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Ivy sure is possessive about Ruben isn't she? As nonsexual as Ivy is, I don't quite understand it... Can someone be possessive over another person and not want them sexually? Just yet another interesting point brought out by your books...
I am intrigued by Adele's policy of not having a surplus at the house. It goes against mainstream financial planning, but Adele is not a mainstream person. To be honest, the more I think about her idea, the more depth I realize it has, and the more I like it. But the policy has to be done correctly.
Hmm, you know what, after reading all these books I would have to say of all the side characters, that Bailey is one of my favorite characters. She really has a unique personality. I'd say Weaver is also up there. He's a funny little horny freak and I love that.
I also really appreciated reading the perspectives Ivy had on life and on the world. Though I consider myself a reclusive person, I have developed, like Ivy, a whole bunch of groups of people that I appreciate and enjoy and have a good time with--and yet have unfortunately not enough time to get to really know them and do all the fun stuff I can with them. I guess I am referring to Ivy's Handprints idea here--by creating that group, she hasn't really consolidated any of her 8 families--in fact she has created another one.
I have also really enjoyed the sort of emotional development that Ivy has gone through. She has a ways to go yet, and it is clear that she has a low opinion of "magic," so she may eventually understand more of that. But she has sure developed since book 1. But you know what I appreciate most about Ivy is her general attitude. I really really respect how she basically has no fear in life. It is something I wish I could emulate that is for sure. As I read all four books, reading about Ivy gave me a calming effect and this became something for me to look forward to. Freed of physical fear, Ivy kinda showed me a road map of the issues one must face in order to understand one's identity and how to make oneself happy and peaceful in this world.
Let me also say that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the books in general. Eventually all of the house characters have become friends of mine too, in the sense that I have gotten to know more and more about them and their life and have looked forward to reading about them. I've enjoyed reading about their lifestyle and pondering it... and yes it has brought up very feasible ideas and possibilities in my life too.
Mark: [ . . . ] many kids will empathize with Ivy and her "8 families", since many of them are growing up with more than one home or are estranged from one or both of their parents. I think the whole school scene is also especially good, as it's a setting that virtually everyone can relate to, and thus will draw them in even more. However, now we get to some negative issues, the first one along the same lines.
While that setting is something people can really identify with, most of the other setting are ones that people of your target market cannot really identify with, or at least not as well. I think the story would be more interesting if the reader could relate it to their own circumstances a bit more directly, perhaps. What always got my imagination going was how Ivy behaved and how she used her powers in commonplace circumstances. I think often Ivy's adventures a bit too "far out" or fantastical.
Another issue is that of the book's "rating". Whenever I go into the juvenile section of the library, I usually see at least as many moms and kids and teenagers, if not more. Imagine your average mom picking up a copy of "The House That Ivy Built" and thinking, "Oh, what a nice looking story. I bet Cindy would just love this." She cracks open the book and is immediately confronted with a string of profanities. Not exactly the best marketing. In other words, I think the book would be a lot more saleable if you cut back on the profanity quite a bit. Obviously it does have a role and purpose in the story, but I think it's a bit overkill, *especially* right at the beginning.
The books lack the rampant sex and violence found in a lot of other stuff, but comparing it to print media, which by and large has remained more wholesome than it's TV and screenplay counterparts, it comes out with the short end of the stick. Consider J.K. Rowling, who kept the profanity in the first of the Harry Potter series to a minimum, but started to bring it out more in the later books, as the characters grew older and after her fan base was already well established.
Jennifer: Okay, how do I get my hands on the full length works? I are hooked.
and I'm guessing that the "people from Ivy's distant past" are Fred and Meri, amiright?