The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

8:45 PM

Pages: 305
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN:  9780061992254
Genre: Middle Grade

Review by Geraldine

Synopsis (
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

My Thoughts (Spoiler-free):
I first came across this book when I saw that the author was on the list of all the authors that were going to be at the National Book Festival. Naturally, I wanted to buy it because who doesn't like going to signings? I barely read any middle grade as it is so I was a little iffy about starting this. It turns out that this book was everything to me and more.

I definitely thought that Katherine Applegate did a fantastic job when it came to character building. Throughout the entire story, I got to know Ivan, Stella, Bob, and Ruby more and more. I slowly but surely realized that they all had feelings and expressed many different emotions that deemed them human in my eyes. The setting of the story was also unique because who keeps animals in a mall?!

I do want to mention that the author subliminally touches on many different subjects throughout the book. In my opinion, some of the subjects that were brought up could be too difficult for a middle grade reader to read. Other than that, I found nothing wrong with this book! 

What I loved most about this book was that it was filled with lines that had so much meaning to them that I constantly found myself reading a certain line over and over again. One of my favorite lines was right on the first page:

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
A Beautiful story that will stay with you even after you've reached the end. 

4 stars!

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