(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Family, Romance, Social Themes, Young Adult Fiction
The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?
But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past….
Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood was a book I was excited to get my hands on. I love her Cahill Witch Chronicles series so when I found out she was writing a Contemporary YA I immediately added it to my TBR shelf.
It’s the summer before Ivy’s senior year and she has plans to do whatever she wants for once. No classes or jobs or anything her granddad wants her to do so she can further find out what her “thing” is. This story immediately grabbed my interest and I couldn’t put the book down until I finished. I loved Ivy. She is smart but what got me was her story. She lives with her granddad and in a town where her last name comes with expectations and everyone know everyone else’s story. These are the biggest reasons that her mother left town.
This story really revolves around the relationships Ivy has with the people around her. There is a romance aspect as well but it’s the family and friends who surround Ivy that drive the story forward. Immediately a few things happen that completely change how Ivy’s summer will go but the biggest thing is the announcement from her granddad that her mother is going to be moving back in with them for a while.
I have to admit, most of the time I was reading this book I wanted to just give Ivy a hug. When Ivy finally comes face to face with her mother, she is devastated to find out that her mother was only a short way away and could have come to see her anytime. When she also finds out that she has two half-sisters, Ivy is clearly thrown. The other piece to this that really had me wanting to scream at her mother for her was that Ivy’s sisters have been told that Ivy is their aunt – not their sister – and neither of them know the real story. The fact that Ivy didn’t have a complete meltdown during this whole introduction speaks to the strength within her.
Outside of Ivy, I thought the secondary characters were well done. Spotswood builds a great cast of supporting characters to add to Ivy’s story and introduce some sensitive topics. All of these pieces add up to making this a wonderful book.
There’s no question in my mind that Ivy grows throughout this book and the change in her personality is for the better. When we first meet her she was willing to do whatever she needed to in order to make everyone around her happy but by the end she finally recognized she needed to stand up for what she wanted. I loved the relationship that Ivy creates with her younger sisters despite the challenges all three face having the mother that they have.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. If there was one thing I wish it had it would be more closure. The ending felt very open-ended and somewhat incomplete to me – that could be because maybe I wanted to know more about how things would end up for Ivy but regardless…I’m hopeful that Spotswood will someday put an epilogue or something out telling me how things end up! If you like contemporary that includes some very real issues, definitely consider checking this book out.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy!