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White Ivy by Susie Yang

Contemporary fiction

White Ivy

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Susie Yang, on your first book!

by Susie Yang

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Quick Take

A woman stops at nothing to get the life—and love—she wants in this unsettling coming-of-age about ambition and deceit.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Social_Issues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Slow_Build

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Family_Drama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Unlikeable_Narrator

    Unlikeable narrator

Synopsis

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.

Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when she bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.

Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners and weekend getaways to the Cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Why I love it

Ivy isn’t your typical heroine. She’s got a bit of an honesty problem and she loves to steal. As I turned the pages of this excellent debut, I found myself rooting for Ivy the whole way. But that didn’t mean I always liked or agreed with her choices.

We meet Ivy when she’s a teenager, determined to fit into the white Protestant suburban community in which she’s growing up. A child of the Chinese diaspora, Ivy strives to obtain the glamorous life she associates with the American Dream—no matter what it takes. Her obsession with assimilation culminates in a plot to become friends with her crush Gideon, who epitomizes everything sparkly about suburban wealth. On the outside, he and his family appear to have it all. But when Ivy reunites with him as an adult, cracks begin to appear in this perfect façade—and in hers.

White Ivy is a juicy and fun read with a shocking twist. It’s a coming-of-age novel that will lead to conversations about otherness and ambition. Best of all it will leave you with questions about how and where we look for happiness, which feels like an ever-more pressing preoccupation in these trying times.

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Contemporary fiction
View all
The Last Love Note
Anita de Monte Laughs Last
The Leftover Woman
Interesting Facts about Space
Bye, Baby
Swan Song
How to Read a Book
The Connellys of County Down
Joe Nuthin’s Guide to Life
A Summer Affair
Adelaide
The Collected Regrets of Clover
Evil Eye
Maame
Advika and the Hollywood Wives
Once There Were Wolves
We Are the Brennans
Olga Dies Dreaming
If Only I Could Tell You
How Lucky
My Dark Vanessa
Nine Perfect Strangers
Honey Girl
One Italian Summer
Eight Hundred Grapes
The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes
The Five-Star Weekend
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
The Nest
Rich and Pretty
Britt-Marie Was Here
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
Startup
The Identicals
The Dinner List
Goodbye, Paris
Winter in Paradise
A Woman Is No Man
Queenie
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Beyond the Point
What Happens in Paradise
Nothing to See Here
When We Were Vikings
Anxious People
A Good Neighborhood
Big Summer
The Last Story of Mina Lee
Troubles in Paradise
White Ivy
This Close to Okay
The Removed
The Kindest Lie
Good Company
Impostor Syndrome
The Other Black Girl
Apples Never Fall
A Quiet Life
We Are the Light
The Fortunes of Jaded Women
When We Were Bright and Beautiful
The Hotel Nantucket