Source: ARC from Greenwillow
Grade: 2 stars out of 5
Callie finally made it to Harvard, but making it is just one step of the battle. She may have won the battle to get into Harvard, but there’s still a war.The Ivy stood out as a novel for its perfect timing just days before or after school started. Some part of the brain wonders the ‘what if’ question: what if I made it to an Ivy League school? And if The Ivy by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur is a reflection of that ‘what if’ I can safely, or at least half of me, say that I am happily enough not to attend.
Ever wonder what happens beyond those gates, doors, and buildings? The answer: booze, sex, and drugs. Oh and a little killer envy and backstabbing gossip. The Ivy reads more like a MTV reality TV show than an intellectual entertainment novel. It’s like watching a lion kill its prey in real life: fascinating and dangerous to your health. I was surely fascinated with The Ivy the first several pages and the first couple of chapters then I slowly realized this was it: a drama-filled, neurotic novel that leaves you wondering if it stepped over boundaries.
A likes B, but B is in love with C, and C doesn’t know what she wants. And oh, there’s also D, E, F, and G, but they’re mostly there for the good booze and fun sex. You kind of wonder throughout the whole novel if they use condoms or talk about STD testing because of how frequent these people do the deed then you realize it is a major buzz-kill and all the characters are fictional so you just go with the flow. (How come Callie doesn’t have sex with ____ but does with ___ and calls it “bliss”!? It doesn’t connect in my head!)
The Ivy is a battle ground rather than a school where it’s clawing your way to the top of the social hierarchy. This is the in-between session of the “Gossip Girls” crew going to college; bring out those claws baby. But Kunze and Onur throw in a couple ginormous multi-syllable words that will you scratching your heads and a few stress filled scenes as Callie decides her classes and extracurricular activities. They also include family emails, school papers, and quick little paragraphs debriefing Harvard homework. On a side note, one of the roommates/side characters speaks French 90% of the time. Seeing as how I do not speak French and am too lazy to look the words up I cannot tell if it’s correct.
And now I am leaving with a few messages:
- !@#%%$# ← gets annoying
- WHERE’S THE FREAKING THIRD BALL!?
- All the characters I like do not get a spotlight ever. Makes me sad.
Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur are graduates of Harvard University, where they were roommates for four years.
This review is part of Traveling to Teens tours.