Title: House of Ivy & Sorrow
Author: Natalie Whipple
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Reviewer: Emily Bedwell
Summary via Goodreads:
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.
Yes, this is only the second book Natalie Whipple has published, but man, I love her as an author. Her characters are beautiful, believable and just plain fun to read. In interviews, Whipple has said that this story is special to her for many reasons, most notably the strong family bonds of her main characters. Josephine Hemlock is one of my absolute favorite characters. She’s spunky, smart and decidedly not perfect.
One of my favorite parts of this book is how Jo just knows who she is – a witch from a family of witches. There is none of the angst and drama of trying to figure out who she is; instead the drama from this story comes from Jo trying to reconcile her life, keep her friends safe, and enjoy the attention and affection of the cutest boy in school.
House of Ivy and Sorrow is a fast-paced, energetic read. Each plot twist is carefully constructed and thought out. Jo finds herself facing the darkest moments of her life as a sinister force tries to not only destroy her family, but also to destroy everyone she holds dear. If her friends find out what she really is, will they stand by her or go running? The fundamental theme behind the magic of this book is that magic requires sacrifice; the bigger the need, the bigger the sacrifice. In scene after beautiful scene, Whipple creates Jo to be a force of good in the world, but always someone who knows that what she can do comes at a price – to her and to those she loves.
House of Ivy and Sorrow is not just fun to read; it takes place in a fantastic world that stays with you long after you turn the final page.