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Middle Grade Fiction 209
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What worked:
The narrative is told from multiple points of view, mostly focusing on Ivy and Ronan. These two students have vastly different motivations for attending West Archer Academy and it’s helpful to know what they’re thinking. Ivy has her life goals planned out as she’ll eventually become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. She doesn’t want friends and other distractions to derail her plans. Ronan has never been a dedicated student but he wants to attend the boarding school where no one knows his mother is a psychic. The third point of view is from Abigail who is one of the Evers. She introduces the conflict that becomes the focus in the second half of the book. Abigail’s best friend disappeared decades ago and it seems Ivy bears a striking resemblance to her. There are a few other chapters with flashbacks to inform readers of events from decades or centuries ago.
The author slowly develops the topic of eternal life to help Ivy and readers accept the idea. There are mentions of character experiences that couldn’t have happened until Abigail reveals the truth to an unbelieving Ivy. Being immune to aging, diseases, and most injuries creates discussion about the topic of living forever. It may seem like an ideal concept for mortals but the Evers share a different viewpoint. They’ve experienced the downside of living eternally among humans who must die and a couple of the characters express some regret for their situations. This difficult mixture of feelings provides readers with food for thought about the possibility of living forever.
The character relationships add intrigue to the plot. The author mentions Abigail’s younger brother James but he’s absent for most of the plot. The two of them had a disagreement in the past but readers are left to wonder about the source of the problem. Abigail is also Ivy’s roommate and she enlists Ivy’s help in finding out what happened to her best friend Grace. Este is the “oldest” Ever and she displays great animosity toward Ivy. Ivy has no idea where the anger comes from but she avoids being near Este whenever she can. Ronan becomes closer to Ivy but he’s unaware of the Evers and the issues they’re dealing with. His importance in the plot is minimal until Ivy discovers a secret he’s hiding and asks him for help.
What didn’t work as well:
Readers will connect with Ivy’s character but the rest of them aren’t developed as much. Ronan is absent from most of the scenes involving the Evers and Abigail is mostly focused on finding Grace. Little is known about the other Evers until some secrets are shared toward the end of the book.
The final verdict:
Ivy’s challenging relationship with the Evers carries the story and readers will appreciate the difficulties that arise. The book addresses common thoughts about eternal life and may inspire readers to consider them too. Overall, this book is enjoyable and thought-provoking and I recommend you give it a shot.
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