Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Posted November 18th, 2014 in Blog Tour, book review / 28 comments

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel (Blog Tour & Giveaway)The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy #1
Publisher: Entangled Teen on November 4, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Blog Tour
Purchase: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

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 restore 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…

At A Glance

Slow start, amazing ending.

The Good

Though the concept isn’t necessarily unique, Amy wrote it in such a way that it felt fresh. I loved how two sides fought, one side lost, and as a reminder, the winning side forces the losing side’s daughters to marry the winning side’s sons. Genius, because that almost guarantees no rebellion. With the mixed bloodlines, who would want to fight against their own children or grandchildren? Not I, says the frog. But long seeded hate and resentment sometimes rules over logic and compassion. So, the story begins with Ivy marrying Bishop, and she has one mission…to kill him and win back control over their community.

The best part of this book is how black and white it seems but how gray it really is. Arranged marriages are horrible, right? No way the concept is fair or right. However, as the story went on, I found myself second guessing my first impressions. Arranged marriage is still horrible, but for the story, I understood the logic of it. I started to see that sometimes they worked out and sometimes they didn’t, but that’s not much different from consensual marriages now is it? Sometimes those don’t work out so great either. Obviously, there is a lot more too the whole concept, but still, The Book of Ivy taught me not to judge something by face value. Do your research before making decisions on controversial subjects, and all that jazz.

The next best part was the characters. Ivy was so weak but strong at the same time. I loved her compassion and strong views. Oh, the feels she caused me! Then Bishop stole my heart. He is not like the man you expect him to be since he is the ‘ruler’s’ son. He is kind, patient, and caring. Together, they make the most amazing couple.

The story is interesting and thought-provoking. About half way through, I could not put it down. The feels toward the end tore me apart. You will be shocked as some of the characters you come to trust turn out rotten, and the ones who you thought were bad turn out to be more complicated, in a good way. There is somewhat of a cliffhanger at the end, which I usually hate. But it worked this time because I am DYING to read the next book. I can’t believe I have to wait a year!

The Bad

It took some time for this book to get going. A lot of time. I never wanted to give up on it, but I was definitely bored in the beginning. I’d say about half way through, things started to get interesting.

The Snuggly

I love how slow Bishop and Ivy’s love takes to develop. Only by the end do we truly see how much they fell for each other. Some kissing but otherwise very YA.

Final Thoughts

By the end, I didn’t really care that the book was slow in the beginning. This book made me really think about preconceived notions. All the characters were amazing. I just wish I could give this book 5 stars. I would have if not for the slow parts. Highly recommended.


“You’re easy to read, Ivy, but the whole book of you is complicated.”  


“My mission is not to make him happy and bear his children and be his wife. My mission is to kill him.”


He blows out a breath, takes a step toward me. The hallway is so narrow that I’m pinned between the wall and his body, heat rolling off him in waves.
“Yeah,” he says, voice low. “I feel things.”
His green eyes burn. It’s the most emotion I’ve seen from him so far, and I have trouble taking a full breath, my lungs compressed with tension.
“That’s the whole point, Ivy. I want you to feel them, too.”  

About Amy Engel

Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids. Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV. When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online at or @aengelwrites.


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28 Responses to “Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel (Blog Tour & Giveaway)”

  1. kimbacaffeinate

    This sounds good. We have friends that had an arranged marriage and for them it ended up being wonderful. When he first told us about the arrangement I was shocked and thought it was horrible..but 14 years and 2 children later they seem very happy. I did mine the old fashion way ..roped and hog tied mine..LOL

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Seeee! It’s weird how a horrible concept can turn out so great for some people. I find this fascinating!

  2. Livia @ Butterfly-o-Meter Books

    Slow starts are a bit of a bummer, but I’m glad it was a good read once you stuck to it, Can’t say it tickles my wanna-read nerve because the whole Dystopia thing isn’t that much my crush, but that cover, wow! That tickles me enough to make up for the lack of genre love, lol!
    And from your review, I get the feeling if I’d get passed the slow start, I’d have a good time with this baby. Going on the maybe shelf for now 😀

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Yeah, I am almost getting use to slow starts. I feel like so many books have them that now they just are and I have to get over them, which sucks. But this book was soooo worth the read.

  3. Giselle

    Huh this sounds like a really neat book and I love when a book makes you, if not agree with, at least understand why things like arranged marriages are logical. I also love how well developed the characters all sound – I’m all about characters and if I can’t get invested in them the whole book falls flat. Great review, Jennifer! I’d seen this one around but this is the first review I read on it so so far so good 🙂

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I really did fall in love with the characters. I feel like characters are what usually make a book for me.

  4. Jaclyn Canada

    Oh I love it when a book gets you thinking about something important like that. Thought-provoking reads are some of my favorites. I love that this one has the message about pre-conceived notions. Excellent review!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      This book really did get me thinking. I feel like I haven’t read a book like that in a long time.

  5. Melliane

    Oh yes I keep hearing about this one and the reviews are really good. I’m very curious in the end to discover it as well. I’m glad you had a good time as well.

  6. Lupdilup

    I finished this Audiobook 2 days ago and I really enjoyed it – I agree with all the good part you mentioned 🙂 I think the slow part at the beginning were enhance by the narrator, who happens to do a really good job with book 🙂
    Good job!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Hmmm, I could see that in audiobook, the beginning would be more interesting. It’s not like I hated the beginning, but compared to the second half it was…different.

  7. Jennifer @ Donnie Darko Girl

    I read this book for the blog tour, too, and it was SO awesome! Totally agree with your thoughts. Wasn’t it nice to read a slow burn romance?? No instalove and no love triangle! Wasn’t sure if romance like that existed anymore in books, lol. And I thought I was on an emotional rollercoaster and loved every minute of it. It was crazy how one minute I’m laughing, then crying, then feeling betrayed.

    The first quote you chose is one of my favorites. I chose the two quotes where she talks about blood being on her hands. Those really resonated with me in a Lady Macbeth kind of way. 😉

    And yeah, the wait for the next book is totally gonna kill me!! >.<

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Seriously, when the book ended, I went straight to goodreads to see when book 2 was coming out and I about died. a whole year! too long. With that ending, it’s cruel to make us wait that long.

  8. Molly Mortensen

    This sounds like an interesting book. I love books that manage the shades of gray thing. I’m sad to hear about the cliff hanger. Why do this to us? But I’m glad the book was good.

  9. Olivia

    I have seen a lot of pretty good reviews for this book, but in all honesty I am not really a fan of the cover >< Even if that seems shallow-reader of me. I like the idea of something that is written in such a way that it seems new even though it isn't. I have recently learned the importance of writing style in a book I just read and loved as well. 🙂

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Awww, I like the cover. But I have felt the same way about other books, so I understand.


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