Ways to Grow Love is the second book in the Ryan Hart series. I loved the first book in the series and this book picks up soon after! It’s summer and Ryan’s mom is now heavily pregnant. It seems to Ryan that her unborn baby sister only stops her mom from doing all the fun stuff they used to do together. No more market for Ryan because her mom has to be on bed rest. Her mom can’t even come to the library with her to pick up books for the summer reading challenge and her grandma just rushes her and won’t let her pick as many books as she wants.
Vera feels like the outsider with her American friends who are more well-to-do and have slumber parties in their larger houses.
When she tries and fails to fit in repeatedly, she decides that she will go to summer camp just as her friends do. This way, she’ll have something to say when they’re all sharing summer plans and experiences. However, the Russian Scout camp she and her brother are sent to is not at all like the American summer camp she envisioned. Gross toilets, snobby older kids, a lot of reading in Russian and tough outdoor conditions teach Vera much about life and friendships.
Olive is excited to be going to summer camp this year, especially since her best friend Willow is also going. She’s looking forward to doing camp things and making new friends. As soon as the girls arrive, Olive jumps right into the friend-making and activities, but Willow is as adept as making friends and instead wants to follow Olive everywhere. Worse still, she tries to hold Olive back from making other friends or joining different activities, becoming sulky and giving her the silent treatment when she does.
At first, Olive handles things well, making compromises and forgoing opportunities to hang out with other campers just to keep Willow happy. Eventually, though, things start to get to her and the girls’ friendship becomes strained.