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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, November 2014 - Amy Engel's debut effort The Book of Ivy is the YA dystopian thriller I've been waiting for. Suspenseful, believable, and complete with characters worth rooting for, I'm already itching for a sequel. Fifty years after a brutal nuclear and then civil war, peace is maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winners. Ivy Westfall has been chosen to marry the president's son – but he doesn't know that his new wife is at the heart of a rebellion, and is prepared to kill him. I was completely absorbed in Ivy's world while listening to the book – Taylor Meskimen's earnest performance brings the drama to life in a way that makes a movie version of The Book of Ivy seem inevitable. —Katie, Audible Editor
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Publisher's Summary

What would you kill for?
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.
This year, it is my turn.
My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president's son - my soon-to-be husband - and return the Westfall family to power.
But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he's not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.
Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him...
©2014 Amy Engel (P)2014 Listening Library
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Natalie C on 01-20-15


Any additional comments?

I love this book and can't wait for the sequel!


It's all told from Ivy's point of view. So just a word of warning. You might get frustrated with the main character. But at the same time, feel a lot of compassion for her. I do think that Ivy's father did a disservice to her and her sister by pretty much indoctrinating them with his own ideals and beliefs. Not even allowing them to make friends and make their own choices and opinions.

Pretty ironic given how Ivy's father is supposed to want democracy.

Halfway through the book, I already had a feeling that Ivy's father and sister are more in it for the power rather than democracy. And, I was right.

Poor Ivy had no one to trust outside her family until Bishop came along. And her eagerness to belong and be given her family's approval in contrast to truly starting a life with Bishop is (to my opinion) the main conflict of the book. Yes, the main premise is about government enforced arranged marriages and lack of democracy. But it feels to me that it's secondary. Unlike books like the hunger games where you really see the widespread devastation and poverty, inequality and suffering of the people, this book doesn't show that. Or at least, it is not as hungry for a widescale revolt as the Hunger Games. The supposed enemies (the Lattimers) are not even the President Snow type characters.

Ivy pretty easily found the access code to the guns. And the Presidential family (the supposed enemies) never even expected Ivy's family of wanting to revolt. Again, it seems that only Ivy's dad and sister are the only ones who want a revolt.

In fact, the book even shows that people are even ok with the arranged marriages (most of them anyway). While of course, the book is realistic enough to show the perfectly arranged marriage,the very dysfunctional and the in-between. But the point is, (the presidential family aside), the matching process isn't as rigged as one might expect from a dystopia. I mean, sons from the winning side marry girls from the losing side. While girls from the winning side marry sons from the losing side..It seems like a good idea to create unity at a time when you also want to grow the population

Of course, it's always better to have choices. But I think majority of the population in the book is of the "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" type of mindset.

But just because it doesn't seem as bad as the Hunger Games scenarios, this book does make us forget that it is still about a dystopia. I must warn that there are parts that are dark. It doesn't give any graphic depictions. But if there are any readers who are even the tiniest bit triggered by the mention or implication of rape, this might not be for you.

As for the ending...some readers might prefer waiting for the second book to come out before starting on the first book.

All I will say is that I'm comforting myself with the saying: "Throw me to the wolves and I'll come back leading the pack"

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 11-22-14

This is easily one of my favorite books.

What did you love best about The Book of Ivy?

right away, very interesting. it took me less than two days to finish, I could not stop listening! I can't even say what I really loved without giving away spoilers, so I wont say anything. I'm on pins and needles waiting for the next one!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ivy, Duh. love a strong female.

Have you listened to any of Taylor Meskimen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no, never, but it was very good.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I would curse the characters out loud, I literally laughed out loud. I got so lost in this story.

Any additional comments?

I will be starting this book again shortly.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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