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White Ivy
Cover of White Ivy
White Ivy
A Novel
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**A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick ** A young woman's crush on a privileged classmate becomes a story of love, lies, and dark obsession, offering stark insights into the immigrant...
**A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick ** A young woman's crush on a privileged classmate becomes a story of love, lies, and dark obsession, offering stark insights into the immigrant...
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  • **A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick **

    A young woman's crush on a privileged classmate becomes a story of love, lies, and dark obsession, offering stark insights into the immigrant experience, as it hurtles to its electrifying ending.
    Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you'd never know it by looking at her.
    Raised outside of Boston, Ivy's immigrant grandmother relies on Ivy's mild appearance for cover as she teaches her granddaughter how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy's mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, and her dream instantly evaporates.
    Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when Ivy bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon's sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.
    Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners, and weekend getaways to the cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she's ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she's worked so hard to build.
    Filled with surprising twists and a nuanced exploration of class and race, White Ivy is a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.

About the Author-

  • Susie Yang was born in China and came to the United States as a child. After receiving her doctorate of pharmacy from Rutgers, she launched a tech startup in San Francisco that has taught 20,000 people how to code. She has studied creative writing at Tin House and Sackett Street. She has lived across the United States, Europe, and Asia, and now resides in the UK. White Ivy is her first novel.

Reviews-

  • Booklist

    Starred review from August 1, 2020
    Every place where humans gathered, there would be a food chain. Someone had to be on top. Since childhood, Ivy was taught by her Chinese grandmother to take advantage of the system, using her innocent looks to get away with stealing. As an adult living in Boston, she bumps into the sister of Gideon, her wealthy and charming middle-school crush, and is reconnected to him by what seems to be fate. As their relationship grows, Ivy is thrust into the realm of high society?a world that appears serene and illustrious. She quickly jumps into the act with poise, convincing everyone around her that she belongs to their community. But during a trip with Gideon's family, she encounters her childhood friend, Roux, who was once privy to her impecunious background, delinquent ways, and family troubles?things Ivy wants to remain hidden. As her past threatens her picturesque lifestyle, she decides to take extreme measures to secure her place in power. Yang's dark, spellbinding debut gives insight into the immigrant experience and life in the upper class, challenging the stereotypes and perceptions associated with both. The surprising twists, elegant prose, and complex characters in this coming-of-age story make this a captivating read.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 14, 2020
    Nonchalant deceit and reluctant honesty undergird generational struggle in Yang’s excellent debut. Ivy Lin doesn’t remember her parents’ leaving her in China in 1982 when she was two years old to be cared for by her grandmother, Meifeng. But Ivy’s cold, unloving reunion with her parents in Boston when she’s five makes permanent the chasm already within the family. Only when Meifeng moves as well, two years later, does Ivy find some comfort and companionship. As Ivy grows into a tempestuous 14-year-old, her and Meifeng’s trips to Goodwill and yard sales come with lessons in stealing: “give with one hand and take with the other,” Meifeng tells her. “No one will be watching both.” Then Ivy meets a politician’s son, golden boy Gideon Speyer. Her crush on him blossoms into obsession, and after Ivy’s parents discover she has been sneaking out with boys from the neighborhood, they send her to spend the summer in China. She returns with renewed resolve to defy her parents’ expectations and to become a part of Gideon’s life and high-class social circles. After Ivy’s mother loses her job, the family relocates to New Jersey, and Ivy spends more time near Gideon after high school. But after Gideon proposes and her presumed happily-ever-after nears, Ivy’s past mistakes catch up to her, and she must choose between family and social status. In Ivy, Yang has created an ambitious and sharp yet believably flawed heroine who will win over any reader, and the accomplished plot is layered and full of revelations. This is a beguiling and shattering coming-of-age story.

  • Kirkus

    October 1, 2020
    Reconnecting with her grade school crush isn't quite the fairy tale Ivy Lin had hoped for. Ivy's parents moved to the U.S. from China when she was only 2, leaving her in the care of her maternal grandmother, Meifeng. At 5, she flew to Massachusetts to live with her parents and new baby brother, Austin. When Meifing, a prolific petty thief, followed a few years later, she taught Ivy the tricks of the trade and the fine art of deception. Ivy's childhood wasn't particularly happy. She didn't fit in and constantly felt that she would have "traded her face a thousand times over for a blue-eyed, blond-haired version...instead of her own Chinese one with its too-thin lips, embarrassingly high forehead, two fleshy cheeks like ripe apples before the autumn pickings." Her insecurities weren't helped by her mother, a bitter woman whose vicious mean streak was usually aimed at her daughter. A big reader, Ivy turned inward and fantasized about her future. Now, Ivy is a decidedly unfulfilled first grade teacher in Boston. When she happens to run into Sylvia Speyer, the sister of her childhood crush, Gideon, Ivy is propelled into the orbit of Gideon's wealthy family--and into Gideon's heart. She's especially thrilled when Gideon finally invites her to Finn Oaks, his family's summer cottage on the New England coast. Ivy senses a new distance between her and Gideon, though, and when blast-from-her-past Roux Roman appears, she's afraid his knowledge of her dirty secrets may threaten her new status, even as he stirs a dark desire within her that will lead her to a shocking act. The intelligent, yearning, broken, and deeply insecure Ivy will enthrall readers, and Yang's beautifully written novel ably mines the complexities of class and privilege. A sophisticated and darkly glittering gem of a debut.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    July 24, 2020

    DEBUT Ivy Lin's life begins like that of many Asian American immigrants, with parents who came to America with hopes of a better life for themselves and their child. Growing up as the token Asian in her Massachusetts community, Ivy is cast into a world of rich and entitled Americans, a twist on the situation of Kevin Kwan's characters. Ivy is a typical teenager with a crush on the popular Gideon Speyer, but she has a secret known only to close friend Roux Roman: her maternal grandmother has taught Ivy to be a petty thief. After an act of teenage rebellion sends Ivy back to China for the summer, Ivy returns to find that her family has relocated to New Jersey, forcing her to leave her former life behind. A dozen years later, fate reunites her with Gideon and Roux, and her future could be forever changed. Throughout, the multiple plotlines address various family scenarios and how they shape all the characters. VERDICT What begins as a story of a young woman's struggles to assimilate quickly becomes a much darker tale of love, lies, and obsession, in which there are no boundaries to finding the fulfillment of one's own dreams. Yang's skill in creating surprising, even shocking plot twists will leave readers breathless.--Shirley Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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