By: Susie Yang
Opening Line: “Ivy Lin was a thief but you would never know it to look at her.”
Overall: This book is about the life of a Chinese immigrant girl, Ivy Lin, who is brought to America by her family when she is 5. All throughout her school years, she feels like an outsider, a nondescript Asian girl. She is desperate to assimilate with her American peers. She has a crush on the perfect WASP boy, Gideon Speyer. She is jealous of all the American girls because of their looks, their money, and their families. Ivy and her family are poorer than her classmates, so she starts shoplifting items to try and fit in better with the other kids at school. Her Grandmother, Meifeng, who understands her better than anyone else in her family does, helps her by giving her shoplifting tips and tricks. Ivy has the mentality of a street-kid who will do anything to survive. At first, she is doing it because she wants to fit in, but she then attains the desire to rise in the class system in America and gain wealth and status. She meets a guy from her neighborhood, Roux, who understands her. But, she treats him badly because she is busy striving towards something she can never really attain. Later, in her life as a young adult, she runs into Gideon’s sister and thinks it is fate bringing her to him finally. Gideon is a Senator’s son, and even though she barely knows him, Ivy desperately wants to not only just date him, but have a life with him. The two of them do start dating and Ivy sees that the life she has always dreamed of for herself appears to be almost within her reach.
Ovations: I love a great opening line, and this book has one! This story is very original and like nothing I have ever read before. It is unique and through provoking and you never know what is going to happen next. It is a slow-burn of a novel that does keep you guessing until the very end. There are a couple shocking surprises that I did not see coming either!
Oh Well: The singer Mariah Carey used to use the word “bleak” a lot when she was speaking. I always noticed it because I used to think, “What in her life could possibly be bleak?!” lol Anyway, that is the first word that comes to mind when describing this book. It is a very bleak, pessimistic, and depressing story. I found the main character, Ivy, so completely unlikeable. She is very bitter and constantly complains about her life. She is extremely negative, is never appreciative about anything at all. She really has no redeeming qualities that make you want to like her and root for her in the story. She sleeps around and is cold and emotionless. She seems to have no remorse for anything she does wrong. When I was reading this book, I had the mental image of me watching the story happening through a dirty window. Everything just seemed gritty and murky and tainted, because that is how Ivy is.
Opinion: I just did not enjoy Ivy or this book. It is hard to like a book when you don’t like the main character at all. Also, the story pacing was very slow and at times I did not even want to keep reading it. Lastly, I don’t know if was written this way on purpose or not, but the story was written quite shallowly. By that I mean that it never really gets into any of the characters on a deep level. They are written very one-dimensionally, without much emotion, and none of them evolve or grow as people throughout the book at all. Rating: 3 out of 10
If you are interested in this book and want to buy it now so you don’t forget, as I often do, you can click on this safe Amazon Associates link that will bring you directly to the book page where you can buy it. Click Here: White Ivy