Ivy in the Shadows

Chris Woodworth

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

After Ivy's stepfather disappears, Ivy's mama begins waitressing at Dining Divinely to make ends meet. She also takes in a boardertwelve-year-old Caleb, who's the same age as Ivy and is the weirdest guy she's ever met. With Mama working full-time, Ivy has to babysit her little brother, JJ. She also has to fend off the nosy Pastor Harold; stop Caleb from filling JJ's head with lies; and keep her best friend, Ellen, from knowing anything about her embarrassing situation at home.  Ivy has always found out all she needs to know by lurking in the shadows (some might call it "eavesdropping"). But as things at home become more complicated, she learns to step into the light and not only listen but speak up.


Read an Excerpt

Some say you get your best education in school. Others say it’s through life. I got my best education early on eavesdropping at Mama’s feet while she talked to my aunt on the telephone.
She wasn’t really my aunt. Not by blood. She’d been Mama’s best friend since they were little girls living in the same neighborhood in Temperance, Indiana. Then they grew up. Mama and Aunt Maureen liked to joke that they would have stayed in their hometown if Temperance hadn’t practiced what it preached. When I asked Aunt Maureen what that meant, she


Praise for Ivy in the Shadows

"Refreshing and realistic." -- BCCB


Praise for Georgie's Moon:
A Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
Georgia Children’s Book Award Master List (University of GA)
"A touching exploration of an aspect of the Vietnam War not often seen in books for children." --Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will appreciate the feistiness of Georgie's character as well as her struggle to make friends and come to peace with the various adults in her life.  Recommended for middle school readers."  --VOYA
"Woodworth's poignant novel will bring real tears to readers' eyes."  --Booklist
"A heartfelt novel."  --School Library Journal
"Fast moving."  --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Woodworth . . . engages the reader with her lucid writing style."  --Signal
"A memorable cast." -- School Library Journal

In the Press

Children's Review: Ivy in the Shadows by Chris Woodworth. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-374-33566-3
When 12-year-old Ivy's stepfather abandons the family, leaving them with no source of income, her mother is forced to take in a boarder, Caleb, a boy in Ivy's grade she doesn't know very well. Caleb's
- Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Chris Woodworth

  • Chris Woodworth is the author of Double-Click for Trouble, Georgie’s Moon, and When Ratboy Lived Next Door. Georgie’s Moon has received both the award and honor for the Best Book of Indiana for Children’s Literature. Her other books have also been chosen for several state reading lists. She has lived in Indiana for most of her life, and now resides in Mooresville, North Carolina with her husband and children. Like Ivy, Chris learned at an early age not to repeat anything she wasn't supposed to hear.

  • Chris Woodworth © Catie Woodworth



Teacher's Guide


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Ivy in the Shadows

Chris Woodworth