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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Review: White Ivy by Susie Yang

White Ivy 
by Susie Yang

Thank you Simon & Schuster for this amazing copy!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: November 3, 2020
368 Pages
Genre: Contemporary

A dazzling debut novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate and the lengths she’ll go to win his love

Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, she is taught how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops by her immigrant grandmother. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, where her dream instantly evaporates.

Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when she bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.

Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners and weekend getaways to the Cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Filled with surprising twists and offering sharp insights into the immigrant experience, White Ivy is both a love triangle and a coming-of-age story, as well as a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.

My Review:

Let me introduce you to Ivy Lin.  A Chinese immigrant who just wants to belong and yet sees that people just feel sorry for her - especially her biggest crush, Gideon, who seems to be the perfect American boy of her dreams.  But Ivy, with her poor family, has learned to make ends meet however she needs to.  And Roux seems to be the only one who sees her fully and accepts her for who she is.  But she's sent off to China for a summer and when she comes back, her parents have moved and now she has lost them both (the boys, not the parents).

When she gets back, fate has put her back in Gideon's path and she will do whatever it takes to finally "make it".  Roux also comes back into her path and now a love triangle has blossomed into something that will take her down a path of much resistance.  I'm not a huge fan of love triangles in a book but this one just works within the story being told here.  👏

This may seem like a slower read for some but I found the pacing perfect.  We get to see Ivy trying to deal with her Chinese heritage and what is expected of her while trying to find her own fitting in the world she is growing up in.  With this, she thinks Gideon is the answer and will mold and change every aspect of herself in order to make this happen.  But how long can one person do this without being driven crazy?  When you don't know exactly who you are, it's easy to just become a chameleon.  And when something can potentially get in the way, you will do whatever it takes to ensure that something doesn't.  

I personally loved watching Ivy's trajectory.  Although I wanted to shake her at times, I actually completely understood why she was being the way that she was.  I wasn't surprised by any revelations that came within the read, however, I did think one particular arc was going to go in a different direction that it did.  I'm also SO CURIOUS AS TO WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW!  Yang, um, can you please advise? I need more!

This debut novel is outstanding.  And can we just talk about how awesome Ivy's grandmother is?  Yang brilliantly brings together these families and even in their differences, had some similarities.  After all, no matter your stature, there are always some kind of issues happening within.  Ivy learned some very hard lessons and I'm so curious as to how she's going to transverse the rest of her days.  Can't wait to see what Yang has for us next.


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