Title: Wild Swans
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publish date: May 3rd, 2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives-and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?
But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past…
Wild Swans is a beautiful story of one girls struggle to be enough for the people she loves. Told through the eyes of Ivy, we see the pressure to be extraordinary for her granddad, nothing like her mother, a good friend, and a great big sister. The beauty of this story is that it so mirrors our own struggles as young women or even adult women. At one point or another we have all asked ourselves questions like; Am I enough? Am I too much? The way Jessica brings to life the struggles we ourselves have/will face is nothing short of amazing. I just wanted to give Ivy a hug. Ultimately fell in love with her, flaws and all. The is a bit of a romance between two characters in the book, but like most of Jessica’s books, it wasn’t the main focus. The main focus was Ivy herself and the beauty of her growing and changing right before your eyes. The Ivy we see at the end of the story is not the Ivy we meet in the beginning. And while she isn’t perfect we leave her at a good place at the end of the book.
What I liked:
-The beautiful writing style of Jessica’s. It is just absolutely beautiful. We see these characters come to life and they never stop growing or changing to be beautiful people that I could spend all of my time with.
–The relationships. One of the most amazing things about Jessica is the way she absolutely nails family relationships. Never have I read someone who so absolutely gets it. From the way they fight to the way they protect and fight with each other. It’s one of my favorite things about her books. That and the romance, because she’s a genius at that as well. As I said before the romance is there but it’s not the focus of the story, it’s about Ivy and the relationships around her, but it is still fantastic. Jessica doesn’t just write two characters together and make them kiss, she writes characters who become partners. The love wasn’t the guy trying to fix Ivy, it was him standing beside her while she grew and changed. It was the type of relationship I wished I saw more of while growing up.
-CLARIE! She was the girl I wish I had been while growing up. She was funny, and brash, and never once was afraid to stand up for herself or the women around her. Also can we talk about how she mentions slut-shaming and how against it she is! Brava Jessica.
P.S. I heard (at YALLWEST) that Jessica is now working on Claire’s story!!! I am so super excited to read that one.
What I didn’t like:
Alex.. While Jessica is really really good at writing swoony men. She is also really good at writing men who kind of annoy me. Alex wasn’t horrible, but he wasn’t the greatest. He definitely didn’t ruin the story in the slightest for me because it wasn’t about the boys for me. But he upset me every time he showed up. I don’t want to give anything away but I thought he was a bit selfish and childish at times. I don’t know if that was Jessica’s intention when she wrote him, but that’s kind of the way I felt. I am terribly sorry if you guys liked him. Just my opinion.
This is a story I definitely definitely recommend picking up. I can’t recommend this book enough. It is just a beautifully told story that will resonate with you, whether you are young or old. This may be Jessica’s Spotswood’s first contemporary, but she handles it like a pro. Go and read this story, and give it to your daughter as well, because there is so much to learn from it.