Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review: Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

Pages: 304
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Other Books By Author: Born Wicked
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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…."

Ivy is a Milbourn, which means every female in her family is exceptional, including her mother who is known for her beautiful voice.  Except Ivy doesn't really know her mother; she left Ivy with her grandfather at the age of two.  Ivy is tired of trying to figure out her exceptional talent; so, this summer is going to be all about having fun.  Her grandfather, a professor, wants her to be more and to do more. He encourages her to live up to the Milbourn legacy, but Ivy thinks it's a curse as some of her female relatives have died tragically.  Her summer is thrown off course when her mother reenters her life and moves back home along with her Ivy's sisters that she didn't even know existed.  Ivy's mother, Erica, is abrasive and secretive and worse off, she doesn't even seem to care about Ivy. In fact, she told her other daughters, Grace and Isobel, that Ivy is their aunt and not their sister! All of these secrets can't be hidden forever and Ivy has to figure things out for herself in Wild Swans, an entertaining coming-of-age tale that fans of contempary fiction will enjoy.

Ivy is my kind of gal in Wild Swans. She is athletic, smart, independent, and loves books. Who doesn't love a good bookworm?  Her relationship with her mother is a sad one though. My heart really went out to her, especially when she tries to navigate through their tumultuous relationship.  On the other hand, I loved her relationship with her grandfather even though he can be controlling at times.   Anytime there is a grandparent figure in YA, I really appreciate that. 

Ivy's relationship with her mother in Wild Swans can be very upsetting. Erica, her mother, is an alcoholic and is verbally abusive.  To be honest, Ivy is better off without her. But at the core of the situation is the fact that Ivy now has two sisters and she really wants to help them out, but her mother is a complete degenerate and sabotages her attempts.  The way that Ivy's mother speaks to Ivy is really disrespectful; needless to say, Erica isn't my favorite character. 

Ivy meets Connor, one of her grandfather's best students, and sparks fly in Wild Swans.  Connor is everything a nerdy bookworm would love. He loves to write poetry, is a stellar student, loves to read, and is an all-around good guy.  The chemistry between Ivy and Connor is undeniable and I loved watching their romance bloom. The other secondary characters are just as endearing. I especially liked her best friend and feminist, Claire. Her one-liners had me laughing out loud. 

So, if you are looking for a "beach read" that features a coming-of-age tale that has a lot of heart and a strong heroine, definitely check out Wild Swans before the summer is over.


  1. I'm also drawn to characters who speaks my language (i.e. a bookworm) so I'm interested in getting to know Ivy. I've seen this book around but have not really taken the time to really "knowing it" so I'm glad I got to read your review. I'm even more curious now!

    1. I know, right?! Isn't that the best? I think you'd enjoy this one, Joy. Thanks for dropping by.

  2. Wonderful review! I am going to have to get this from the library again. I didn't have time to read it last time. I feel bad for Ivy. Sounds like her family situation is really complicated and her mom is a nightmare.

    1. Thanks, Christina! I hope you can read it soon. It's definitely a smart beach read. Her mother is a nightmare though. She was getting on my nerves! Thanks for visiting!


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