cover image Love, Ish

Love, Ish

Karen Rivers. Algonquin Young Readers, $16.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61620-570-6

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. (Mar.)