Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

Book review by
Becca Weinstein, Common Sense Media
Faith, Hope, and Ivy June Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Similarities trump differences in true friendship.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

A lot of reflection on the importance of overlooking differences to form friendships based on what really matters. Characters focus less on materialism as the novel progresses.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Catherine and Ivy June each decide to learn about, accept, and put aside the differences of the other, even rejecting some of the beliefs of their own families and friends to do so.


A mining accident is described in detail and a few deaths are mentioned. A main character's mother falls very ill. Families quarrel.


Relationships stay at the “crush” level, with some flirting and kissing between the middle schoolers. Some talk of boyfriends, flirting, kissing, and bras. One mention of an illegitimate pregnancy: “…except being pregnant without a husband.”


Jell-o and a few other brand names are mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there are some quarrels within families, as well as between friends, but that there isn’t too much to worry about. There are also issues of loss and grief, as each girl comes close to losing a close family member, one to sickness and one to a mining accident.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycorie.texas08 May 24, 2012

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

I'm a teacher and used this as a book club book for my 4th grade class. It is an easy way to show kids what it would be like to have to move to a school w... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byUseursense August 17, 2013


If u don't know what to read, READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!! It is about friendship, and it is AWESOME!
Kid, 12 years old April 8, 2013

One of the Best Books I've Read!

The characters of this book serve as really realistic, and often, very good role models. What I find particularly awesome about this book is its character devel... Continue reading

What's the story?

Although they live only a few hours apart in Kentucky, Ivy June Mosely and Catherine Combs come from two drastically different homes. Ivy June lives in the mountains of Thunder Creek, where she resides in her grandparents’ rural house with no cell phone reception and just enough means to get by. Catherine comes from a more suburban neighborhood, with white shutters, brand-name clothes, and significantly more income. To broaden their horizons, the two girls participate in a student exchange program through their middle schools to see how another girl their age lives. The two write in journals throughout the broadening journey, reflecting on their differences, but more importantly, their similarities.

Is it any good?

In this touching tale of an unlikely friendship, the message of "the grass isn't always greener" comes through clearly. So do deeper messages of self-acceptance and the importance of being a good person over having the nicest clothes -- all great concepts for middle school girls who are constantly comparing themselves to their peers.

The vast chasm between the two girls’ lifestyles seems a bit exaggerated, and borderline politically incorrect -- most rural homes nowadays don't have outhouses. But the suburban/rural exchange premise is plausible.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about accepting what one has instead of wanting the material items or family dynamics of another. Is it better to appreciate aspects of your own house?

  • How important are material items to your family? What's more important?

  • Do you have friends from different backgrounds? Is it possible to set aside differences to become friends, like Ivy June and Catherine?

Book details

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