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Saint Ivy: Kind at All Costs

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  52 reviews
A thoughtful middle-grade novel about caring for others and for yourself––and what it truly means to be kind and vulnerable

Thirteen-year-old Ivy Campbell has always been a good kid: She supports her soccer-star brother, bakes with her nana, and puts her friends’ needs before her own. So of course, Ivy is 100 percent supportive when her mom decides to be a gestational surr
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 18th 2021 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 2021)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
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Nicole
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I literally just finished Saint Ivy. I truly love this book. It is filled with so much heart. Ivy’s story is one that kids need to hear right now as they navigate not only a pandemic but finding their unique place in this world — who they are and who they want to be. It will be a welcome addition to my classroom library.
Gillian
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, middle-grade
I loved this heartfelt and engaging story! Readers will relate to Ivy, who wants so badly to be liked that she tends to push down her wants, needs, and emotions. Laurie Morrison is a master of the middle grade voice, and I was immediately drawn into Ivy’s life and her relationships with friends and family. It’s so rewarding to see how much Ivy grows in the span of the book. Highly recommended!
Lindsey Stoddard
Oh Ivy will stay with me for a long time. She is so relatable, and her journey in this story, toward self-kindness and the allowance for real feelings, is so important.
Laura Gardner
May 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Saint Ivy: Kind at All Costs by @laurielmorrison is a lovely, compulsively readable, emotional MUST READ. 🎉
Out one week from today!
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Ivy is known for being kind, but when her mother becomes pregnant as a surrogate for family friends, Ivy has confusing, conflicted emotions...and then a bit of an identity crisis. This is compounded when Ivy's friends start to find new interests and Ivy doesn't know what her interests are. She doesn't even know if she and her old friends make sense anymore. Meanw
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Melanie Sumrow
Mar 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Laurie Morrison does it again! A pitch-perfect story for those Upper MG readers, Saint Ivy takes on the story of a girl who tries to think of everyone else first, while ignoring her own feelings. Ivy must navigate her mom's surrogacy, first crushes, peer pressure and changing friendships (all so relatable for 8th graders as interests change and friend groups break and new friendships form). There's also a mystery element with an anonymous emailer! Highly recommend this one for kids who need to l ...more
Kathie
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss+ for an eARC of this book.

I loved the author's first solo novel, UP FOR AIR, so I was very excited to get an early copy of this book. Her experience as a classroom teacher helps her capture that upper middle grade experience so well, and I'm SO glad this novel will be out there for kindhearted kids who need to see how important it is to extend some of that kindness to themselves.

Ivy is used to playing the role of support for her friends and family, but wh
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Cassie Thomas
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
“Drama. Nana didn’t like that word. Ivy had used it once in front of her— she couldn’t remember why— and Nana had said it “minimizes legitimate feelings and conflicts, and people only use it when they’re talking about girls.””

I remember so vividly the way it felt to be the “third wheel” with friends. Ivy trying to find her way back in to her best friend group was cringey, but in a way that I could relate and I’m 31 years old. I know students are still experiencing this on a daily basis. It’s tou
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Melissa
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was so excited to see that Laurie Morrison had another book coming and Saint Ivy definitely lived up to my expecations. I read almost the entire book in one sitting and didn't want it to end! Ivy is struggling with finding out what is the 'thing' she is good at and will be know for among her friends and family. In the past, it has always been being kind to others--which is where the nickname SAINT Ivy came from. Lately though, she doesn't feel very kind and is struggling with a lot of friend a ...more
Bonnie Grover
Jul 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: student
“Is it possible to be too kind?” Ivy Campbell is a middle school girl doing her best to fit in. She is not the smartest or the most athletic, but she can always be counted on to be there for her friends. Her mom decides to be a surrogate for a family and this leaves Ivy feeling disconnected and jealous. Ivy is trying to understand the complicated web of friends as she finds herself in the third-wheel position. Spending time baking with her Nana is how she tries to sort through life’s complexitie ...more
Jes
Feb 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Ivy is all about kindness. It's her thing. So, when Ivy receives an anonymous email she's determined to help the sender. Using clues she does her best to figure out who the sender is and helps however she can. But it isn't always easy to be kind. Ivy feels distant from her two best friends and her mom is acting as surrogate for her best friend. All of this change makes Ivy feel uncertain and guilty when she finds herself thinking unkind thoughts. As Ivy puts others before herself, she finds it h ...more
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
Ivy believes that being kind is what she does best—so much so that some kids have taken to calling her “Saint Ivy.” The nuanced nature of kindness comes to the fore as Ivy navigates her complicated life, which includes her parents’ divorce; her dad’s partner, Leo; her mother’s decision to become a gestational surrogate; and her own changing friendships in middle school.
Chelsey
Nov 22, 2020 rated it liked it
This review is based on an E-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher.

Everybody's got their thing, and Ivy's thing is being kind. That's what Ivy thinks, anyway. She goes out of her way to be a listening ear to her friends, to bake surprises for her neighbors, and to be sure she doesn't say anything that might upset someone else, even when her own feelings are hurt. But when her year starts to overflow with stress - her mom has volunteered to be a gestational surrogate, her best friend is sta
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Amy Makechnie
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
Laurie Morrison took me right back to middle school with SAINT IVY: KIND AT ALL COSTS. What a great read! I could FEEL the awkwardness, the uncertainty, the insecurity. I could relate to 13-year-old "Saint Ivy," who's just trying to do the right thing, but sometimes annoys others for trying to be so "good" all of the time. Laurie tackles difficult situations of today, like having divorced parents, a gay dad, a mom as a surrogate mother, a brother in therapy learning to cope with his emotions - a ...more
Jenn Bishop
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Saint" Ivy is brimming with compassion and kindness. She's the first to notice hurt feelings among her peers, and she's always there to the rescue with baked goods. But how in touch is she with her own feelings? What does it mean to be kind to yourself?

Laurie Morrison is one of my favorite authors writing for young people -- she just gets that middle school audience. SAINT IVY: KIND AT ALL COSTS is a book with so many entry points for kid readers, from its mystery plot-line (who *is* the myste
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Laurie Hnatiuk
May 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher Amulet Books for a digital ARC of this title to read.

I knew nothing about Saint Ivy: Kind at All Costs, but I did know I would read it because of how much I enjoyed Up for Air. I did not read any blurbs or background, and based on the title thought maybe about doing good deeds. I just dove in and was a bit surprised because I had not read a book that tackled this theme.

Ivy, the main character, is struggling to find "her thing." She believes that being ni
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Pam
May 09, 2021 rated it liked it
I received an electronic ARC from ABRAMS Kids through NetGalley.
Charming story of a middle school girl learning to accept and cope with the full range of her emotions and responses to situations. Ivy doesn't have a "thing" or passion like her friends and others in her life. She feels her thing is to be kind so she works to be kind to everyone even when that means suppressing her own emotions. She doesn't let others see what she is feeling as she doesn't want to acknowledge the less than kind fee
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Allie Fullerton
Jul 01, 2022 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the premise of this story, loved the unique and often forgotten topic about how helping others can sometimes be selfish. The mystery aspect was also a great surprise. However I found the book failed in making that point and missed opportunities to show children those lessons through Ivy's story. I also felt like there were some plot issues in general where the same small micro tensions were happening chapter after chapter.
This book has several plot premises involving relationships tha
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Karen McKenna
Jun 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love how Laurie Morrison captures the voice of middle school so well. Ivy is a true 13 year old: first crushes, changing friendships, unanswered questions about who she is and where she fits. There were several times that her cringe-worthy attempts to be kind at all costs had me grimacing and laughing and connecting all at once. As a middle school teacher for 9 years, I think Laurie nailed a really unique character with a great lesson- can one be too kind? How can trying to always be there for ...more
Melanie Dulaney
Jul 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Ivy is one of those kids who just wants to do the right thing and help others…always. But sometimes wires get crossed and “nice” is misunderstood or causes unexpected problems, especially when the over-helping means no being true to yourself. Middle grade readers will see themselves in at least one of the many characters that live within Ivy’s sphere and certainly they will see situations that are similar to their own or to people they know. Some of the book’s resolution is expected but there ar ...more
The Keepers of the Books
Struggling with her identity, 13-year-old, Ivy decides to focus on being known for being kind. Navigating the nuances of being kind and the complicated life of a middle schooler, some of her friendships get put to the test and she begins to realize that sometimes too much kindness is a bad thing. When she meets Lila, daughter of two mothers, Ivy sees herself in her. Having a father whose partner is also male, Ivy feels she can relate. Will Ivy find a balance between being herself and being kind? ...more
Danielle
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I never read a middle grade book before with a girl coping with her mom acting as a surrogate. I like how this book explores how this affected her daughter and the implications it had on her life. I think it’s good for kids to be exposed to different families. I do wish Ivy’s mom involved her more in this huge decision beforehand and considered her own kids before agreeing to help her friend. There were several instances where it was clear that Ivy was too nice for her own good, helping people t ...more
Wendi Lee
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very sweet middle grade novel.

Ivy just wants to be nice to everyone!! There has been a lot of upheaval in her life, with her parents' divorce and her mother deciding to be a surrogate for a friend's baby. She's determined to be cheerful and pleasant to everyone, going out of her way to help others who are struggling. But her new nickname, "Saint Ivy," isn't always a positive. Ivy's friends feel like they can't really talk to her anymore, Ivy is receiving anonymous emails from someone
...more
Tiffany
I really enjoyed Saint Ivy and I think so many middle schoolers will be able to connect with the things she thinks and is going through.
Ivy is thoughtful and always looking to help those around her, especially if they seem like they are going through tough times. One day she receives an email from an anonymous person reaching out for her support. Ivy isn’t quite sure who it is, but wants to continue to be there for them. Meanwhile her mom has decided to be a surrogate for her friends and is not
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Maureen Chilinskas
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was super excited to get an eARC of Saint Ivy from the author and publisher through Netgalley. I’m already a fan of Laurie Morrison and her previous work, and this new novel did not disappoint.

Saint Ivy is exactly the kind of beautifully nuanced book about family, friendships, and figuring out who you are as a person that I wish I had as a middle schooler. I absolutely loved reading it! The messages and plot of the novel feel fresh and new, even as we watch Ivy navigate situations and emotion
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Denise Forrest
May 24, 2021 rated it liked it
All families are different but just about every imaginable difference appears in this book. Ivy’s parents are divorced and her dad now lives with his new male partner. Her friend lives with her two moms and Ivy’s mum is acting as a surrogate for her best friend.

Ivy is struggling with all the changes around her and when she receives some anonymous emails, she goes out of her way to befriend and be extra nice to those who she thinks sent them.

There are some lovely moments in the story. I really li
...more
Brigit Young
Jun 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
In SAINT IVY, seventh grader Ivy experiences empathy on overdrive and almost always neglects her own feelings. When her mom takes on the role of surrogate and becomes pregnant, Ivy feels a simmering resentment that makes her uncomfortable. Meanwhile, someone is writing her anonymous emails thanking her for all her acts of kindness, and Ivy is determined to uncover who it is. As always, Laurie Morrison writes beautifully, channeling the inner lives of middle schoolers with eloquence and heart. Lo ...more
Jenny Adelman
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Another stellar upper middle grade book from Laurie Morrison! As a 7th grade teacher, I appreciate how easily Morrison makes it for kids to connect to the characters. This book is for anyone who has ever felt the need to please others. Ivy is 13 years old and her thing is being kind. So much so, that she's earned the nickname Saint Ivy. During her 8th grade year, however, Ivy has to balance a lot of emotions related to friends and family and being kind at all costs is causing a strain on many of ...more
Katlyn
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saint Ivy reminded me of myself as a middle schooler. Ivy, like so many eighth grade girls, is looking for her place in the world. The many layers of this book, family, friends, school, will all be relatable for middle school students. I love the way Laurie Morrison writes for middle school students and includes older teens in the story to satisfy that middle school curiosity about what is to come. Additionally, I have never read a book in which a parent is a surrogate! The information about Ivy ...more
Patricia
A great upper middle grade novel about trying to find your place in the ever-changing world of middle school and how "just be nice" isn't always the solution people would like it to be. Laurie Morrison gives Ivy realistic problems and pressures - ranging from shifts in friendships and sibling relationships, questions about a seemingly settled divorce, and worries about her mom's health as a gestational surrogate. Morrison also shows how a solution like "be grateful and kind" stops working if you ...more
Julie
May 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
With thanks to NetGalley and ABRAMS Kids for an early copy in return for an honest review.

Ivy is struggling to figure out what her "thing" is and so she devotes herself to being incredibly kind to others so that kindness can be her thing. This doesn't always work out the way she planned and sometimes her kindness backfires. She is also dealing with some tricky situations at home, her parents' divorce, her mom's surrogate pregnancy, and friendships.

Although I enjoyed this story, due to the theme
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Laurie Morrison taught middle school English for ten years and now writes middle grade novels. She is the co-author of Every Shiny Thing and the author of Saint Ivy (May 18, 2021) and Up for Air, which earned starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly and was a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Publishers Weekly Best Summer Read, and an Amazon Prime Book Box pick. She holds a BA in English ...more

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