Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Unwrapping a Review of THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel

Sometimes we all need a change. I was in need of one, and since I normally don’t read Young Adult, I thought THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel from Entangled Teen not only gave me something different in that it is a dystopian fantasy but it also inspired me to take a chance on a YA romance. I’m glad I did. It was different and it hooked me right in.

***purchased for my own personal reading but I’m sharing my honest and unscripted review

Blurb for THE BOOK OF IVY:

What would you kill for?

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president's son—my soon-to-be husband—and return the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he's not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.
Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

~*~             ~*~              ~*~             ~*~             ~*~

Life hasn’t been easy for anyone in Westfall…least of all, Ivy Westfall. Having lost her mother as a baby, she’s grown up hearing hateful things about the Lattimers and why they should not be governing in Westfall. Having trained all of her life for a mission in which she has complete faith, Ivy must marry the President of Westfall’s son, Bishop Lattimer. When her sister, Callie was passed over it was left to Ivy to take her place and set in motion the means for a revolution to return the power to her father, the man she believes will put everything right, as it should be. Her mission…to find where any weapons are stashed, discover any secrets the Lattimers may have, and kill her husband.

That last part becomes more difficult to think about doing once she gets to know Bishop Lattimer who allows her freedom she’d never experienced before with her father and sister. She begins to question her role, the justification for killing Bishop, and the reasons. She begins to fall in love with this young man who treats her with kindness, respect, and encourages her to think her own thoughts. Now she has a decision to make and no matter what she does, she knows it will end badly.

Amy Engel does a wonderful job of creating a post-apocalyptic world with a dystopian society that is easily related to and realistically conceivable in THE BOOK OF IVY.
Society has to be contained, rules followed, and the population rebuilt with the young being the most capable of providing children. It all makes sense, even arranged marriages in some respects but as in any dystopian society, there always seems to be a huge difference between those who have and those who have not. In this world, there is only once punishment for any kind of crime committed…banishment to the outside. Even a simple theft of a loaf of bread because you’re starving could mean you’re put out to the other side of the fence built to protect the citizens of Westfall from the dangers outside the fence but which might also be there, to keep those inside from thinking too far outside the box.

I was intrigued by premise of the story…intrigued enough to give in to my previous aversion to reading Young Adult. I suspect I might have to revisit that choice. Having become a fan of the film DIVERSION was possibly one of the reasons I was drawn to THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel but I have to say that it was her writing too. I enjoyed it coming from the point of view of a young girl who having been manipulated and over-sheltered so much that when allowed to think freely, she began to see things about herself, her world, and her family that both intrigued and disappointed her. I do wish it had been longer perhaps pulling books one and two, the second being THE REVOLUTION OF IVY, together might have meant a much more satisfying read. But still, I do highly recommend THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel to anyone who has a passion for coming of age stories in worlds beyond our understanding, but not beyond our imaginations.

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel, Entangled Teen, available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

***click on links above and cover below for purchasing information, remember even pennies per sales using my links help keep this blog alive. Thank You.

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