By: Melanie | April 1, 2014 | (24) Comments

Review: House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie WhippleHouse of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
Pages: 352
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.

My frustration with this book is too much to handle so I’m going to try and get straight to the point here.

House of Ivy and Sorrow’s first fault is in the writing. Being someone who hasn’t read Natalie Whipple before, I had no idea to expect, but I certainly had no idea how juvenile her tone is. As I fourteen year old, I feel pretty insulted that this is labelled Young Adult. THIS IS NOT YA. THIS IS MG. This being YA means this should also be suited for eighteen years olds; I seriously cannot imagine someone that age, reading this without barfing up the excessiveness of fluff that engulfed this book. Even I wanted to barf up a rainbow of stupidity that entered my brain as I consumed this. In addition, the author does not bother to make her witch lore intricate–it’s the typical same old structure as every other witch book out in the world, yet the writing just makes it seem even worse.

Secondly, I’d like to mention how misleading this title is. I was talking to a fellow book bloggy friend (Jaz @ Fiction in Fiction in Fiction) and the conversation goes like this: 

This made me realise something. This book wasn’t remotely sad, creepy, dark or any other word that comes to mind when you mention words like ivy or sorrow. I mean seriously, just have a think for a second, what do those words remind you of? If you didn’t answer with words such as: overly fluffy, fairies and ponies, sparkly magic, you are correct. Because House of Ivy and Sorrows had not the slightest dark element that was intensifying or made me sit at the edge of my seat. Instead, like I aforementioned, I wanted to puke because it was TOO FLUFFY AND CHILDISH.

And of course, we have a Mary freaking Sue main character. Meet Josephine: once ugly but now the prettiest bitch of the herd, smart, has loyal friends, hottest guy at school who dated an older girl was actually in love with her the whole time and is a witch with special powers. And later, another dude shows up and love triangle crap starts to hint it’s way through. BUT BUT BUT the romance (thankfully) was not a main aspect in this book. BUT BUT BUT there wasn’t much of a plot either. THEREFORE nothing happened in this book. MEANING that this book was pointless. ALSO MEANING that I am hugely disappointment and crying because I have once again read a mediocre crap novel.

Pretty much every person who has read a lot of books, gets sick of romance (since it’s in almost every bloody novel these days). So it’s always a relief to hear that there’s a strong friendship aspect! All except for this one. The friendship in this book also contributed to why I wanted to puke my intestines and all other internal organs out. I love the fluff, but I hate it when the author goes overboard. This group of girls are full on all over each other, being absolutely melodramatic and not very 17 year oldery at all. If I wasn’t told their ages, I would have easily passed these girls off as hormonal 10 year olds. No kidding.

And as a last quibble out of the serveral other ones that I can’t even get bothered to mention now, the way things were handled. If there was a complication in this book, it took a blink for the solution to come. Talk about an easy cop out and cementing my reasoning that this is actually meant to be a MG novel.

And Happy 1st day of April everyone! Alas, this review was not an April fool so if you’re going to read this, don’t think that I didn’t try so hard to convince you otherwise.

~Thank you HarperTeen for sending me this copy!~

1 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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24 Responses to Review: House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

  1. *cries quietly* I loved Natalie Whipple’s superhero series. Buuut, the overall tone of the series wasn’t very YA either, now that I think about it. It feels so MG and then it starts dealing with drugs and stuff and I have a woah moment. But this? I haven’t seen ONE good review for House of Ivy and Sorrow. I’m probably going to read it. But I’ll definitely borrow it from the library and not buy.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…10 Things Writers Say That Just Aren’t TrueMy Profile

  2. Ugh, not another let down…I’m sorry this one was so juvenile. I definitely don’t think I would like this.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica NovgorodoffMy Profile

  3. A shame because I was looking forward to reading this one Mel! Sounds like the usual Mary Sue YA character but yeah, lots of people are trying to capitalise on the YA market. I’ve read a few recently that are more suited to MG.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Review: Finally, Someone Who UnderstandsMy Profile

  4. You know what this was? It was a good MG book. Where was the goth? the darkness? Some of the premise was brilliant and then poof..the execution sucked.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Ghost Seer by Robin D. OwensMy Profile

  5. I got this from EW but I’ve since decided not to read it. You’re not the only who talked about the juvenile tone of the book. I’m 20. I don’t need to be reading about a whiny Mary-Sue character. It’s such a shame though because that title and the cover made it sound really good. I’m sorry this didn’t work for you, Mel! 🙁
    Great review though! I always appreciate your honest negative reviews!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Blog Tour Stop : Blue Notes by Carrie LoftyMy Profile

  6. Giselle says:

    This was also my first Whipple read and I didn’t have more luck. I was so not expecting the juvenile nature and how… ridiculous everything was. Plus I usually don’t mind silly stories with wild ideas like this but I just didn’t like any of the characters or anything about it at all. I agree on the title too when I started it I thought I was in for a gothic kind of witch read but it’s not at ALL! Even the blurb had me thinking it would be a darker read. “once ugly but now the prettiest bitch of the herd” RIGHT WTF WHAT THAT???? SHE GETS PRETTIER EVERY DAY, MEL! >.<

    Giselle recently posted…Review: The Last Forever by Deb CalettiMy Profile

  7. Awww, Melanie. I could really, really, REALLY feel the torture seeping out of your words. This is really a horrible book all around 🙁 Rashika reviewed it not too long ago and she pretty much despaired over the same aspects >.> I have much respect for you that you were able to finish this. A Mary Sue of that degree is just… ugh. Even I would want to rip her out of the book if I could. Bad romance, bad plot, bad everything. I’m so glad I didn’t get an ARC copy of this! Still, kudos for you, my dear. You know what they say… you get one bad experience, you get 7 times more good ones! O_O Let’s hope karma bites soon and you get your awesome book <3
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…Review: Snitch (Bea Catcher Chronicles #2) by Olivia SammsMy Profile

  8. Siiri says:

    Yep, Rashika had the same problem. Nothing gothic, nothing creepy nor dark. It sucks since the book gives a hint that there would be, but nope. Fluff is somewhat of an amazing thing, but when it’s in a novel like this then I don’t really see the point in overdoing it with fluff. Eh, I’m sorry you thought this was a total let-down 🙁
    Siiri recently posted…March Wrap UpMy Profile

  9. Sadly, this isn’t the first 1 star review I’ve seen. Luckily I didn’t get this one…
    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (2): Gamechanger Books/Series!My Profile

  10. The cover is beautiful and the blurb sounds interesting, but it sounds like it’s not that good. Too bad! 🙁
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…Bookish Babble: less reading, more writing and a new look!My Profile

  11. Ewww this sounds really really bad 🙁 Everyone seems to be reviewing the same book at the same time. I swear I saw like 4 posts about this today and none of them are good… So basically what I’m getting at is I should run away from the book as fast as I can and I’m gonna do just that. Thanks for the review though Melanie and good luck with your next read!
    Angel (Spare Reads) recently posted…Review + Giveaway: Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)My Profile

  12. How about people stop putting romance in every single YA book? That would be great. I mean, it’s not like every teenager’s life is dictated by Hot Guys. Mary Sues, fluffy things, condescension…yeah, count me out.
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Loony’s Musings: What Fandoms Do You Belong To?My Profile

  13. I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews for this one because it’s really flat and boring overall, and I can definitely see why. I feel like it seems like a really dark and dreary book from the title, but then when you actually start reading, it seems to be quite the opposite. Sorry this one wasn’t for you, but fantastic review, Mellybean! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Tuney Tuesday: The New National Anthem by Pierce the VeilMy Profile

  14. After reading your review and synopsis of this book, I would have thought for sure that this was a dead on ringer for me…. Typically this book sounds like just the sort of thing I would LOVE to read… but man, what an amazing review! I loved it and just had to send a quick message to tell you that!I am not “just” saying that.. BUT this is one of the most creative, fun, possibly brilliant reviews I have read. I usually skip over partslof a review, but yours… I read each and every word… AWESOME job! I have always followed you since I started blogging and have always read your posts… and this one is my fave by far! Thanks for sharing with us. I have to say that I am still possibly debating on this read, CRAZY I know, BUT I just have too… although price will play a factor. LOL!! Thanks again.. PLEASE keep blogging and reading/reviewing!

  15. Melliane says:

    yeah I also a mixed review like that on another blog, I’m sorry darling…
    Melliane recently posted…Circle of Desire by Keri ArthurMy Profile

  16. When a YA book has that kind of writing, I feel like I am being talked down to, like I am a child. Like YAs couldn’t possibly understand something with more substance. Yuck. And the misleading title just seems weird.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh MafiMy Profile

  17. I just read another review of this book, and pretty much you said the same thing about Josephine. I’d probably throw the book towards the wall if I find myself reading this. But I applaud you because you did not DNF this 😛 Brilliant review, Mel!
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Book Review 152 : Faking Normal by Courtney C. StevensMy Profile

  18. Oh no!! Nothing worth than a pointless story. 🙁 I’m sorry you didn’t like this one, Melanie. You’re not alone though… I’ve seen other similar reviews. Can’t love em all, right? Great review, hun! 🙂
    Lisa @ Lost in Literature recently posted…Exclusive Excerpt Reveal & Giveaway: The Warrior (Dante Walker #3) by Victoria ScottMy Profile

  19. Lily B says:

    ew ew ew, sorry you didn’t enjoy this one. I was actually really looking forward to read it myself. but..not creepy or sad? maybe it needs a different title.
    Lily B recently posted…Review: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie RutkoskiMy Profile

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