*I received a free copy of Wild Swans from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on 3 May 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic 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…
Realizing there’s more to family than first imagined is something Ivy has to do in Wild Swans, which is a tender story about truly growing up.
Ivy has lived most of her life in a small town, where both she, and everyone else knows that her mom left her when she was very young. Since she was two, she’s never seen her mom, but she’s had a stable and good life with her grand-dad and some good friends. Wild Swans unfolds over the span of just a couple of weeks in the summer before Ivy’s senior year at high school, and she has a lot of choices to make about her future. Alex, her best friend and the boy next door has showed her that he has more than just friendly feelings for her – but she just doesn’t want anything to change. Then, her grand-dad throws a curve-ball her way, saying her mom needs to come home, with her two daughters so she can regroup.
As you can imagine, there are a lot of emotions in Wild Swans, and I thought Ivy dealt with those in quite a mature way! She wasn’t the character who needed to grow up the most. Always striving to be good, to be better, to live up to her grand-father’s expectations, Ivy was a hard worker for sure. And when her mother – whom she called Erica – came back with two girls, and pretended that Ivy was her sister rather than her daughter, things became more complicated and quite a bit ugly as well.
On top of having to deal with her mom and new sisters, she also had to live with her best friend not wanting to be around her anymore because he was in love with her. Also, falling in love with one of her grand-father’s students, working on her grand-mother’s poems and trying to forge a relationship with her younger siblings. Written in first person point of view, from Ivy’s perspective and in present tense, the story unfolds in a way that makes each of Ivy’s discoveries the reader’s discovery at the same time. Definitely a solid read, and one I recommend to those who enjoy coming of age stories that are angled slightly differently than the norm.
Lightning hasn’t split the sky yet, but I can taste it coming. The air’s so thick I could swim through it.
Later, when he walked me to my door at three in the morning, he stopped and looked at me. Really looked, like I wasn’t the Ivy he’d been looking at his whole life – or maybe I was, but I was also more. Ivy-plus.
No one is expecting him to be extraordinary. Except… I think he expects it of himself. I watch as he leans down, tripping his fingers lightly over those spines again, and he is so goddamn gorgeous I want to cry. He knows what he wants and he’s going to make it happen.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Sounds like a very interesting story. I’m glad to hear the main character showed a lot of maturity and growth.
It was really well done, Ashley! And I thought the way Ivy was so mature, while her estranged mother wasn’t, made for a very interesting extrapolation.
I really liked this one as well and I’m a little sad that it’s so underrated. I loved all the emotions it made me feel and the romance was so good. I only wish we had seen a bit more closure at the end with the mom. I guess it wouldn’t have been realistic if everything had been tied with a big bow, but I still wanted her to have even a bit of regret, you know?
Anyways, I’m glad you liked this, Lexxie! 🙂
It always makes me sad when stories that are a little deeper, and that touched me are underrated, too, Nick! I’m glad we both enjoyed Wild Swans! I thought the ending was realistic… especially with the mom finally realizing some important things, even without any real closure.
Oi the family angle is heavy. Her mom sounds like an a$$
Her mom was a total ass, Braine! I wanted to shake some sense into her!!
There certainly seems to be a lot going on in Ivy’s life but that she handles things so maturely says much. I can’t imagine having to deal with a mother like that. I’d read about this book (possibly here?) and was intrigued. Now, I’m doubly curious. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Lexxie! *BIG HUGS*
It was a great read, Brandee, and one I really think you’ll enjoy, too! That mom *sighs* I wanted to shake her! So mean!!
I’ve had my eye on this one, and I’m hoping the library gets it soon. Great review!
Oh, I hope your library will get it soon, Lekeisha, it’s a really good read!
Very interesting story. I’ve always been partial to coming of age stories but I can’t stand YA reads, odd lol. Love your review, and now I’m on the fence about if I’m serioysly considering reading this story.
This is a mature YA, Leona, no superfluous drama!
I really enjoyed this read as well. It’s been awhile since I read it though. I especially disliked Erica as a character! Glad it was a solid read for you as well 🙂
Yeah, Erica was such an awful person!! I felt so bad for her daughters!