White Ivy by Susie Wang was tentatively on my new release radar, but when I saw it was a BOTM pick, I picked it up a bit earlier than anticipated. A literary-fiction book with unlikeable characters, questionable backgrounds, and lies—I was kind of hoping it was a little Talented Mr Ripley, but, eh. This was a solid 3.45 star read for me, but I wasn’t blown away.
Ivy was born in China, but quickly her parents moved to the U.S. to start their new lives. But they couldn’t afford to bring Ivy with them at first, so she was raised for nearly five years by her grandmother, until at age 5 she joined her parents, and her new brother, in Massachusetts. Growing up in a poor immigrant family, Ivy’s grandmother taught her how to steal little things–spoons, coins, food, that sort of thing. And Ivy’s very, very good at it. And it helps her feel better, feel like she fits in at her uppity school that she’s able to attend because of her father’s job working in IT there. But she’ll never be one of them, she knows, and a disastrous sleepover at her crush’s house reminds her of that. But then Ivy acts out with a neighbor who sees her for the thief she is, Roux.
Cut to years later–post college, Boston, Ivy is reintroduced to her childhood Crush Gideon at a party with his sister, ad they begin to date, and Ivy is soon maxing out credit cards and stretching herself thin to keep up with their lifestyle. And then, enter Roux…again, always about to ruin something.
It’s hard to talk about this book without spoiling things since it covers such a a period of time. It’s both about a girl living beyond her means, the story of an immigrant family, the story of a girl who doesn’t know what she wants when it comes to love, a slight thriller, and all that jazz. But it’s also primarily literary fiction and a bit slow in that vein–I didn’t breeze through this book. I liked it well enough. I learned somethings. But I wasn’t blown away.
You can purchase White Ivy wherever books are sold