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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 trapp 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.


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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 trapp 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.

30 review for White Ivy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    Happy Publication Day!!!!!!!!!!! This book is out now!! Wow!!! There is nothing better than going into a debut and having it blow you away. ❤️ This seems to be the year of fantastic debuts and you just need to add this one to the list. This book is a slow burn that is so eloquently done that I could not look away. I could not put this down, it had an almost magnetizing element to it. Susie Yang has arrived my friends! Ivy Lin is a girl that pulled me in a million directions. On one hand I wanted t Happy Publication Day!!!!!!!!!!! This book is out now!! Wow!!! There is nothing better than going into a debut and having it blow you away. ❤️ This seems to be the year of fantastic debuts and you just need to add this one to the list. This book is a slow burn that is so eloquently done that I could not look away. I could not put this down, it had an almost magnetizing element to it. Susie Yang has arrived my friends! Ivy Lin is a girl that pulled me in a million directions. On one hand I wanted to feel sympathetic towards her. Her family immigrated to America where she lived in a low income complex, her family struggling to make ends meet. As if Ivy didn't have enough personal turmoil trying to fit in, her family sent her off to a exclusive school- Grove Prep Academy. It is here that Ivy gets a taste of the good life and decides it will be hers no matter what the cost. For some reason Ivy has that "something" about her that just draw people to her. They would see the good in her, yet she was filled with dark, disturbing thoughts. Her moral lines were not drawn in the sand, they seemed to move about whenever she needed something. Yet still...everyone seems to love Ivy. She is a master manipulator and knows her game well. She makes people want to do things for her. As she struggles to make it to the top, stepping on people from her past, just how far will she go? The ending was one that I never saw coming! I loved it! Huge shoutout to Simon & Schuster for sending this gifted physical copy my way in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is promising coming of age, thought provoking immigrant story slowly grows on you but you got to be patient enough for getting into Ivy’s world, her family dynamics, reasons behind the shame and motivations triggered her wrongdoings, her dreams to jump to her upper social class and her desire to have a wealthy life which makes her a liar and a thief. I have to admit at first: I had hard time to get into the story and live inside Ivy’s mind to connect with her life but after a few attempts l This is promising coming of age, thought provoking immigrant story slowly grows on you but you got to be patient enough for getting into Ivy’s world, her family dynamics, reasons behind the shame and motivations triggered her wrongdoings, her dreams to jump to her upper social class and her desire to have a wealthy life which makes her a liar and a thief. I have to admit at first: I had hard time to get into the story and live inside Ivy’s mind to connect with her life but after a few attempts later, I get really happy to give more chance to this read. As I said before as long as you read the story and the characters make you root for them. At the second half: I start to dislike choices Ivy made and I didn’t approve some of her decisions but I still get the reasoning behind them even though I didn’t like the consequences she created. At first she hides behind the shadows to be invisible to accomplish her mission. And she was so close to reach her dreams. Gideon Speye, coming from wealthy politician family is hooked by her charm. When she got the golden boy, she may change her own life, getting rid of poor Chinese family but a ghost from her past is so adamant not to move on her life. She can lose everything she perfectly built and worked so hard to earn. She may get extreme decisions or she may give up and face her life consisted of lies and secrets. What she is going to choose? I liked the story telling and even though at some parts I truly dislike Ivy, I still wanted to know how her journey will shape. The final twist is predictable but it was the best conclusion we get. It was promising, exhilarating and realistically developed story which stays in your mind and after you close the book, you keep thinking more and you like the taste it left in your mind. It was still unique, original and a great start for a debut author! I’m looking forward to read her future works as well, Special thanks to NetGalley and Simon&Schuster for sharing this interesting ARC in exchange my honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    jenny✨

    Just what was this cloak called privilege and how did it protect you? Was it visible to the wearer or just to onlookers on the outside? UPDATE 8/9/2020: I had some strong thoughts while reading White Ivy that I planned to include but ultimately cut from my final review. Since I finished the book, though, I've been turning it over in my head... and I think I'm going to include those initial thoughts. FIRST: I was very wary starting this book because of the Ivy/Gideon (Asian woman/white man Just what was this cloak called privilege and how did it protect you? Was it visible to the wearer or just to onlookers on the outside? UPDATE 8/9/2020: I had some strong thoughts while reading White Ivy that I planned to include but ultimately cut from my final review. Since I finished the book, though, I've been turning it over in my head... and I think I'm going to include those initial thoughts. FIRST: I was very wary starting this book because of the Ivy/Gideon (Asian woman/white man) power dynamic I sensed coming. I don't really see enough (any) rep in books that addresses the problematic idolization of whiteness—and specifically relationships with white men—that Chinese women sometimes hold. I'm not saying this applies to everyone, but I am saying that this exists. Overall, I think Ivy was just subversive enough for my red flags not to go up. That said, I still encourage you take her hero-worship of Gideon Speyer with a (hefty) grain of salt. SECOND: White Ivy gives reason no. 1389012 why I’m determined to someday contribute a story about second-gen Chinese children who have positive, loving, affectionate, and supportive (though still complex and ambivalent) relationships with their immigrant parents. Because contrary to popular representation, the Chinese diaspora does not only consist of crazy rich Asians or the struggling working-class who will do anything to assimilate into the American Dream. Yes, corporal punishment and tiger parenting can be, in their own dysfunctional ways, a manifestation of complex love. These are real, important, and valid stories: but others—just as real, important, and valid—also exist. There are innumerable families and experiences both within and outside of that binary/spectrum whose stories deserve to be told, too. Mind you: this isn't a critique of this book. Just some things I feel strongly about, and that this book has reminded me of. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ What a gorgeous, gorgeous novel about women who fight, deceive, defer, and struggle to achieve all that the world denies them. I don’t think I’ve ever read a literary thriller before, and definitely nothing like this book. It didn't go in ANY of the directions I was expecting, and I seriously couldn't stop reading until I was done. Susie Yang's writing is compulsively readable in the style of Celeste Ng and Frances Cha—taut pacing, precise language, flawed characters and all—and I really, really enjoyed it. Above all, it's permeated with an alienating and visceral sense of otherness: Ivy's isolation, shame, and humiliation as a poor Chinese immigrant in America. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ Here's the thing about White Ivy I could give a rat's ass about Gideon Speyer. This is a story about family, immigrant families in particular, and the complex love we hold for each other. She loves you so much she’d rather hurt you to make you better, even if it means you’ll hate her. Ivy is the backbone of this story. But the flesh and blood is, well, her flesh and blood, and specifically the complicated relationships she has with her mother and grandmother. Ivy has always clashed with Nan, her mother. From the day she joined her parents in America as a child, to corporal punishment and screaming matches and a humiliating incident at Gideon's fourteenth birthday—the animosity between them lingers even into Ivy's adulthood. But she grows to understand that she isn't so different from Nan, who is but another woman who wants more and will forsake everything, love and identity and vanity, to achieve it. Alsooo... Ivy's grandmother Meifeng is pretty badass. Some of my favourite parts in the whole book involve Meifeng and Ivy scheming or gossiping or telling family stories, one always backing the other up. Meifeng's a thief (and Ivy's mentor), an enterpriser, a woman who carried kilos of rice on her back into her fifties to support her daughters. It was funny and painful and poignant reading about these women in Ivy's family, their stories spanning three generations and two continents. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ And here's the thing about Ivy herself: she's TOTALLY an unlikeable narrator... Yet you won't be able to stop yourself from feeling for her. She's got a lot lot lot of internalized bullshit going on. The book revolves around an idea of perfection—what Ivy calls peace—that centres whiteness and wealth. As a woman of colour fighting for this sort of ideal, it's a shitty and painful and degrading experience. It means walking on eggshells and setting your opinions aside for those of rich white people. It necessitates taking verbal beatings and blatant racism with cheer, swallowing their contempt and telling them I liked it! All of Ivy’s pleasure lay in this gap, that elusive divide between familiarity and admiration, intimacy and enigma. Ivy's story explores the myriad ways that she both suppresses and empowers herself in this process. She's enterprising and shrewd, and by the end it's clear she isn't going to let her society-conditioned fear/worship of the Speyers stop her from wringing them for all they're worth. Tables have turned, and Ivy's never going to be their thumb ever again. The primary reason why this book wasn't a five-star read for me was that I wish this moment of revolt had come earlier in the story. The last thing I'll mention is that this book both plays up and defies stereotypes about Chinese American women. It's no coincidence that Yang's crafted Liana Finley's character—tanned, "Amazonian" tall, unconventional-looking by Chinese beauty standards, wife to a decades-older rich white man; no coincidence that Gideon's (equally wealthy) best friend Tom likens Ivy to Wendi Deng Murdoch. The contempt they hold for Asian women who've gained a foothold in their white man's world is palpable, and honestly not unlike what the reader presumably feels toward Ivy's enterprising ways—and I'd like to hope that this makes you question what you're feeling, because it certainly made me reflect on my own reactions. Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael David

    HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! I’m not even sure how to write this review, but I really loved this book way more than I expected to. It’s the story of Ivy, a Chinese American who grew up learning to steal (taught by her grandmother), and always dreaming of having the finer things in life. She becomes infatuated with Gideon, an American classmate whose family is rich. Soon after, her parents ship her off to see relatives overseas. When she returns five weeks later, she learns her family has moved to a new HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! I’m not even sure how to write this review, but I really loved this book way more than I expected to. It’s the story of Ivy, a Chinese American who grew up learning to steal (taught by her grandmother), and always dreaming of having the finer things in life. She becomes infatuated with Gideon, an American classmate whose family is rich. Soon after, her parents ship her off to see relatives overseas. When she returns five weeks later, she learns her family has moved to a new home in a new state...and away from Gideon and another friend she hung out with. Now as an adult, after having a run in with Gideon’s sister, Ivy finds herself in his life like never before. Her greed and desire for this new way of living will push her to places she’s never known, and will undoubtedly change the course of her life forever. This book is not a heart-pounding thriller. It’s a coming of age drama that has a low simmer of suspense throughout, and is beautifully written by Susie Yang. After a bit of a slow start (15% or so), I found myself fully engaged and committed to the tale I was reading. It’s a slow burn but my no means boring. I highly recommend for those who can stay invested in a book and want to peel back the layers of the characters. 4.5 stars. Thank you to Simon & Schuster, Susie Yang, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    I really wanted to love this one because it sounded like it had elements to make it one of those better reads with an unlikeable unquie diverse character with an unexpected plot. It delivered on some of that and had exciting and thrilling twists and turns to the story that surprised me, but I think it all came down to that overthinker in me that was not satisfied. I do think it will be one many readers will enjoy. The story's concept sounded like an exciting and thrilling unquie one with that op I really wanted to love this one because it sounded like it had elements to make it one of those better reads with an unlikeable unquie diverse character with an unexpected plot. It delivered on some of that and had exciting and thrilling twists and turns to the story that surprised me, but I think it all came down to that overthinker in me that was not satisfied. I do think it will be one many readers will enjoy. The story's concept sounded like an exciting and thrilling unquie one with that opening line's intriguing hook, however it soon felt irrelevant to the story's development and never really went anywhere. It almost felt like bait and switch sort of thing with the author building on the concept and creating Ivy as a thief, and then the story really doesn't go anywhere. The pace is slow and a lot of the first half of the story felt like filler till about 3/4 of the way in and then the story finally hooked me with the thrilling climax to the story and those exciting twists in the end. I have been talking a bit about unlikeable characters, and Ivy is an unquie one. She is complicated, but I didn't find her interesting. Maybe a bit too complicated and I never really got to know the real her and maybe that was the point. I am not sure the author really knew her character either or if she was just an idea for an unlikeable character that just didn't deliver for me. Overall I thought it did make for an easy, unquie, diverse and unpredictable story with a bit of drama to it with an exciting ending!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Blaine

    ”You used to ask how your father and I got married. That’s how. It was because I willed it. If I had been a stupider girl, your father never would have looked at me. But I saw my chance and made a story for myself—even if it was a false story. You have to give a man something to fight for. That’s the secret to a lasting marriage.” Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for sending me an ARC of White Ivy in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately, the story did not work for me at all. It is ”You used to ask how your father and I got married. That’s how. It was because I willed it. If I had been a stupider girl, your father never would have looked at me. But I saw my chance and made a story for myself—even if it was a false story. You have to give a man something to fight for. That’s the secret to a lasting marriage.” Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for sending me an ARC of White Ivy in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately, the story did not work for me at all. It is quite slow. Ivy is (objectively, I would argue) a fairly horrible person, and I could never really understand her motivations. She’s envious of a certain strata of American life from a distance, but her relationship with Gideon is so flawed that it’s never clear why she clings to it. Her only passion is with Roux, yet she’s willing to shed that relationship and subsume her true nature for what she thinks will make her happy, even though it is so plainly obvious that she does not know what she really wants. I get those choices symbolically—trying to break free from her past and chase her version of the American Dream—but as actual human relationships they are difficult to accept. Susie Yang is clearly a talented writer. There are clever turns of phrase throughout and Ivy is a richly detailed character. Hopefully I’ll find more to like in her next novel.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    “White Ivy” kept me reading when I should have been doing something else: sleeping, organizing, chores. From the start, I enjoyed author Susie Yang’s literary style. Her prose is easily read. Her observations are beautiful. For example: ~All women, Ivy was beginning to understand, had a theme. The story they constantly told themselves. The innermost wound. ~Ivy’s anger turned to forlorn disgust. She would never be able to make this plain, undeviating man understand that the most fragile inner part “White Ivy” kept me reading when I should have been doing something else: sleeping, organizing, chores. From the start, I enjoyed author Susie Yang’s literary style. Her prose is easily read. Her observations are beautiful. For example: ~All women, Ivy was beginning to understand, had a theme. The story they constantly told themselves. The innermost wound. ~Ivy’s anger turned to forlorn disgust. She would never be able to make this plain, undeviating man understand that the most fragile inner parts of a woman were compiled from a million subtle looks and careless statements from others; this was identity. Ivy is a Chinese immigrate who Yang initially writes compassionately. She was born in China and raised by her grandmother until she was five. Her parents left her with her grandmother when she was two. After her parents had enough money in the US, they asked for Ivy, who was cruelly sent alone on a long-distance plane to the USA. By all accounts, Ivy endured a harsh early childhood. Once she got into the US, her parents were “heavy on corporal punishment.” In fact, the bigger the beatings she received, the bigger gifts she gained afterwards. Her parents were traditional and wanted her to be pure and dutiful. But Ivy was a typical American youth. During her middle school years, she developed a huge crush on a boy, Gideon, who was from an established family. His father was a Senator in Massachusetts and his mother was a cultured woman. Ivy dreamed of being part of that world, the world of wealth and ease. Another factor in Ivy’s upbringing was her grandmother, who taught her how to shop lift. Her grandmother did it to survive. Ivy did it for fun, but also for those things she was restricted from buying like fingernail polish, lipstick, hair pins etc. A neighbor boy, Roux, living near Ivy, was a fellow shoplifter. She identified much with him, as they were in the same socioeconomic situation. While Ivy smoked cigarettes and shop lifted with Roux, she went to school where she yearned to be noticed by Gideon. After a youthful shenanigan, Ivy is shipped to China to spend the summer with her aunties. While she’s away, her family moves and separates her from her middle school friends. After Ivy graduates from university and works as a first-grade teacher, she surprisingly comes into contact with Gideon’s sister. Through the sister Ivy sees Gideon again, and a budding romance begins. I’m not sure why, but Yang writes very little about Ivy’s relationship with Gideon. It was difficult to picture them as a romantic couple. Through a surprising plot twist, Ivy gets into contact with Roux. There are some plot holes in Ivy’s character development. She seems to be unemployed at one point, broke, and worried, and then she goes shopping. The way she met Roux as an adult was a reach. There are more plot holes, however, they are not distracting (at least for me). I went with the story, and what an interesting story Ms Yang wrote. Yang does a brilliant job of writing how Ivy really wants to dig herself out of her poor middle-class. One can empathize with Ivy in that her dream has always been to be confident, wealthy and at ease. Ivy is not comfortable in her own skin. She wants to belong, belong to a higher social class. In that way, it’s a coming of age story of a girl who wants to change herself, even with the emotional toll. And at points, Ivy is not a likeable character. Yet, don’t we all have periods in our lives when we are not likeable? The plot twists are many (a few holes in those), but it becomes a thriller with those fun twists. The ending…..I was impressed!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    This is one of those books that I feel does not fit nicely into any specific genre. Majority of readers seem to put this under the thriller / suspense category, but to be honest, despite the story having a few surprises (I would hardly call them “twists and turns”), there really wasn’t a whole lot of “suspense” in most of the narrative, at least from what I could see. If I had to categorize this, I would say that it goes best under contemporary fiction, since at its core, the story does explore This is one of those books that I feel does not fit nicely into any specific genre. Majority of readers seem to put this under the thriller / suspense category, but to be honest, despite the story having a few surprises (I would hardly call them “twists and turns”), there really wasn’t a whole lot of “suspense” in most of the narrative, at least from what I could see. If I had to categorize this, I would say that it goes best under contemporary fiction, since at its core, the story does explore many of the hot button issues that we see currently in our own society – issues such as immigration, wealth disparity between rich and poor, complicated family dynamics, assimilation versus cultural differences, social class and privilege, etc. For me in particular, there was a lot to unpack with this story, and as I sat down to write this review, I struggled with the realization that what I write here is barely going to scratch the surface of all the thoughts that went through my mind as I read. With fiction, I’m usually not a huge fan of highlighting passages while I read, as it breaks my flow and can be distracting at times, but with this book, I ended up highlighting a lot because so much of the story resonated with me. Many of the coming-of-age experiences that the main character, Ivy Lin, went through in the story were very similar to what I experienced as a Chinese-American girl who grew up in an immigrant household very much like Ivy’s. To be completely honest, I was actually floored by how much Ivy’s upbringing and family dynamics resembled my own, to the point that, as I was reading, I actually felt like I was reliving my own childhood all over again. Everything from the way the parents (and grandmother) behaved and acted, to the way Ivy interacted with them, the reactions of the friends around them, the pressure and stress associated with being a child of immigrants trying to navigate two different and often conflicting worlds while trying to understand her role in that world, the struggles with identity and trying to reconcile her family’s expectations with society’s cultural dissonance, right down to the feelings that Ivy struggled with throughout the story and how all of it ended up impacting her in a big way – all of it was familiar to me because so much of it was a lived experience for me (and for many of my Chinese friends as well). With all that said, I do have put in a bit of a disclaimer here, as I approached this book very differently than most other readers probably did. Having some form of personal connection to a story can change the way that story is read and experienced, which, for me, proved to be absolutely true with this book. While most others likely approached this story more from the perspective of a plot-driven thriller, I came at it from a completely different perspective: I read this more from the perspective of it being a coming-of-age immigrant story, which meant that the plot was secondary in that it was merely a way for me to understand this character of Ivy and why she ended up doing the things she did. Of course, this by no means excuses Ivy’s actions or behavior or the fact that she deserves to be disliked because of not just her manipulative, deceitful ways, but also what she does to “fix” some of the mistakes she made. In choosing to focus on the “why” – specifically, the aspects of Ivy’s upbringing and the reality of her circumstances that undoubtedly played a role in the flawed person she became -- it allowed me to approach the character of Ivy with a sentiment that probably many others who also read this book would not have felt: sympathy. This is a sympathy bred from my familiarity with the upbringing and immigrant story that the author is trying to tell through Ivy (and her family). On a personal level, I know how it feels to grow up in a household where you are constantly reminded, day in and day out, that your parents gave up a life of comfort and familiarity in their home countries to move across continents, to a place that is foreign and where they don’t know the language, where the culture is completely (and in some instances, shockingly) different, where their talents back home can’t be utilized and they are viewed as second-class citizens, etc. – all of these sacrifices are because they want you, their child/children, to have a good future and hopefully live a better life than they did. I understand, intimately in fact, the tremendous pressure and stress from having to constantly strive to meet these expectations while trying to navigate how to fit in to a society that isn’t exactly accepting of you either. I also understand the constant uphill battle (a never-ending struggle that lasts your entire life) to reconcile your culture with the reality of your circumstances and the realization that, no matter how hard you try, it will never be enough, and you will find yourself forever straddling that precarious line between two clashing identities. Further than just shared experiences though, I also resonated with Ivy from an emotional perspective. When it came to the feelings that Ivy experienced at different points in her life, particularly as it related to her family and cultural upbringing -- feelings such as shame, confusion, embarrassment, loneliness guilt, fear, regret, etc. – it brought back memories of all the times throughout my life where I can recall feeling the same way. With all that said though, while I sympathized with Ivy, I also sympathized – perhaps even more deeply – with her younger brother Austin, who had such a minor role in the story, yet to me, the few scenes he was in and the things that happened in those scenes were actually the most significant in terms of understanding the family dynamics as well as the lasting impact those dynamics have, whether intentional or not. If this review sounds a bit vague, note that it was deliberate on my part, as the book’s plot summary already said quite a lot and there really isn’t much else I can say without giving away more of the story than necessary. With how much the story impacted me, of course I recommend this book, but with the caveat that your experience reading it will no doubt be different from mine. Reading this book actually gave me goosebumps -- not because of the plot necessarily (though there are plenty of triggers in here, especially as it relates to sex and violence, that may be uncomfortable for some readers, so definitely keep that in mind) -- but rather, the memories that the familiarity of the characters’ experiences drew up for me. Understanding that this is the author Susie Yang’s debut novel, I have no idea how much of the story’s background is related to her own or whether she is writing from a place of familiarity like I experienced. But one thing I do know is that I am definitely interested in what Yang decides to write next – regardless of genre, I know for sure it will be a book that I’ll want to read! Received ARC from Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    "All her life, she had sought something she couldn't name. Love? Wealth? Beauty? But none of those things were exactly right. What she sought was peace. The peace of having something no one could take away from you." This is a slow burn, suspenseful, character study yet coming of age novel all rolled into one. Ivy Lin is a Chinese American that wants nothing more than the American dream but she doesn't really want to work in order to earn it. She would like it handed to her lovingly. Back in "All her life, she had sought something she couldn't name. Love? Wealth? Beauty? But none of those things were exactly right. What she sought was peace. The peace of having something no one could take away from you." This is a slow burn, suspenseful, character study yet coming of age novel all rolled into one. Ivy Lin is a Chinese American that wants nothing more than the American dream but she doesn't really want to work in order to earn it. She would like it handed to her lovingly. Back in school she had a crush on Gideon the all American heart throb that came from a wealthy family. Years later she is reunited with Gideon and she isn't going to let him out of her life a second time. She will steal his heart one way or another. Ivy was a complicated character that begs you to keep turning the pages. Even Ivy herself can hardly stand to look at herself in the mirror in fear of the monster that is gazing back. I especially enjoyed the scenes between Ivy and Roux her childhood friend from the same poor neighborhood that she can't seem to break ties with. Susie Yang penned a cunning tale of love and deceit and what is more impressive is that this is her debut novel. Highly recommend! 4 stars! Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the digital ARC.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    I loved this book, which is about a girl who immigrates to America from China and falls deeply in love...with consumerism. And also two very different men. This book is so beautifully and lyrically written. It has echoes of The Great Gatsby and The Secret History. I was completely consumed by this book, so that I was unaware of anything else happening around me. That’s how obsessed I was with Ivy. No spoilers but there is a moment in this book that is so genuinely shocking, I gasped aloud. I am no I loved this book, which is about a girl who immigrates to America from China and falls deeply in love...with consumerism. And also two very different men. This book is so beautifully and lyrically written. It has echoes of The Great Gatsby and The Secret History. I was completely consumed by this book, so that I was unaware of anything else happening around me. That’s how obsessed I was with Ivy. No spoilers but there is a moment in this book that is so genuinely shocking, I gasped aloud. I am not really sure how else to describe this book except that it’s gorgeous, and I can’t wait to read more from this author. Thanks to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster and Susie Yang for an advance copy of this arresting and beautiful book in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Claire Reads Books

    Holy hell! This book knocked me out. A kind of modern Great Gatsby meets Parasite, White Ivy offers a look at the perversity of the American Dream and the unrelenting costs of upward mobility and social striving. I can’t remember the last time I read a debut where I felt like I was in such sure hands—the prose is deliciously sharp, the plot as tight as a drum, and the pacing (emotional and otherwise) is tuned to such perfection that the “oh shit” moments hit you right where it hurts. I ripped th Holy hell! This book knocked me out. A kind of modern Great Gatsby meets Parasite, White Ivy offers a look at the perversity of the American Dream and the unrelenting costs of upward mobility and social striving. I can’t remember the last time I read a debut where I felt like I was in such sure hands—the prose is deliciously sharp, the plot as tight as a drum, and the pacing (emotional and otherwise) is tuned to such perfection that the “oh shit” moments hit you right where it hurts. I ripped through this one because it’s just that good, but I know I’ll be thinking about it for a long, long time. God! What a book—can’t wait to go back and read it again.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Woodward

    *Many thanks to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, and Susie Yang for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 11.3!* Dark, lyrical, and utterly compelling! Ivy Ling is a thief: and incredibly proud of it! She learned her craft under the tutelage of her grandmother, who expertly lifts items from garage sales and resells them to make a tidy profit. While Ivy is her own headstrong and intelligent young woman, the danger of her job is alluring in that she is finally able to own the finery that will help h *Many thanks to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, and Susie Yang for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 11.3!* Dark, lyrical, and utterly compelling! Ivy Ling is a thief: and incredibly proud of it! She learned her craft under the tutelage of her grandmother, who expertly lifts items from garage sales and resells them to make a tidy profit. While Ivy is her own headstrong and intelligent young woman, the danger of her job is alluring in that she is finally able to own the finery that will help her feel acclimated to her wealthy environment. Ivy's ascent into popularity with the wealthy kids at her school comes to an abrupt halt, though, when Ivy's mother learns of her misdeeds and feels that some time in China will help to straighten out her daughter. The narrative then shifts across time, filling in the gaps until she returns to the United States, determined to forge her own path and once again attain the life she has always secretly felt was meant to be hers Wealthy golden boy Gideon once again catches her eye, and Ivy feels all of the same desires rush back to her. The only snag in this plan and disruption to her seamless integration into the posh family is the entrance of another figure from Ivy’s past, the edgy yet fascinating Roux. As Ivy gets swept back under his spell, which destiny is hers for the taking? Can she make a decision before fate makes it for her? To call this book "just another thriller" in no way would do it justice! I was truly floored to find out that this is Yang's first novel! Her use of language was absolutely beautiful, captivating, and almost hypnotic! White Ivy manages to blend elements of historical fiction, drama, and romance, while still maintaining the quiet underlying tension of a slow-burn thriller from start to finish. Yang's imagery, similes, and metaphors are top-notch. You can absolutely feel her passion for language and dedication to the craft. The novel also definitely has a bildungsroman feel throughout, and watching Ivy develop from a young girl to a woman is a haunting yet beautiful transformation. The ending of the novel is also really open to interpretation and is certainly a shocker in some respects, leaving the reader to decide what sort of destiny is TRULY in store for Ivy and whether or not her choices were wise....or devastating! Yang has certainly established herself quickly as an author to watch, and White Ivy is destined to be one of November's hottest releases! I wholeheartedly recommend this book and will be anxiously awaiting her next release! *Special thanks to my GR friends Michael and Christina for putting this amazing book on my radar!*

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook....read by Emily Woo Zeller The development of a first rate thief and a lier....[Kudos Grandma], Ivy Lin-Chinese American- is an author’s creation, that epitomizes the phrase “flawed character”. I’m being generous — Ivy is also insecure, but bold, manipulative, secretive, greedy, confused, and well, (let’s just say it like it is > an unlikable - but compelling protagonist). Not to worry, Ivy’s mother, ‘Nan’, is even less likable. I didn’t root for ‘mom’. But back to Ivy...star of the show Audiobook....read by Emily Woo Zeller The development of a first rate thief and a lier....[Kudos Grandma], Ivy Lin-Chinese American- is an author’s creation, that epitomizes the phrase “flawed character”. I’m being generous — Ivy is also insecure, but bold, manipulative, secretive, greedy, confused, and well, (let’s just say it like it is > an unlikable - but compelling protagonist). Not to worry, Ivy’s mother, ‘Nan’, is even less likable. I didn’t root for ‘mom’. But back to Ivy...star of the show: ...as bonkers as Ivy was at times....I found myself rooting for her. Ivy made me laugh when she’d say things like this: “Paying for something out in the open with money that wasn’t even her own, was more exhilarating than shoplifting”. Grandma, ‘Meifeng’ was a mixed bag — of love - and a little cuckoo. But overall - there was something endearing about Ivy’s relationship with grandma. There are friends [of course Ivy would at least try to have friends].... ....and BOYS ....boys who turned into young adults - two to be exact: Gideon, and Roux, that helped round out this novel of ‘everything’ WHITE...and BLACK .....about *Ivy*. There’s nothing like a little love-triangle to keep things interesting. This is an entertaining ‘coming-of age’ novel —not a typical Asian-family immigrant tale. But the author does explore class, race, identity, and family. Life was a challenge for Ivy - as a child - [never quite fitting in with the cool crowd....or America], nor as an adult, [for the same reasons]. Plenty of drama, engaging dialogue, .....with an ending that actually had me giggling....( not sure that was the purpose or not), but hey —the entertainment escapism pleasure was going on from page 1... so why not finish off this story with a bang?/! Congrats to Susie Yang. Great first novel. Fun read!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ceecee

    3-4 stars rounded up. This is the story of Ivy Lin whose family emigrate from China to the USA when Ivy was a child. This is a coming of age story, of a journey to self realisation and trying to find a means to balance her Chinese heritage with the American Dream especially after meeting the ‘golden’ Speyer family. The turmoil and struggle that Ivy faces to fit in both in childhood and adulthood is very well portrayed. She’s an outsider, she’s lonely and I’m torn between feeling sorry for her but 3-4 stars rounded up. This is the story of Ivy Lin whose family emigrate from China to the USA when Ivy was a child. This is a coming of age story, of a journey to self realisation and trying to find a means to balance her Chinese heritage with the American Dream especially after meeting the ‘golden’ Speyer family. The turmoil and struggle that Ivy faces to fit in both in childhood and adulthood is very well portrayed. She’s an outsider, she’s lonely and I’m torn between feeling sorry for her but mostly disliking her as she’s also opportunistic, very calculating and prepared to get what she wants by any means. Her relationship with the Speyers, especially with son Gideon is like a fly on the wall drama, at times it’s cringeworthy but it’s also fascinating puzzling out who is the least honest and most inscrutable - Gideon or Ivy. All you can tell is that it’s one of unease and it’s not natural at all and it makes you feel uncomfortable. Childhood and later adulthood friend Roux Roman is probably the only person who sees Ivy for exactly what she is and that is a dangerous thing. There are moments of tension, wariness and multiple obstacles as Ivy finally sees things for what they are and finds some peace. Much of this is no surprise as the warning signs are there, she just chose to disregard them. Overall, this is a well written debut which reveals an author of obvious talent. However, for me this slow burn is a bit too slow in places especially at the start and I find Ivy an unsympathetic character so the book doesn’t entirely resonate despite the quality of the writing. With thanks to NetGalley and Headline/Wildfire for the arc for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    An outstanding debut! So beautifully written. Captivating. I was so obsessed with Ivy! It's now been two weeks since I finished White Ivy and I'm still thinking about this book. I have a feeling I likely will for awhile ... definitely a favorite this year!! I legitimately gasped out loud at one point in the book because I was so beyond shocked by what happened. At that moment I needed to talk to someone!! Immediately! (Thank goodness for the #WhiteIvyReadathon - seriously!!) And that ending ... w An outstanding debut! So beautifully written. Captivating. I was so obsessed with Ivy! It's now been two weeks since I finished White Ivy and I'm still thinking about this book. I have a feeling I likely will for awhile ... definitely a favorite this year!! I legitimately gasped out loud at one point in the book because I was so beyond shocked by what happened. At that moment I needed to talk to someone!! Immediately! (Thank goodness for the #WhiteIvyReadathon - seriously!!) And that ending ... what the heck!? I'd love to know if anyone actually saw that coming. There's a ton of recaps and reviews and I just really wanted to say, read this! I hope you love it just as much as I did. Huge thank you to Tandem Collective Global and Simon & Schuster Canada for my copy!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vonda

    Deep character study on how certain personalities can turn out in life. Ivy isn't likeable or respectable as the female protagonist. She lives life by the seat of it's pants and does what she wants when she wants. If you want a contemporary novel that brings the drama with a bit of Chinese culture here it is. Deep character study on how certain personalities can turn out in life. Ivy isn't likeable or respectable as the female protagonist. She lives life by the seat of it's pants and does what she wants when she wants. If you want a contemporary novel that brings the drama with a bit of Chinese culture here it is.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey (a_novel_idea11)

    Ivy Lin immigrated to the United States from China as a young girl. In the U.S., Ivy didn’t feel like she fit in. From a poor family but attending a wealthy school because her father worked there, Ivy struggled academically and socially. She learned to take what she wanted - from stores, from others, and from life. She also learned how to be what others wanted her to be - a demure, intelligent, attractive, Chinese girl. All grown up, Ivy lives in Boston with her roommate and is working as a scho Ivy Lin immigrated to the United States from China as a young girl. In the U.S., Ivy didn’t feel like she fit in. From a poor family but attending a wealthy school because her father worked there, Ivy struggled academically and socially. She learned to take what she wanted - from stores, from others, and from life. She also learned how to be what others wanted her to be - a demure, intelligent, attractive, Chinese girl. All grown up, Ivy lives in Boston with her roommate and is working as a schoolteacher. When one of her student’s aunts picks her up and Ivy realizes the woman is the sister of her school girl crush, Ivy seizes the opportunity and ends up with an invitation to Syville Speyer’s New Years bash. At the party, Ivy orchestrates a reunion with Syville’s brother, Gideon. Gideon is kind hearted, intelligent, well respected, and well bred. Ivy morphs herself into the perfect partner for Gideon and the two begin a romantic relationship. But Ivy is still not wholly satisfied, and will do whatever she can to have her cake and eat it too. The novel spans most of Ivy’s adolescence and young adult life. My interest waxed and waned with the various parts and my disdain for Ivy grew considerably as the story unfolded. Ivy was selfish, flaky, and lacked empathy. Part of me loves disliking the main character so I actually didn’t mind that I found Ivy unappealing. Her relationships intrigued me and Ivy was like a chameleon with who and what she was with each person. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this novel.

  18. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4 amazing debut stars This was a fascinating character study, a slow burn coming of age story, and finally finding peace. Of course, the main character is Ivy and we see her as a five year old, leaving China and her grandma behind to come to the US to live with her parents – strangers at this point to her. It broke my heart a bit that Ivy’s parents were not very affectionate with her. Ivy falls into a life of shoplifting and lying and always seems to be reaching for more, never really satisfied w 4 amazing debut stars This was a fascinating character study, a slow burn coming of age story, and finally finding peace. Of course, the main character is Ivy and we see her as a five year old, leaving China and her grandma behind to come to the US to live with her parents – strangers at this point to her. It broke my heart a bit that Ivy’s parents were not very affectionate with her. Ivy falls into a life of shoplifting and lying and always seems to be reaching for more, never really satisfied with the life that she has. At a private school, she falls hard for Gideon Speyer, but is sent away by her family before anything can develop. Years later, Ivy has settled in as a teacher when her path crosses with the Speyer family again and now she works hard to become part of the Speyer family. Maybe this could bring her happiness? There are definitely some bumps in the road and I wasn’t sure where this story was going to end up, but I found myself hoping that Ivy would find the thing that really made her happy, whether that was a fulfilling career, a life with Gideon, or maybe something else entirely. She really does come full circle and I enjoyed being along for the ride. Although I’m not sure I would want to be friends with her in real life! Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the copy of this one to read and review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly (Deity of Books)

    I was not expecting to like this book this much. Ivy is a liar and a thief. She is a Chinese Immigrant who wants to be successful, live up to her parents' wishes, and move up on the social ladder. She grew up in a not-so-nice neighborhood in Massachusetts and is ashamed of her background. She aspires to be like her White classmates because she thinks of them as symbols of wealth and success. She develops an obsession with a boy named Gideon. He is the golden boy and comes from a wealthy family. T I was not expecting to like this book this much. Ivy is a liar and a thief. She is a Chinese Immigrant who wants to be successful, live up to her parents' wishes, and move up on the social ladder. She grew up in a not-so-nice neighborhood in Massachusetts and is ashamed of her background. She aspires to be like her White classmates because she thinks of them as symbols of wealth and success. She develops an obsession with a boy named Gideon. He is the golden boy and comes from a wealthy family. They become friends and Ivy wants a chance to date him, but her chance is ruined by her family... Until she grows up. It starts off kind of slow, but then it takes a turn and I just couldn't stop reading. I didn't really like some of the characters and didn't like Ivy sometimes because of the choices she made. Regardless, Ivy is a very interesting character. I could relate to Ivy when it came to her family because I am Asian American too and I loved that the author included some Chinglish. I wish that there was less narration and more dialogue. Other than that, it's an incredible book and you should definitely read it. ARC received via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kelsea

    Chinese American #ownvoices literary thriller. Synopsis that starts with Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar. Posh high society, immigrant experience, AND an ambitious AF MC. Yes, yes, YES I am self-centered enough to think this book MUST have been written for me! Now excuse me while I spend today screaming and squealing because I'VE BEEN APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UPDATE: OKAY I'VE READ IT. And OMGGGGGGG I am so so so thrilled that this actually lived up to my extremely (and unreasonably) high hopes! This Chinese American #ownvoices literary thriller. Synopsis that starts with Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar. Posh high society, immigrant experience, AND an ambitious AF MC. Yes, yes, YES I am self-centered enough to think this book MUST have been written for me! Now excuse me while I spend today screaming and squealing because I'VE BEEN APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UPDATE: OKAY I'VE READ IT. And OMGGGGGGG I am so so so thrilled that this actually lived up to my extremely (and unreasonably) high hopes! This story was clever and well-layered. Full of terrible, ambitious people with secrets. An absolute joy to read. I had insomnia last night and decided to start the book, thinking I'd read a few chapters and then go to bed. WELP. Let me tell you, this book did NOT help with insomnia because soon enough, I was wide awake and reading as fast as I could. Finished the book up around 4am and then just sat there thinking about the ending! Because OMG. I loved the cynical look at wealth gaps. The subtle nods and little details, especially regarding the Chinese American identity. As a Chinese American woman myself, I appreciated so many of those little things. I don't even know if everyone would notice them, but I did, and they were incorporated in such a clever way! For example, at one point, teenaged Ivy goes to a Caucasian American boy's house and he says she can keep her shoes on. She blushes and then follows him in. It's things like that. They're not spelled out plain and clear. If you get that it's a Chinese thing, you get it. I just... loved that so much. (Maybe because it helped me feel like I was in on a clever little secret.) I think some will likely find parts of the story slow, but I loved every second of it. I am happy to savor writing this good! This is a slow burn thriller. We follow Ivy through her entire childhood and then her adulthood up to one pivotal moment. Since I only got four hours of sleep, I don't think I'm doing this book justice with my review, but I couldn't wait another minute to write down how I felt. The ending was powerful and interesting. At first, I wasn't sure how I felt, but then I realized how much it made me think. How well it fit. And the more I think about it, the more I love it. This isn't a story meant to be neatly tied up with a bow. This is the kind that provokes thought and discussion. It would actually be quite an excellent book club read! If you couldn't tell already, I highly, HIGHLY recommend pre-ordering this clever, brilliant book! Out Sept 8. Thank you Simon Books for providing a free advanced copy of the book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Dear Ivy . . . .  This was the last book I read in 2020 . . . .  And holy shit talk about a humdinger.  It's better to go in here as blind as possible to avoid spoiling yourself on anything that happens.  All you need to know is that this is the story of Ivy Linn's life that spans from her birth in China to her being left behind by her parents while they moved to America to them sending for her at the age of five and everything else that happens after that until she's in her late 20s.  And Dear Ivy . . . .  This was the last book I read in 2020 . . . .  And holy shit talk about a humdinger.  It's better to go in here as blind as possible to avoid spoiling yourself on anything that happens.  All you need to know is that this is the story of Ivy Linn's life that spans from her birth in China to her being left behind by her parents while they moved to America to them sending for her at the age of five and everything else that happens after that until she's in her late 20s.  And also that she is real despicable so if you don't like to read about unlikeable people you best stay far away from this one. This was another selection from the New York Times Most Notable of 2020 and easily the best I've read so far.  All the stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    This novel takes the familiar story of the Striving Social Climber and adds to the familiar theme of class, the immigrant narrative and internalized racism. It is not just that Ivy sees the wealth of her classmates and sees privilege and power, she also sees their comfort and ease in the world, which comes not just from their money but their whiteness. I admit that as I read I kept waiting for Yang to build on these new themes, to intensify and explore them. It was an unfair expectation. Ivy's re This novel takes the familiar story of the Striving Social Climber and adds to the familiar theme of class, the immigrant narrative and internalized racism. It is not just that Ivy sees the wealth of her classmates and sees privilege and power, she also sees their comfort and ease in the world, which comes not just from their money but their whiteness. I admit that as I read I kept waiting for Yang to build on these new themes, to intensify and explore them. It was an unfair expectation. Ivy's relationship to race is just as important as that of class, but the Striving Social Climber novel is not going to hit you over the head with meditations on class and wealth. That is what the story is for. This is a plot novel, not a nothing happens novel, and while most of the fiction I've read that deals centrally with race does take a more meditative and so-called "literary" approach, that is not the way it must be dealt with. Working it into the novel without beating you over the head with it is just something I haven't encountered regularly enough that I can set my own expectations. Just another sign to me as a reader of how important it is to read broadly and for more and more variety in what's published. Not every book about race *should* be an important prize-winning meditation. We get to see Ivy's obsession with whiteness in the story and that is more than enough. This book teaches you how to read it, set your expectations aside and let it tell you what it is. This is not quite a crime/suspense novel but I think it will appeal to those readers who like a slow burn. In some ways this book is the story of Ivy pulling an extremely long con, trying to infiltrate a world where she doesn't belong. It is a world full of mysteries for her to solve and where she must keep much of herself hidden. I do not always enjoy the Striving Social Climber novel. I often get bored of the overly charismatic character the protagonist is obsessed with. Often the protagonist is so much of a blank slate that they aren't actually interesting. And I personally don't find the world of the wealthy interesting or exciting, much the opposite. But what Yang does so successfully here is subvert that dynamic completely. Ivy is the interesting one. The book does not try to make her obsession, blonde senator's son Gideon, into someone interesting. He is blandly charming, vague, kind only when it requires no effort to be so. And with the added race and immigration dynamics, it is entirely clear why Ivy has this obsession, it is the story of an immigrant child longing to fit in taken to a deeply unhealthy level. Which tells you everything you need to know about Ivy, who she is, and what matters to her. I particularly enjoyed the early section of the book showing Ivy's childhood, laying out her difficult relationship with her mother, and especially her trip back to China where she encounters both absurd wealth and poverty while she is unable to see these states as unconnected from the value of a person and their experience. Ivy longs not only for American whiteness and privilege, but a world where she has power to do as little as she likes, where she is more than the cog in a constantly-running machine that she sees as her parents' worldview. Of course Ivy hasn't quite understood it all correctly, and watching her ideas about her family crumble as the book continues adds dimension. THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY is a decent comp, Ivy is just as much of an antihero. But instead of Tom's empty, flat sociopathy, Ivy is fully drawn and full of life. The longer this book sits with me, the more I like it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jordy’s Book Club

    I started #WhiteIvy yesterday morning and found myself captivated from cover to cover, totally invested in the story of Ivy; from her complicated upbringing by her Chinese immigrant family, to her transformation into an insecure but manipulative young woman who will do whatever it takes to win the love of a handsome wealthy man she’s been pursuing since grade school. I loved the cultural specificity in this story, and thought the deep-dive into Ivy’s family and heritage really elevated her chara I started #WhiteIvy yesterday morning and found myself captivated from cover to cover, totally invested in the story of Ivy; from her complicated upbringing by her Chinese immigrant family, to her transformation into an insecure but manipulative young woman who will do whatever it takes to win the love of a handsome wealthy man she’s been pursuing since grade school. I loved the cultural specificity in this story, and thought the deep-dive into Ivy’s family and heritage really elevated her character and gave her depth and complexity. In particular, the juxtaposition between the generations of women in this novel, grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters…was what really set this book apart from other similar titles in the genre. In addition, the love triangle between Ivy and her two love interests is complicated and dangerous and sexy and wicked fun. ⠀⠀ Fans of #PrettyThings, #NecessaryPeople, #TheTalentedMrRipley, #TheJoyLuckClub and #TheMajesties will really enjoy this one. White Ivy is officially out September 8th

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Shuster Canada for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. Ivy Lin has certainly been on my mind. A thief, a liar, and most definitely a woman who isn't used to anyone saying no. From her early years in China with her grandmother to her reunion with her parents and brother in America, Ivy doesn't feel that she really fits. Her grades at school are abysmal, her mother rules with an iron fist, and her peers don't really seem to want her for anything except Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Shuster Canada for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. Ivy Lin has certainly been on my mind. A thief, a liar, and most definitely a woman who isn't used to anyone saying no. From her early years in China with her grandmother to her reunion with her parents and brother in America, Ivy doesn't feel that she really fits. Her grades at school are abysmal, her mother rules with an iron fist, and her peers don't really seem to want her for anything except to "diversify" their group. As an adult, Ivy once again meets up with the wealthy family she adored and soon a romance begins with their son. But this family has got a tonne of secrets and so does Ivy. How long before this house of cards tumbles to the ground? White Ivy was a page-turner for me because of Ivy, I felt a lot of compassion for this misfit who just really appeared to want the perfect family and love. I felt it hard to judge her as completely "bad" instead I liked that Susie Yang really gets to all of Ivy's flaws. While it might not be so pretty to always be in her head, it definitely made the character memorable. I suppose where the story loses a star for me is that it wasn't exactly as "obsessive" as I would have liked. Once Ivy has Gideon and has met his family, I felt there was definitely more of a cat and mouse chase between Ivy and two other characters. I feel that the plot was a slow burn towards a sequence of events that turn the story on its axis, but the ending wasn't necessarily explosive. However, I will concede it's an interesting predicament that Yang leaves her female protagonist. This was a really great read and I hope that other readers sit up and take notice of Susie Yang this fall. Trust me, Ivy is unforgettable. Expected Publication Date 03/11/20 Goodreads review 12/08/20

  25. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    I loathed Ivy and wasn’t willing to spend any more time in her head. I didn’t make it very far in this book. Instead of showing events and letting the reader grow to understand how the past influenced Ivy’s character, the author rationalized every aspect of Ivy’s appalling character in big bold letters. This definitely wasn’t the right book for me. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    One can approach this book in two different ways: as a thriller or as a coming of age story. Although Ivy was a flawed character whose dark side would have played well into a psychological suspense, I felt that the plot was slower paced than your typical thriller and had more curves than twists and turns. As a coming of age story White Ivy was more compelling. You got to see how the high expectations placed on immigrant children impact their lives. With Austin we see what happens when you try to One can approach this book in two different ways: as a thriller or as a coming of age story. Although Ivy was a flawed character whose dark side would have played well into a psychological suspense, I felt that the plot was slower paced than your typical thriller and had more curves than twists and turns. As a coming of age story White Ivy was more compelling. You got to see how the high expectations placed on immigrant children impact their lives. With Austin we see what happens when you try to navigate both worlds and fail to keep your head above water. Yang illustrated the burden of denial and how the family's dynamics played into his disease. Ivy realizes though that she will never live up to her parents' dreams. But she finds that she is able to get by on her cunning. That at times the best strategy for straddling both worlds is to fade to the background and not bring much attention to herself. But even with all of her maneuvering, we still see her self doubt and fear. Ivy certainly is a complex character and my feelings towards her were all over the map. I certainly did not agree with all of her decisions but Yang does a great job of showing you how Ivy came to be this flawed person and why she does what she does. Overall, White Ivy was a competent debut and Yang's writing skills are evident. This book might not have been all that I was expecting but I will definitely give Yang's next book a chance.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    Impressive Debut Novel! 4.5 Stars I was quite excited when I won this story. It was thoroughly engrossing from start to finish. I read it quite quickly (even though I had company visiting). The writing was superb! I've read other authors who having written several published stories that still haven't developed this level of talent. While she gives plenty of clues to big reveal, unfortunately for me, they were a bit to obvious, in my opinion, since I saw the two big twists quite early before they Impressive Debut Novel! 4.5 Stars I was quite excited when I won this story. It was thoroughly engrossing from start to finish. I read it quite quickly (even though I had company visiting). The writing was superb! I've read other authors who having written several published stories that still haven't developed this level of talent. While she gives plenty of clues to big reveal, unfortunately for me, they were a bit to obvious, in my opinion, since I saw the two big twists quite early before they occurred (thus minus 1/2 star). I liked Ivy's character. She isn't particularly likable, but her personality is so well rounded and on display that the author makes us want to know where her activities lead her. We see her modest attraction to theft lead to bigger and more serious detrimental choices. The other characters in the story were also intriguing and they too had secrets that were not evident to those around them. Though more a drama, there are elements of mystery and suspense within due to the character's different secrets. As several make poor choices which lead to unfortunate consequences (though I'm a tad bit understating what happens next), they are very believable! Without question, I will be reading Ms. Yang's future stories and I don't hesitate to recommend this one to those who like intriguing drama. Thank you to Ms. Yang, the Publisher and Goodreads for a complimentary copy of the ARC in exchange for my review. My receipt of this story did not impact my opinion just my joy!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    An utterly unputdownable coming of age story, White Ivy is a story about love and deceit; it's a story about being an immigrant in the United States; it's a story about a woman accepting herself, while also continually trying to grow. Ivy and her family have immigrated to the United States from China and are all trying to balance their new lives in a world completely new to them. Ivy is taught at an early age to steal by her grandmother and it becomes sort of a way of life for her. When she An utterly unputdownable coming of age story, White Ivy is a story about love and deceit; it's a story about being an immigrant in the United States; it's a story about a woman accepting herself, while also continually trying to grow. Ivy and her family have immigrated to the United States from China and are all trying to balance their new lives in a world completely new to them. Ivy is taught at an early age to steal by her grandmother and it becomes sort of a way of life for her. When she hits those dreaded teenage years, she finds herself deeply obsessing over classmate Gideon Speyer. As she gets closer to Gideon and his family, Ivy starts having deeply rooted internal battles on love and friendship. While I don't agree with this book being labeled a thriller in any sense of the word, this book is a very powerful read. Ivy's struggle between her varying thoughts throughout her young adult life is very relatable. Ivy's battle between her Chinese heritage and American dream is very intriguing as well. While at times this book can feel a bit slower paced, White Ivy delivers an amazing and gripping ending that will leave you speechless.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Grosbety

    “And so Ivy grew like a wayward branch. Planted to the same root as her family but reaching for something beyond their grasp.” This book reminds me in some ways of a movie with Michelle Williams called “Take this Waltz.” Michelle Williams’ character Margot is at her more truthful heart unsatisfied no matter what and always seeks out something more novel or exciting than the mundane existence she feels chained to. In doing so, she finds herself becoming more and more reckless to fill an inner vo “And so Ivy grew like a wayward branch. Planted to the same root as her family but reaching for something beyond their grasp.” This book reminds me in some ways of a movie with Michelle Williams called “Take this Waltz.” Michelle Williams’ character Margot is at her more truthful heart unsatisfied no matter what and always seeks out something more novel or exciting than the mundane existence she feels chained to. In doing so, she finds herself becoming more and more reckless to fill an inner void that can never be filled externally and hurts her significant other in the process. And I saw some similar character traits in Ivy as she, similar to Margot, waltzes a dance of heartbreaking, self-destructive steps with no end to the delusions she comforts herself with that she will quit or become better. “ “Leave your sister be,” was Nan’s response. “She’s unwell.” “She looked fine to me this morning,” said Austin. “She’s sick on the inside,” said Nan.” White Ivy broke my heart in more ways than one: for Ivy and the lies she felt compulsively drawn to, the people she hurt, her continual poor decisions, selfishness, and cataclysmic unrest that she felt within her soul. She is paradoxically not anything like the color white, but pretends to be to present a virginal, innocent exterior to reel people in and make them love her because she will never reach a state of contented self-love. She covers up her more unattractive, repulsive characteristics, that in most instances led me to despise her, which can be explained, but never justified by her upbringing and urgent need to survive and strive for larger ambitions past the circumstances that she has been born into. “She had long ago realized that the truth wasn’t important, it was the appearance of things that would serve her.” She eternally dreams of more, of beauty, glamor, grace, poise, elegance, and riches, but in these dreams she comes up short every time and the author explored her volatility and destructive tendencies with raw, unfiltered honesty that made me hurt every time Ivy fooled someone or told them one thing and then did another. She is a horrible, opportunistic, deceptive person, who knows how to put on a show to get in people’s good graces, but parts of her are meant to be and I will not fully reduce this book’s rating based on my dislike for Ivy, but I couldn’t help but take it into account a little as I felt she really pushed me towards being upset that she could treat people like that with not enough goodness in her to want to change or feel like she could. “Deprivation made Ivy dream of excess.” That quiet, despairing hopelessness disappointed me, but she was a fascinating character to unravel all the same even if I couldn’t stand the woman she becomes. She yearns for power and a way to feel desirable and feels like she can only obtain that by means of manipulation and I wanted and wished for more for her. Her journey immersed me, however, at certain turns and showed me all over again that being good, contrasting with how Ivy behaves, can be one of the greatest, timeliest, and underestimated of virtues.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    White Ivy is Author Susie Yang’s Debut Novel I started reading this book after reading the description not knowing what to expect from the storyline. I immediately was intrigued by the main Character Ivy. She is a troubled girl with lots of flaws and family issues, growing up outside of Boston. She is raised primarily by her Asian grandmother – who taught her to steal and thinks nothing of this as a normal part of life. I really started to dislike Ivy, and all she represented, however the story kep White Ivy is Author Susie Yang’s Debut Novel I started reading this book after reading the description not knowing what to expect from the storyline. I immediately was intrigued by the main Character Ivy. She is a troubled girl with lots of flaws and family issues, growing up outside of Boston. She is raised primarily by her Asian grandmother – who taught her to steal and thinks nothing of this as a normal part of life. I really started to dislike Ivy, and all she represented, however the story kept drawing me back in to she how her life would progress. A good ending, and a good debut novel Thank you to NetGally, Simon & Schuster Canada, and Author Susie Yang for my advanced copy to read and review #NetGalley @ NetGalley

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