After Ivy's stepfather disappears, Ivy's mama begins waitressing at Dining Divinely to make ends meet. She also takes in a boarder—twelve-year-old Caleb, who's the same age as Ivy and is the weirdest guy she's ever met. With Mama working full-time, Ivy has to babysit her little brother, JJ. She also has to fend off the nosy Pastor Harold; stop Caleb from filling JJ's head with lies; and keep her best friend, Ellen, from knowing anything about her embarrassing situation at home.
Ivy has always found out all she needs to know by lurking in the shadows (some might call it "eavesdropping"). But as things at home become more complicated, she learns to step into the light and not only listen but speak up, in Ivy in the Shadows by Chris Woodworth.