Anyone but Ivy Pocket
By Caleb Krisp
Expected publication April 21, 2015 by Greenwillow Books
Ivy is a young maid who find herself in need of a new position. Luckily, she is summoned by a wealthy and dying Duchess, who enlists her help in carrying out her final wishes. Unfortunately, doing so puts Ivy in unimaginable danger. It's a good thing Ivy has such a plucky spirit - otherwise, she'd never survive.
I'm pretty sure this was a title I downloaded simply because it was middle-grade and it sounded like it might be fun. I'm not really sure what to make of this book in the end.
I had a really hard time getting into this. First, Ivy is a bit of a pill. It was never entirely clear to me if she was meant to satirical or serious, so I struggled with her as character. Her personality doesn't really change throughout the story and her inability to think any way other than her way leads to some frustrating moments. Additionally, I had a hard time believing Ivy as a 12-year-old. Well, perhaps that statement isn't exactly true. I had a hard time believing she was a 12-year-old with a full-time job that no one seemed all that concerned about. Partly because of Ivy's character, I also struggled with the tone of this one. Is the whole thing meant to be a satire, poking fun at characters like Amelia Bedelia? Or are we meant to take Ivy and her situation seriously? I don't know and the tone doesn't make it any clearer. Additionally, Ivy's inability to think outside her own little box seems to be the only thing that really drives the plot forward. This makes for a somewhat tiring sequence of events.
However, the plot does pick up a bit eventually. Readers are introduced to the complicated history of the artifact Ivy has been tasked with delivering and it's pretty interesting. There seem to be hints of more books in the future; certainly there is a very complex secret society kind of thing going on that could be further explored in future volumes. If there are to be more books about Ivy, I don't think I'll be coming back for them. Overall, there wasn't enough in this to capture my interest. Other reviews seem to generally be more favorable, and there is certainly a history of characters like Ivy in successful children's literature, so your mileage may vary.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.