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….
Okay, first of all, can I just say that this is such COVER LOVE! ❤
I really, really love the cover of this book! It is so amazing! It’s just really, really beautiful!
And, the story is even more beautiful! ❤
This story follows the journey of Ivy as she tries to understand her family better and tries to find herself and just move on in life. The depth of her emotions and the situations she’s thrown in are just so, so real. They’re heartbreaking and sad and happy and good and bad and frustrating and what not. It’s everything that one goes through in life when they’re seventeen and confused and don’t know what to do or who to choose or what to say.
Ivy, by her very nature, is a people pleaser which puts her in a lot of tough spots throughout the story, but that’s life! It’s shitty at times and you don’t get what you want and you have to put on a brave face and take what’s handed to you and that is explained brilliantly in this story!
I love Ivy’s character. She’s not perfect, she’s so flawed. She gets jealous and feels petty and annoyed and frustrated. She’s not the goody – two shoes who has the perfect life and everything handed to her on a platter. She earned what she has and she’s put a lot of effort and heart and soul into being what she is today, but it’s never enough for her perfectionist grandfather. He keeps pushing and pushing and she succumbs, not just because she’s a people pleaser, but also because she believes that he wants the best for her and he does know best. But, during the course of the story, as circumstances unfold, she starts to understand that he isn’t as perfect as she feels him to be and he is flawed and he makes mistakes as well. She stands up to him when she feels he’s wrong and that is a huge deal because she hasn’t done that, ever.
And, then, of course, there’s her mother. The bitch. (Please, excuse my language, but that’s what she is.) She walked out on Ivy when she was only two and has come home fifteen years later, only because she doesn’t have a place to stay. What’s worse is that she has two more daughters and she’s told them that Ivy is their aunt and not elder sister. Even though she’s down to the ground, Erica (that’s her name) is still so self centered and obnoxious and just such an asshole to Ivy. She refuses to acknowledge her existence and doesn’t care about her feelings at all. But, the way Ivy handles it beautiful.
And there’s Alex, who is her best friend/could – be – love – interest – but – not – so – much because Ivy doesn’t want to jeopardize their friendship. Alex and her mother, Luisa have been like family to Ivy and her Granddad after Erica walked out and she loves them. Ivy is afraid that if they start dating but it doesn’t work out, she won’t only lose her boyfriend, but also her best friend and her family. So, understandably she doesn’t want to tread those waters but Alex does and that creates problems between them and then when Ivy starts dating Connor, oh my! That is something that is done beautifully. I love how her struggle is depicted in the story and how she tries to overcome those feelings is amazing! I love all her interactions with Alex and how she puts forth her point and how she stands her ground in what she believes.
And, of course, there’s Connor! Dreamy, swoony, amazing Connor who I need in my life! ❤
He’s such an understanding, smart and amazing guy. He’s always there for Ivy when he needs her and her biggest pillar of support apart from her friends Claire and Abby (who just love her so very much! I adore them! Claire and Abby! ❤ You go girls! You’re amazing and beautiful and I LOVE YOU GUYS!) But, we’re deviating from the topic. Connor. *sighs* I love him. He’s just so passionate about what he wants and he goes after it and he loves poetry! Are you girls swooning yet? I know I am! I just adore him! He’s the best. The best. Seriously. So amazing.
I love how issues are subtly tackled in here. There’s abandonment and LGBTQ+ themes thrown in in a good measure in a subtle yet empowering manner and I love that! I am so happy that all these issues are addressed and the way Jessica does it is amazing. I love it!
As you can see, there’s little I hate about this book. One of them being that Ivy comes off as a little whiny in parts, but those are easily overlooked because her character is strong and real and gritty and all of us whine at times and we don’t even realise it.
All in all, Wild Swans is an amazing, amazing story about self discovery and standing up for yourself and just doing what you believe in. You should read this!
I love books, board games, football, feminism, & Earl Grey tea. I live in Washington, DC with my playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey. My other job is working as a children’s library associate for the DC Public Library. I’m frighteningly enthusiastic.