Ivy June Mosely cannot believe it. Her teacher pulled her name from the coffee can, so she is going to be her school’s ambassador to a private school all the way in Lexington! She’ll go live with a family in Lexington for two weeks, and attend the school with a girl her own age, name Catherine Combs.
In exchange, Catherine will come to Thunder Creek for two weeks, living with Ivy June and attending her school.
Throughout the program, both Ivy June and Katherine write down their thoughts, fears and feelings in a journal. Author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor includes parts of their journals in the story, but it’s not centered around the journals. The girls are to explore how they are alike, and how they are different, and what prejudices they may have about the other.
Their lives are worlds apart – Catherine has a cell phone, Ivy June doesn’t even have a home phone. Catherine shares a bathroom with her sister, Ivy June uses an outhouse. However, after a couple of tragedies which happen while Catherine is in Thunder Creek, the girls discover they are more alike than different – and forge a life-long friendship.
Naylor brings up some difficult topics, including difficult girls, but Ivy June, and Katherine, handle them with grace. The girls have friends who are boy crazy, and Catherine has a friend who is a boy, but neither girl is focused on boys. I appreciated the dignity and grace both girls exhibited, especially after their fights.