Love, Ish

Love, Ish

by Karen Rivers


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Mischa "Ish" Love's celestial-sized dreams for a future on Mars go heartbreakingly awry when her best friend moves away and an unexpected medical diagnosis threatens to rewrite her future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616205706
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 03/14/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 758,415
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 9 - 13 Years

About the Author

Karen Rivers’s books have been nominated for a wide range of literary awards and have been published in multiple languages. When she’s not writing, reading, or visiting schools, she can usu­ally be found hiking in the forest that flourishes behind her tiny old house in Victoria, British Columbia, where she lives with her two kids, two dogs, and two birds. Find her online at and on Twitter: @karenrivers.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
As a planet, the Earth is mostly OK, I guess. It’s just not for me. You don’t have to try to change my mind. It won’t work! I know that there is plenty here that’s terrific. But none of it is enough. Like, it’s hard to argue against blue skies and puffy white clouds, fresh-cut lawns and cold, clear lakes, but these things are already on their way out. Thanks to global warming, the lawns are all dead and the lakes are drying up and the sky is polluted. We’ve wrecked it. Global warming is a real thing. You can pretend it’s not, but that’s just dumb. It’s science.
There are still things that will make me ache inside from missing so much: ice cream, my parrot, Buzz Aldrin, and watching TV from the living room floor. I know that I’ll lie on my bed in my dome, hearing nothing but the howling Mars wind, and I’ll miss the silvery-shivery sound the wind makes in the trees when I’m lying on my bed at home, watching the shadows of those leaves moving around on my wall.
I’ll miss jumping off our dock into the lake when the weather is really hot and the lake is cold (and not half-empty like it is right now because of the drought). It’s the best feeling in the world. There aren’t any lakes on Mars. Yet.
But even though I love Christmas mornings and piles of library books and the hammock that Dad strung up between the porch rail and the mailbox post and looking up at the stars at night, I’m still going to do it. I have to do it. It’s what I was meant to do. I just know.
Most people don’t get it, but in my mind, it’s no different from what the explorers did when they came to America. They didn’t know what they were in for. They definitely knew that they might not ever go home. So what’s the diff? Someone has to be first, that’s all. And if we don’t spread out to other planets, the human race will eventually just die altogether.
Here’s something you might not know: We are all made of stars. Up until last week, I just thought that was another poetic lie, like you see in the dentist’s waiting room scrawled over a terrible painting of a night sky with the artsy-blurry kind of stars that make you feel like you need glasses. But according to Google, it’s an actual fact: Every element on our whole planet—on all the planets—was created by imploding stars. People talk about how God created the world but really, the stars did. The stars are God. And we are stars. Think about it.
Why do we think that what we look like and what we wear matters at all, given that we’re celestial? It doesn’t! Who cares who you sit beside when you eat your sandwich at lunch? Why does it feel like it matters when Amber Delgado laughs at you in gym class when you fall off the uneven bars and practically break your neck on the mat? Those are all just lies that our brains trick us into thinking are important so we don’t remember that even though we’re made of dead stars, we’re alive, and one day, we’re going to die, too.
I bet they just left the word dead off the poster and the coffee cup because death freaks people out. But everyone dies. What’s the big deal? Life is a one-way trip for everyone. Right this second, your cells are slowly falling apart and you are that much closer to being dead, to being finished with your story. Don’t you want yours to be amazing?
I do.
I don’t believe those stars died so that we could have boring jobs so we can afford to buy a bunch of stuff that we later throw away, overflowing the landfills so bad that we have to leave the planet, which is exactly what’s happening. It’s already happened. Mars is the only option. Everywhere else is just too far. You might think that we can clean up the Earth and save the day, but no one is doing it. They are all just looking at their phones and complaining about the weather and not doing anything to undo the damage that’s been done! It’s a travesty.
And it’s also why Mars is so important.
Everyone’s scared, but not me. I’m ready. I was made for this. Mischa Love (Dead Star #7,320,100,901), reporting for duty. I’m not going to waste this amazing, incredible life that the stars gave me. I’m going to be brave. I’m going to be special. I’m going to do what everyone else is scared to do.
And I’m going to be first in line to do it.
You’ll see.

Customer Reviews

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Love, Ish 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
KarenfromDothan More than 1 year ago
Twelve year old Mischa Love is one very determined young lady. Her ambition is to be one of the first humans to colonize Mars, and she is doing everything in her power to reach that goal. Then life throws her a curveball. A new book for middle grade readers, Love, Ish, is an excellent read. Told in the first person, Ish is smart, funny and wise beyond her years. It’s good to find a female character who is so into science and astronomy. The author has done an incredible job of weaving a lot of information about Mars into the story. I certainly learned a lot about the red planet by way of this entertaining tale. The book is about much more than Mars, though. It’s about dreams and friendship, families and love, life and death. Highly recommend!
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
Sad, Yet Hopeful and Thoughtful Novel To Mischa "Ish" Love, Mars is more than some nearby planet that humans will someday make their way to, it's her future. She's spent her life learning about, planning for, and getting ready for Mars. She's sent in 47 applications to the Mars Now project, but whenever they respond, it's a "no." Even when her best friend and partner in her Mars passion moves to Portland, Ish continues to see the Red Planet as her fate. Then it's the first day of seventh grade, and she collapses. Her life flips as she is diagnosed with a brain tumor or as she calls it, a Nirgal. Frequent dreams about Mars keep Ish wondering what is truly reality as she fights to keep her future in view. She begins to see life in a different way, never knowing what's next and what she should have done. As a reader, you also don't know what's going to happen next. Ish is collapsing, she's in the hospital, she's out of it, she's dreaming. And yet it isn't only a book to read for the plot, it's also a book to read for the deep concepts it holds. It really gets into Ish's head, showing every thought. The strange things, the mind-bending/interesting ideas, the humor, and even the incredibly sad things. It's filled with her thoughts about love, fear, life and death. It makes you re-think what's believable, possible, or real. Despite all that, it isn't an incredibly hard read, it just gets your mind thinking. The paperback book is 284 pages long, including an author Q&A. I suggest the book primarily to readers eleven or older. Younger kids could read it, but many parts are very sad and there are a lot of concepts and metaphors that are important to understand, so it depends on the person. Even now I question what some of the parts really meant. It can make you sad or scared and sometimes it may touch your emotions and thoughts in ways that not everyone might like. For this reason and because the book is largely about Ish fighting cancer, I would think about whether you like this type of book before reading it. I give Love, Ish 5 stars because it made me think twice about what I read and ventures into really interesting topics that many novels don't bring up, sometimes really sad ones. I see Mars in a new way after reading Love, Ish. I learned a lot about the Red Planet from reading it. If you're up for a sad, yet hopeful and thoughtful novel, then I suggest Love, Ish. Camille J, age 12, Los Angeles Mensa
Akiraana More than 1 year ago
This is a book that follows the odd ball that is Ish. Right away you're thrown into Ish's head, strapped in, and taken for a ride. It's not even first person, it's brain delving. Ish an come off as rude and just too weird a times and potentially turn readers off. I found I personally liked her and enjoyed learning all about her and how she sees the world. The synopsis gives away that she gets cancer but nothing more. So to say the least things get weird pretty fast. One day it's a normal day at school for Ish, the next, hold on! Ish is thrown for a loop and the world she sees and experiences change from day to day. Overall I quite liked this book. It's a short read with lots of feels and I'm glad I got to know Ish, even through the loopy ride that became her new life. I recieved a physical copy of this book from the publishers at Algonquin and left this honest review!