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Love, Ish

Cover of Love, Ish

Love, Ish

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My name is Mischa "Ish" Love, and I am twelve years old. I know quite a lot about Mars.
Mars is where I belong. Do you know how sometimes you just know a thing? My mom says that falling in love is like that, that the first time she saw Dad, she just knew. That's how I feel about Mars: I just know.
I'm smart and interesting and focused, and I'm working on getting along better with people. I'll learn some jokes. A sense of humor is going to be important. It always is. That's what my dad always says. Maybe jokes will be the things that will help us all to survive. Not just me, because there's no "me" in "team," right? This is about all of us. Together.
What makes me a survivor? Mars is going to make me a survivor.
You'll see.

*
In Karen Rivers's riveting new novel, Ish's dreams for a future on Mars go heartbreakingly awry when an unexpected diagnosis threatens to rewrite her whole future.

My name is Mischa "Ish" Love, and I am twelve years old. I know quite a lot about Mars.
Mars is where I belong. Do you know how sometimes you just know a thing? My mom says that falling in love is like that, that the first time she saw Dad, she just knew. That's how I feel about Mars: I just know.
I'm smart and interesting and focused, and I'm working on getting along better with people. I'll learn some jokes. A sense of humor is going to be important. It always is. That's what my dad always says. Maybe jokes will be the things that will help us all to survive. Not just me, because there's no "me" in "team," right? This is about all of us. Together.
What makes me a survivor? Mars is going to make me a survivor.
You'll see.

*
In Karen Rivers's riveting new novel, Ish's dreams for a future on Mars go heartbreakingly awry when an unexpected diagnosis threatens to rewrite her whole future.

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About the Author-
  • Karen Rivers has written novels for adult, middle-grade, and young adult audiences. Her books have been nominated for a wide range of literary awards and have been published in multiple languages. When she's not writing, reading, or visiting schools, she can usually be found hiking in the forest that flourishes behind her tiny, old house in Victoria, British Columbia, where she lives with her two kids, two dogs, two birds. You can find her online at karenrivers.com or on Twitter: @karenrivers.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 9, 2017
    Twelve-year-old Mischa “Ish” Love is determined to be part of the first settlement on Mars—whenever that should come to be—and has done extensive research to prepare. She used to do this sort of research with her best friend Tig Diaz, but when he moved away and didn’t stay in touch, he became “DTM” (“dead to me”). Ish doesn’t connect to the other kids at school, and home is stressful, too, thanks to her difficult older sister Elliot. Ish’s worries are suddenly overshadowed when she is diagnosed with a brain tumor. The book slowly shifts into a meditation on relationships and life, and Ish’s dreams of Mars become nearly as real as her waking life. Ish’s reflections on Mars, the ways humans have failed Earth, and what it means to be alive pack a punch, though a plot thread about Elliot’s anger about learning she and Ish were adopted seems mostly there for dramatic effect. Overall, though, Rivers (The Girl in the Well Is Me) spins an affecting, hard-hitting story. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary.

  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2016
    Ish, who is determined to be among the first settlers on Mars, goes on a different and unexpected journey after she is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.She's prone to long stream-of-consciousness monologues anyway, but after discovery of the tumor that she imagines as a sort of Brussels sprout and starting on chemotherapy and radiation treatments, many of her dreams (and nightmares) focus on her imagined life in a Mars colony. Ish's only friend, Tig, who moved away a year ago, has never once contacted her since he left. Now she's a loner, getting along well enough with her adoptive parents but navigating an unpredictable relationship with her next oldest, rather prickly sister, leaving Ish mostly to her own resources to cope with her deteriorating new existence. With many characters, especially resilient, plucky 13-year-old white Ish, broadly painted yet fully realized, this moving tale is nothing short of tragic. Although Ish's discoveries about friendship, love and life are ultimately uplifting, Rivers (The Girl in the Well is Me, 2016) pulls no punches with the outcome. Ish's struggles with treatment are vivid, and with the focus solidly on the dying girl, there's little room for distracting hopefulness. For those willing to immerse themselves in a sad, harrowing story, this is a worthwhile and affecting odyssey. (Fiction. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2017

    Gr 6-9-Sharp-tongued Mischa (Ish) Love is something of a square peg, both in her family and at school. Her best (and only) friend, Tig, has recently moved away, leaving a significant hole in her life. The two shared an obsession for all things to do with Mars Now, a supposedly forthcoming reality show about a Mars colony. Now that Tig has left, Ish is alone in her interest. Her adoptive parents try their best to understand her, but by waiting so long to tell Ish and her biological sister, Elliot, that they were adopted into the family while big sister Iris wasn't, damage has been done. Ish is not looking forward to her seventh grade year, but it's here, and there's nothing she can do about it. Then the new kid in her class rhymes her name with "fish" during attendance. Ish finds a spot to spend lunch alone with her Mars daydreams, but when she is ready to go back in, she hears a crack inside of her head, and she loses control and hits the ground. It turns out Ish's daily headaches weren't from missing Tig; there is a tumor in her brain. In typical Ish fashion, she names it Nirgal, after the Babylonian name for Mars. As Ish fights her cancer with chemo and radiation, she recounts her friendship with Tig, develops an unlikely bond with that new boy Gavriel, and dozes in and out of Mars daydreams. This is a book that fills a hole; very few middle school novels feature such young protagonists (Ish is only 12) with a terminal illness. The cancer story line is interspersed with many facts about Mars and space and carries universal themes of friendship, family, and school life, but make no mistake-this book packs an emotional punch. VERDICT This heartbreaking and sharply wry tale about friendship, family, fate, and illness will find a broad YA audience.-Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Algonquin Books
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