What Happened to Ivy

What Happened to Ivy


By Kathy Stinson


In David’s family, life revolves around Ivy.

David’s younger sister Ivy, born with multiple disabilities, needs constant attention. She may be eleven years old, but in many ways she’s still a baby. She embarrasses him in public. She takes all of their parents’ focus, to the point where David wonders if they see him as anything more than a helper for Ivy. But despite it all, he loves her.

The summer days are following their usual pattern of taking care of his sister, doing chores, and trips to the cottage. The one exception is Hannah, the new girl across the street. Hannah makes David feel anything but routine. He wants to be around her all the time. And, amazingly, she seems to be into him as well.

Everything changes when Ivy has an accident while being looked after by her dad. As David wrestles with what happened to Ivy, he is forced to confront his own feelings of guilt, the meaning of mercy, and what can be forgiven. 

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About the Author

Kathy Stinson has published more than 30 titles—picture books, young adult novels, historical fiction, short stories, biography, and other nonfiction. She is a mother, stepmother, and grandmother; CNIB and CODE volunteer; and member of CANSCAIP and TWUC. Kathy is the author of 101 Ways to Dance—a Canadian Library Association YA Book of the Year nominee—and Highway of Heroes, a Silver Birch nominee. Kathy lives in Rockwood, Ontario with her partner, Peter Carver.

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Product Information

  • Release: October 15, 2011

  • $11.95 Paperback

  • 120 Pages

  • 5 x 7

  • Teen Fiction

  • Ages 12-16 / Grades 7-10

  • Guided Reading: Z+

  • ISBN: 9781926920818


  • Character Education
    > Empathy
    > Family & Friendship

  • Health & Phys Ed
    > Death & Dying


  • 2013 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award - Young Adult Honour Book


Praise for What Happened to Ivy

"This book tackles a very heavy subject with sensitivity and compassion for all those involved. Stinson masterfully depicts the stress that Ivy's condition puts on the entire family and their relationships, as well as the reality of David's situation." - Canadian Children's Book News

"David's brief, but intense, story will have you on the edge of your seat. My only criticism was that is was too short — it left me wanting more!" - The Waterloo Record

"What Happened to Ivy is a valuable contribution to the growing realm of extreme 'problem novels' in today’s Canadian young adult literature. Indubitably, this book deserves a place in every library in the country. And for those classrooms brave enough to tackle the topic of mercy killing, there couldn’t be a better entry point than Kathy Stinson’s novel." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"What Happened to Ivy will both make you cry and question your own feelings when it comes to the meaning of mercy. I recommend this smart novel to older readers looking for a book that will making them think about what it’s really like to have friends, family and people to love." - Kiki Carnegie (age 12), National Post Kids' Reviews

"In a YA landscape littered with dystopia, urban fantasy, and romantic fiction, Stinson offers an important wake-up call to young readers that there is more to life, and that it's not always easy." - Quill & Quire

"What is most refreshing about this novel is its honesty. So many novels with young protagonists shy away from giving characters real-life problems to negotiate. Stinson, however, rolls up her sleeves and really describes what it’s like to cope with a family member’s disability. She does this with great sensitivity, carefully yet frankly discussing the reality of day-to-day life... While What Happened to Ivy will undoubtedly resonate with families coping with the demands of special needs children, it can also be enjoyed for the well-wrought story that it is." - NewPages

"There are very few books out there that can be successfully bibliotherapeutic in the strictest sense of the term, but I think this is one." - Resource Links