What Happend to Ivy by Kathy Stinson
Published by Second Story Press, 2012
What if your severely disabled sister were to suddenly die and you suspected that your father had played a role in her death? What if your best friend, a girl you've started to like as more than a friend, thinks your dad can do no wrong? Could she be right? What if she's not? That's life for fifteen-year-old David Burke after his sister, Ivy, dies in a suspicious drowning. David is forced to wrestle with moral questions and the definition of what is right, what is merciful and what can be forgiven. Readers will be pondering the questions this story raises long after they have found out what did happen to Ivy.
Why I Read This:
Ethical and moral dilemmas are like brain candy to me.
At 146 pages, this is a pretty short book. It's a simple story as well. However, when I picked up this book, there was no denying it's powerful message and sincere voice.
David is a 15 year old kid who struggles to keep friends, feels invisible to his parents, and resents his mentally challenged sister who takes up much of his time. When a new neighbor moves in across the street, someone his mother was once close to, David sees his chance to finally grab someone's attention - someone who finally understands that Ivy's disabilities aren't his own. Someone who treats her with respect despite her simple "flaws".
But when they go to the cottage that summer something happened to Ivy, and David's father may be the one responsible.
This book was so powerful. It made me realise how little I know about people who are mentally challenged, and how very little the world knows about what their families do for them on a daily basis. It brought up so many questions and really showcased the complexities of this world.
I wanted to cry a hundred times, both for David and for Ivy. It made me feel sick when David admitted the things he had done to Ivy, both those he knew were wrong and those he didn't. Then David's father admits some things as well...it was so sad and so infuriating. But then I got to know the reasons behind those things and even though I didn't agree...it was like...yes, people really can believe they are doing the right thing. Even when looking from it on the outside, looking at all sides, we don't really know.
I wish we had more books like this one. It really showed how complex these situations are and made me really take a look at my own misconceptions.
I really cannot say enough positive things about this story. It's a very important one. And I hope that many more people will read it.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.