• Aliya

Bears, Beets, Book Club: White Ivy


Image via The Today Show


Welcome back to Bears, Beets, Book Club (if you don't understand the name of this illustrious book club, you need to bone up on your Office references). This time, we're "discussing" White Ivy, a psychological thriller debut from Susie Yang.


Here's part of the summary from Good Reads:


Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, she is taught how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops by her immigrant grandmother. 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, where her dream instantly evaporates.


Filled with surprising twists and offering sharp insights into the immigrant experience, White Ivy is both a love triangle and a coming-of-age story, as well as a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.


A dazzling debut novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate and the lengths she’ll go to win his love.


I'd like to start off with two points:


  1. I think this book would make for a far better movie than it did a novel.

  2. It kept my attention from start to finish.


OK, now that those two points have been made, I have to say, I didn't love the book. My book-reading preferences are far different than my movie and film consumption preferences in that when it comes to a book, I like to appreciate the main characters. It's not a deal breaker, and some not so likable main characters have crept in (I'm looking at you Joe Goldberg from the novel You) but for the most part, I like to walk side by side with the main characters on their various paths to self discovery, learning to accept their faults and learn from their mistakes. Not to say that they are all good people. But even if they aren't, have they learned anything?


In White Ivy, it's not too much of a spoiler to disclose that Ivy Lin doesn't seem to learn a thing. She spends the entire novel struggling, only to do nothing but prepare herself for a lifetime of additional struggles as the book comes to a close.


But I was invested in Ivy's story and I was always curious as to what was around the corner. I think I was hoping to stumble into a satisfying resolution that would, in the end, never come. But nevertheless, I was entertained along the way.


And if HBO options this for a mini series, I am definitely tuning in.


What have you been reading?

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