Moonpie and Ivy [NOOK Book]


A girl abandoned by her mother discovers the feeling of family

Pearl's mother, Ruby, just up and left her with Aunt Ivy, who's a complete stranger to Pearl. "Your mama's done gone off the deep end," Ivy says, and Pearl wonders if she'll ever come back - Ruby has always been wild and irresponsible. So Pearl is stuck with Aunt Ivy, and Moonpie, the neighbor boy whose mother doesn't want him, either, and John Dee, Aunt Ivy's Beau. But these ...
See more details below
Moonpie and Ivy

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$7.99 price


A girl abandoned by her mother discovers the feeling of family

Pearl's mother, Ruby, just up and left her with Aunt Ivy, who's a complete stranger to Pearl. "Your mama's done gone off the deep end," Ivy says, and Pearl wonders if she'll ever come back - Ruby has always been wild and irresponsible. So Pearl is stuck with Aunt Ivy, and Moonpie, the neighbor boy whose mother doesn't want him, either, and John Dee, Aunt Ivy's Beau. But these three people seem to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, in a way that Pearl can't comprehend, and she feels left out. As she starts to understand what connects them, and how much she wants to be a part of it, Ruby appears.

With a vividly depicted setting, emotional truth, and a distinctly Southern voice, Barbara O'Connor shows how Pearl develops a whole new notion of what she wants, and what she deserves.

Twelve-year-old Pearl feels hurt, confused, and unwanted when her wild, irresponsible mother leaves her with Aunt Ivy in a little country house in Georgia and then disappears.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Why do some kids have loving families and others do not? That unanswerable question is at the heart of this touching story about a girl named Pearl, whose mother drops her off unannounced to stay with the girl's aunt Ivy. Ivy is everything Pearl's mother Ruby is not: steady, understanding and loving. But both Pearl and Ivy know that Ruby will be back to take her daughter away again. Meanwhile Pearl watches as her new friend Moonpie, a boy with troubles of his own, gets taken permanently under Ivy's wing. Skillfully drawn, sympathetic characters face everyday problems with courage in this fine novel.
—Kathleen Odean

(Excerpted Review)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like O'Connor's Me and Rupert Goody, this novel set in the rural South features a spunky, independent heroine, a compassionate adult and a rival preteen peer who vies for that adult's affection. Twelve-year-old Pearl lands at her Aunt Ivy's door one day when Pearl's irresponsible mother, Ruby, decides she needs a break. As the sweltering summer progresses, Pearl grows to appreciate both Ivy and her odd-looking neighbor, 11-year-old Moonpie. Postcards that Pearl addresses to her absentee mother allow readers a glimpse into the girl's feelings and confusion, and Pearl learns a great deal about her mother and her roots through Ivy's and Moonpie's stories. Those who have read Rupert Goody may feel they have traveled this road before, but O'Connor's characters are just as eccentric and convincing as ever. Although the ending is ambiguous (Ruby returns, but is that good or bad?), readers cannot help but feel that resourceful Pearl will land on her feet and that Ivy is never far away. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The title of this book offers readers the first clue to what the story is about, although it is twelve-year-old Pearl who tells the story. Ruby, Pearl's flamboyant mother, has dumped her daughter on her sister's doorstep and hightailed it out of town. Pearl has never met her Aunt Ivy until now. Ivy is a waitress, and money is scarce, but she has a heart full of love for everyone. Trying to understand her abandonment, Pearl convinces herself that the only explanation is that her mother does not love her. By writing postcards to her absent mother, Pearl reveals her feelings, as shown in the first card that reads, "Dear Mama, I hate you. Love, Pearl." She watches resentfully as Aunt Ivy lavishes love and attention on a neighborhood boy named Moonpie. When Pearl demands to know why Ivy loves Moonpie so much, Ivy gently reminds Pearl that she has a mother, unlike Moonpie, although Ivy's mother is absent. O'Connor's third novel, set in Georgia, is contemporary Southern homespun. Its warmth and good-heartedness wraps around the reader the way Aunt Ivy wraps her generous arms around Moonpie. Bad things happen. Moonpie's elderly grandma dies, and Pearl steals a special box, but there is a familiar, everyday-life tone to the story's events. From Ivy and Moonpie's example, Pearl comes to understand a little about herself and about the many forms that love takes. She learns that growing up means making choices and making the best of the choices that others make on one's behalf. Moonpie and Ivy is a winner for young teens and a book the whole family can enjoy. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8).2001, Farrar Straus Giroux, 160p, Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Dolores Maminski SOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, March 2001: An irresponsible mother drops Pearl off at her Aunt Ivy's place, and leaves without saying goodbye. Ivy lives simply in rural Georgia, working in the local diner, looking after Moonpie, a young boy living with his grandmother up the hill from Ivy's. She is loving and takes Pearl in without complaint, but Pearl sees after a while that Ivy doesn't love her with the same devotion she has for Moonpie. Pearl is only 12 years old, used to being hauled hither and yon by Ruby, her mother, who lies frequently and doesn't give Pearl much of a base to stand on in order to grow up. Pearl pokes around the countryside with Moonpie, finding a cemetery with the names of two of Ivy's babies who died at birth. She sees Ivy with her fiancé, but when Ivy announces her plans to take in Moonpie as a foster child after the wedding, Pearl feels again that no one really wants her. And in a way, she's right. Ivy tells her she could love her, but she's afraid Pearl's mother will show up and demand Pearl back—and Ivy can't bear to lose another child she loves. Ivy tells Pearl to be strong enough to stand on her own and not depend on anyone else. Those are pretty difficult instructions to follow, but that is where O'Connor leaves it—and when the mother does return and reclaim her daughter, Pearl goes off with her with a slightly different attitude. "She thought about how her whole life had been a big jumble of mixed-up craziness. And then she'd had this one little taste of the normal side of life, of people treating each other good and being deserving of love, and she hadn't belonged. Had felt wrong and out of place... She knew she hadn't been verygood at normal living, but she thought maybe she could get the hang of it if she had another chance." This has the feel of the rural Southern countryside of My Louisiana Sky, about another slightly lost 12-year-old girl trying to make sense of her aunt. But this is a grittier story, and Pearl is not a child who is easy to love, mainly because she herself is just learning what love is. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sunburst, 152p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Claire Rosser
From The Critics
Living in a single parent home, and not having the ideal relationship with her mother, twelve-year old Pearl must contend with a whole host of adult issues at a very early age. One day, her mother decides to leave her during the summer with her Aunt Ivy in rural Georgia, who to make matters worse, is a complete and total stranger to young Pearl. Suddenly, Pearl must learn to adjust to this new person, and above all, cope with the feelings that her life, as she knows it, is over. Nevertheless, Pearl puts her best foot forward, and challenges herself to overcome her most difficult and trying circumstances. As the sweltering summer progresses, Pearl grows to appreciate Aunt Ivy and her odd-looking neighbor, eleven-year-old Moonpie. And through them both, she learns stories about her mother's past and her southern roots. Being abandoned by a parent, and not knowing where you belong in society are issues Pearl shares with many young adolescents today. Using creative language and a richly written narrative, author Barbara O'Connor makes this a most pleasant and worthwhile read for youngsters coping with their own family problems and concerns. This is excellent book to discuss the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. 2001, Farrar Straus & Giroux, 160 pp.,
— Cyndi Atkinson
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Life is not going well for Pearl. Her erratic mother leaves her at Aunt Ivy's farmhouse and takes off for parts unknown. The 12-year-old finds herself with a relative she doesn't know, few possessions of her own, and many worries. She spends her time anxiously staring down the road, waiting for her mother to return and rebuffing Ivy's warm gestures. Gradually, grudgingly, she allows herself to be befriended by Moonpie. He has his own familial concerns, the largest one being that the town's social worker will determine that his sick grandmother can no longer care for him. As Pearl grows closer to these caring folks, she begins to learn how love is earned and deserved, and, at the same time, jealousy begins to flow. While Ivy is prepared to adopt Moonpie after Mama Nell dies, she tells Pearl that her stay there is only temporary because she has a mother who will eventually return and demand her back. Even though this may not be what is best for the girl, readers are left with the sense that because of her time with Moonpie and Ivy, Pearl has gained the inner resources she needs to deal with her mother. The rural Georgia setting is fully realized through gentle and descriptive prose. The style is moody and Southern, much like Pearl herself. Readers who enjoyed Ruth White's Belle Prater's Boy (Farrar, 1996) or Patricia MacLachlan's Journey (Doubleday, 1991) will also find strength in these two neglected, yet hopeful children.-Katie O'Dell, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick

Stranded at her Aunt Ivy's in backwoods Georgia by her feckless mother, Pearl slowly begins to blossom. She befriends a neighbor boy and envisions a life in the framework of a loving family. In the end, things don't turn out quite the way Pearl had imagined, but she carries away something new with her -- hope.

Kirkus Reviews
The twin challenges of loving and being loved form the theme of another Southern gem from the author of Me and Rupert Goody (1999). Twelve-year-old Pearl has spent her life moving from one place to another with her feckless mother, Ruby, who seems more interested in her boyfriend-of-the-moment than her daughter. At the novel's opening, Pearl finds herself uprooted once more, but with one major exception: this time, Ruby has left her with her aunt, Ivy, and then disappeared completely. Understandably resentful and unaccustomed to affection wholeheartedly offered, Pearl keeps Ivy at arm's length, and only grudgingly consents to a sort of friendship with Moonpie, the strange boy who lives up the hill with his dying grandmother. Pearl's emotional state is charted in the postcards she writes, but cannot send, to her mother: "Dear Mama, I hate you. Love, Pearl" is succeeded by "Dear Mama, Please come back-but if you can't come right away, that's okay. Love, Pearl." As she begins to relax into her new life, she realizes that she likes stability, but Ivy's love for Moonpie, who is a sort of surrogate son, threatens her fragile security. O'Connor keeps the beautifully simple, colloquial third-person narration filtered tightly through Pearl, so the reader encounters her emotions and her confusion directly. The squalor of poverty is rendered without sentimentality, but the honesty and universality of the characters' emotions inform the real story. The novel's shrewd observations of the tangles of human relationships allow no easy happy endings: Ruby's reappearance at the end interrupts Pearl's slow realization that she can love and, more importantly, is worth loving. But shehaslearned to hope, and that is no small thing for her-and the reader-to carry away. (Fiction. 10-14)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466813021
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/2/2004
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 863,330
  • Age range: 10 - 15 Years
  • File size: 142 KB

Meet the Author

Barbara O'Connor has written several popular novels for young readers, including Me and Rupert Goody, an ALA Notable Book, and Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia. She was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, and currently lives in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2007


    This book was very intresting. I think alot of people could relate to what this girl is feeling. This little girls mother leaves her. While she is moved in with her aunt and the little boy down the road she learns alot of morals. Right from wrong and she actually was in a happy family for once. She stilled worried though would her mother ever come back. Read it I reccomend it to all of you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2005


    This book was very interesting. I recomend this book to everyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2003


    This is a story about a girl named Pearl, whos mother leaves her at a long lost Aunt's house, without saying where she is going. Now Pearl must learn to live with the odd neighbor boy, and her childless Aunt, until her mother returns. This is a great story, about how a girl learns to live with the fact that her mother may not want her. Or at least that is what she thinks.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)