________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 38. . . .June 9, 2017


Love, Ish.

Karen Rivers.
Toronto, ON: DCB/Dancing Cat Books, 2017.
239 pp., trade pbk. & html, $12.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-77086-492-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77086-493-1 (html).

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Janet Beauchamp.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



Even if I die on Mars (or on the way to Mars), at least Iíll have tried. If you arenít trying, all those stars died for no reason! And thatís tragic! They sure didnít go through all that compressing and colliding and imploding and creating so that we can buy new Converse high-tops at the Lake Ochoa Mall, which is what we are doing right this minute, even though my old Converse high-tops are perfectly fine. If youíre keeping track, my feet are still a womanís size 6. I choose black ones, even though Mom is going berserk over the pink.


Love, Ish had me truly engaged from start to finish. I hadnít read the content on the back of the book, and I am so glad that I didnít. Consequently, I do not want to give away too much in my review as I would love all readers to be able to go on the same journey as I did with the main character, Mischa ďIshĒ Love, a witty seventh grader who is fascinated with Mars. Now, I have no interest in outer space whatsoever, but that didnít matter. Ish is an engaging character, and I thoroughly enjoyed the way she navigated through her daily life experiences.

     The story begins just before Ish starts grade seven. Her best friend, Tig, has moved away and has not maintained contact even though they had been thick as thieves. Now Ish says, ďTIG is DTM, dead to me!Ē She feels so alone because her big plans to colonize Mars with Tig have to change. Ish shares with the reader the TIWM (things I will miss), like the smell of hot summer, and the TIWNM (things I will not miss), like mosquitoes, plastic water bottles and fast food, if she leaves Earth for Mars. The story is not science fiction in any way, and so do not let the subject matter dissuade you. Ish is a wonderful protagonist, and the story is very engaging.

     Ishís unusual obsession with Mars may have a reasonable explanation, but you will have to finish the first third of the novel before you find out what that reason is. I didnít see it coming, and yet it makes so much sense once you read it. The reader is eventually left wondering if the explanation truly impacts Ishís obsession, or if she truly just loves Mars and the adventures she will experience if she ever makes it there.

Highly Recommended.

Janet Beauchamp, a high school teacher, teacher-librarian and mother of three girls, lives in LíAmable, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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