and more angry, lashing out at her teachers, her mother and anyone else in the general area.

Then at a college fair in Boston she meets Josh, a photographer and the two begin a long-distance relationship.  They exchange letters and phone calls and he seems just perfect and completely understands her when no one else in the world does.  He comes to visit her and the two have a wonderful time, although we start to see that Josh can be pretty erratic.

After a terrible fight with her mother where Ivy is told she can't go to the art school she got a full scholarship to, she takes off and head's for Josh, who is currently living with his grandmother.  Josh doesn't seem especially happy to see her, but after a fight with his grandmother they both run off, trying to hitch to Josh's brother in Atlanta.

At first everything is great and Ivy loves being with Josh, but after a little while together, Josh isn't as fun to be with.  He's reckless and inconsiderate.  Ivy begins to question her decision to run away.

I didn't like Ivy as a character, not at all.  She's pretty unpleasant.  However, she was a very real teenager, full of confusion and anger and not knowing what to do with it.  She doesn't have the support to help her.  She has to figure things out by herself and learn from her mistakes, which she does.

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