Sunday, March 20, 2022

Meant to Be

Knowles, Jo. Meant to Be
March 15th 2022 by Candlewick Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

In this companion to Where the Heart Is, we pick up with Rachel and Ivy's new life in the Applewood Heights apartment building, focusing on Ivy's experience. While she loved the family's farmhouse as much as Rachel, Ivy is finding more things about living in an apartment that she likes. She has friends in the building, and it's easy to visit them. She loves to watch Bake It to Make It! with Alice and Lucas, and the trio then collects ingredients from other residents to make the week's challenge, and then shares the product with their contributors. Ivy also works with the building superintendent, Donnalyn, fixing things in residents' apartments, and also refurbishing bikes. Ivy has her own family tensions, since her parents' finances aren't good, and they feel that living in Applewood Heights is something people only do when they are down on their luck, but her friends have bigger problems. Ivy wants to help, but Alice is upset about something with her mother, and doesn't even want to see Ivy. Alice's grandmother, with whom she lives, won't tell Ivy exactly what is going on. Lucas' father has a disability and uses a walker, but isn't interested in a wheelchair that Ivy wants to make. When her parents start to look for houses, Ivy is upset at the idea that she will have to move away from her friends. Can she mend her fences with Alice and Lucas after feelings are hurt?
Strengths: I liked that Ivy lived in an apartment building that was NOT in a big city, and that she rather enjoyed some of the features of living in one. Being able to visit Alice and Lucas whenever she wanted seemed like a lot of fun, and I loved how they included their neighbors in their baking exercises. There was just enough parental involvement to be realistic, and we did get glimpses of Rachel. The problems with Alice's mother having a drug problem and losing custody of Alice, as well as Alice's reactions to this, are realistic. With as many children in the US being raised by grandparents, you would think that more middle grade characters would be in this situation. The sense of community was really wonderful. The message about being considerate of friends' needs and asking before helping them was a really good one, and while Ivy's learning curve was a little steep, she does start to understand how to be more considerate. 
Weaknesses: I'm still a little conflicted about the treatment of the family's financial reversals; the discussion about families only living in Applewood Heights until they could afford to move out seemed odd, especially since many of the older residents clearly where there for the long term. Perhaps this is just a function of Ivy's family having a change of circumstances? Not anything that young readers will question.
What I really think: I was hoping to get more information about Rachel, and will probably not buy this because Ivy seems so young. This would be a good stand alone for an elementary school library, and it wouldn't be necessary for readers to pick up Where the Heart Is first. 

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment