House of Ivy & Sorrow

( 7 )

Overview

Transparent author Natalie Whipple is back with another refreshing blend of realistic romance and light-hearted humor with a one-of-a-kind paranormal touch. Fans of Charmed, Kiersten White's Paranormalcy trilogy, and Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys won't want to miss this spellbinding contemporary tale of magic, first love, and high-stakes danger.

Jo Hemlock is not your typical witch. Outside the walls of her grandmother's ivy-covered house, she's kept her magical life ...

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House of Ivy & Sorrow

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Overview

Transparent author Natalie Whipple is back with another refreshing blend of realistic romance and light-hearted humor with a one-of-a-kind paranormal touch. Fans of Charmed, Kiersten White's Paranormalcy trilogy, and Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys won't want to miss this spellbinding contemporary tale of magic, first love, and high-stakes danger.

Jo Hemlock is not your typical witch. Outside the walls of her grandmother's ivy-covered house, she's kept her magical life completely separate from her life in high school. But when the Curse that killed her mother resurfaces, it threatens to destroy not only her life but her grandmother's too—and keeping her secret may no longer be an option.

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Editorial Reviews

Aprilynne Pike
“A wonderful, dark tale of witches who feel all too human. Loved it!”
Jodi Meadows
“Heartwarming, dangerous, and enchanting: Natalie Whipple’s HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW offers a delicious tale filled with sacrifice, a terrifying villain, and so many people I’d love to call friends. It’s better than pudding!”
SLJ
“A fast-paced fantasy, with just the right amount of romance and realism.”
ALA Booklist
“A delightfully different, suspenseful YA escape.”
SLJ
“A fast-paced fantasy, with just the right amount of romance and realism.”
Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Jennifer M. Miskec
In contemporary Iowa, amid the cornfields and everyday American life, live the remaining two descendants of a powerful witch family, teenaged Josephine Hemlock and her grandmother, Nana. The two are careful to gather their supplies and perform their magic without observation and to maintain the respect and balance black magic requires. But the protective spell that keeps Jo and Nana safe from the Curse is growing weak, and a strange man with darkness attached to him appears at their gate. What follows is Josephine’s race against time to protect herself and her friends, Nana, and her long-lost father, all while learning about her mother’s murder and her family’s past, and juggling her first crush, a young man who ends up understanding a lot more about Jo’s life than she could have imagined. The next move in supernatural literary trends is witches, an obvious backlash against the clumsy and helpless human girls in love with vampires. True to the potential of teen witches, Jo is no shrinking violet. She knows what she must do, she is tough, and she has the magical skills to do what needs to be done. With the help of the women in her life—witch and nonwitch alike—Jo is able to resist giving away her magic to save herself and her loved ones. Thank goodness the witching hour has come back to young adult literature. Reviewer: Jennifer M. Miskec; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-19
If being an adolescent already feels like a curse, try life as a modern teenage witch. Although 17-year-old Josephine Hemlock still grieves for her mother, who died from the Curse, she and her spunky grandmother manage to hide their witch identities from the rest of their small Iowa town. When popular Winn asks her out, Jo may finally reap the happiness she deserves. The light romance turns thriller, however, after her long-lost father, controlled by dark magic, appears unexpectedly in Jo's female-only household. Questions about her parents' relationship beget more questions about the events leading up to her mother's murder and who may have stricken her with the Curse. And Jo may not be the only one in her high school with secrets. With the help of some unexpected allies (and a possible love-triangle interest), she may not only find her mother's killer, but end the Curse for good and preserve her family line. As in Transparent (2013), Whipple pays attention to details (but doesn't get bogged down with them) to create a magical, entertaining world that has the right amount of darkness to keep the story intriguing and the right amount of light to keep readers content. With unwavering BFFs, stolen kisses, red herrings and a variety of spells, there's something for chick-lit, romance, mystery and fantasy fans alike. (Supernatural romance. 13-18)
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Josephine, 17, lives with her grandmother in a house under the interstate where it's rumored that an old witch can make someone love you if you're willing to give her your pinkie finger. Jo knows that the rumors are true, because her grandmother is that witch. Despite going to great lengths to hide the fact that she's part of a long line of witches, Jo lives a fairly typical life until a mysteriously familiar man comes looking for her. She and her grandmother know that he's somehow connected to The Curse that killed her mother 10 years earlier, but they don't know how, since men are not capable of doing magic. They break tradition and learn more about themselves while uncovering centuries-old secrets. Unlike many supernatural tales, this one does not perpetuate good witch/bad witch or light magic/dark magic themes. Jo is clear that "There is only dark [magic]. A black pool full of power and pain." The story also stresses that there is always a price to pay for using one's powers, even for good purposes, and every character must deal with the consequences of their choices. This is a fast-paced fantasy, with just the right amount of romance and realism. Readers will relate to Jo's relationships with her family, crush, and two best friends. Despite the current glut of supernatural and urban fantasy, this tale will stand out.—Sunnie Lovelace, Wallingford Public Library, CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062120182
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 529,598
  • Age range: 13 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Natalie Whipple loves testing new concoctions in the kitchen, and sometimes pretends she's actually mixing potions instead. Her food has yet to curse anyone, which she supposes is a good thing. Along with cooking, Natalie loves anime, kdrama, drawing, and exercising (so she can eat more food). She lives in Utah with her three kids and husband.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 24, 2014

    I really enjoyed Natalie's Transparent last year, so when I saw

    I really enjoyed Natalie's Transparent last year, so when I saw her release was about witchcraft and curses I had to pick it up! I'm glad I did because I thought this was a fun read.

    Pacing: I thought this was pretty well-paced. I was engaged and curious about the witchcraft, lore, and history that Whipple has created. I do feel the climax was a bit... anticlimactic and wish we had gotten a little bit more.

    Storyline: I enjoyed the premise of this one. It was pretty linear and even though it didn't have a ton of twists and turns, there were a few thrown in I didn't see coming. I enjoyed the characters, even when they were acting a bit unrealistic, and while this wasn't an overly unique storyline, I did still like how Whipple incorporated witchcraft, the Curse, and the different bloodlines of witches. I did feel some of the characters' reactions to Jo's being a witch were a little understated. They were pretty accepting and it didn't even phase them as to some of the things they had to do to ensure their loyalty. There were a few points I felt overwhelmed by all of the information we were receiving particularly when it came to the histories.

    Characters: I have to admit, while I liked the characters, I did feel they came across as a bit juvenile.
    I enjoyed Jo overall. I thought she was sweet and I loved the lengths she would go to protect the ones she loved from the Curse. She is completely head over heels for Winn, who has recently broken up with his girlfriend. Their relationship starts off a bit humorous as they can never seem to quite get it together. Jo is constantly interrupted by her grandmother or having to run off to ensure her safety because of the Curse. They do finally get it together, but Winn knows more than he lets on about Jo's world- but to what extent, Jo does not know.

    Winn was a pretty good love interest. I did think he was a bit possessive of Jo, for only having dated for a short amount of time, but I think he genuinely cares about her and wants to protect her from harm. That made him more endearing to me.

    Jo's best friends Kat and Gwen were also important characters, due to the unfolding events in Jo's life. They are good friends to her and more than prove their worth to Jo and her family. Levi is one of those characters that I didn't know what to do with. You think about him one way, but then realize there's more there than what's at face value. He was definitely mysterious. While I feel like his character played an important role, I do think some of his feelings towards Jo felt a bit unnatural and forced to me.

    There's not a whole lot to say about the characters, but I feel that is because of my lack of attachment to them. This is more of a plot-driven story, so I did feel the relationships between characters could have been more developed.

    Final Thoughts: There's not a lot I can say without spoiling this book. At face value, it's a cute read. If you're looking for a darker spin on witchcraft you won't get that here. The plot, while predictable, didn't really offer very much depth, but again- I still enjoyed it for what it was. While I wasn't wowed by this one, I still felt it was an engaging read and I'm glad I picked it up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2014

    This was such a fun read! Natalie Whipple did a fantastic job wi

    This was such a fun read! Natalie Whipple did a fantastic job with keeping me entertained! I loved the 'sisterhood' theme to it and the idea that  only women are magical.

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  • Posted December 5, 2014

    I honestly don't even have words to describe just how much I lov

    I honestly don't even have words to describe just how much I loved this book. Quite honestly, it is in the running for my favorite read of 2014, it was just that good. The combination of magic, witches, family, mysterious secrets, hilarious characters, and a fascinating plot kept me on the edge of my seat for a day and a half, about how long it took me to finish! I seriously could not turn the pages fast enough. What I loved was that it's about witches and magic, but it's not crazy dark like a lot of YA out now. I do enjoy darker things, but this book was a breath of fresh, magical air, and I never wanted it to end. I also enjoyed the strong family aspect, something I think YA needs more of. Jo is so close to her grandmother, and I loved their connection that could outlast any evil magic in the world. I'm already planning on rereading this book very, very soon... I miss the world and the characters SO MUCH!!

    If you love a taste of magic, strong family bonds, and a romance to root for, then House of Ivy and Sorrow is the book for you. I cannot recommend this book enough.

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  • Posted November 30, 2014

    Wahoo!!!! I finished this lovely book. House Of Ivy & Sorro

    Wahoo!!!! I finished this lovely book.
    House Of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple was a " magical read."
    Not going to lie it did take me a little bit to get into this book but after I was in I was hooked.  
    Fast-paced, and full of dark magic!!! There is a small love triangle and even know Levi *spoiler* wasn't her pick I will pick him.
    He was an all around character and I wish he would have his own short story.
    Family and Friends are a big part in Josephine Hemlock life so when a magical curse is placed on a loved 
    one she try's to get to the bottom of it.
    With the help of friend , a few new family members  and "enemies" can she bring down this curse.

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  • Posted November 29, 2014

    Oh how I enjoyed this book. It had witches! Character developmen

    Oh how I enjoyed this book. It had witches! Character development! Friendships! Romance! Teens being teens! Josephine Hemlock comes from a family of female witches that has been spoiled by the Curse, something that is out to destroy the Hemlock bloodline. I say female witches because men never last in the family. Through use of brilliant flashbacks, Whipple shows us Josephine’s parents together and happy and shows us how it didn’t work. Which doesn’t only satisfy the reader, but also Josephine who begins to understand her parents better.




    The book takes place during a time Josephine is in love with the cute boy of school, who of course has secrets of his own. Thankfully they aren’t the typical secrets and are an excellent twist in the novel. Not only does Josephine deal with the adorable boy, she also has to deal with her mother’s killer who is out to get not only her, but also her grandmother, one of the last people she has in her life that mean the world to her. When her grandmother falls horribly ill, Josephine learns who she can count on in her time of need. Her two friends are there for her and ultimately become her family when she needs them the most and it was a beautiful thing to see. Often in YA novels girls are catty and hate each other and this wasn’t like it at all. While Josephine has some moments with her friends (and understandably who doesn’t? I’m 25 and still have moments with my friends. Mostly HOW DO YOU NOT SEE THIS IS PISSING ME OFF AND I AM BARELY KEEPING IT TOGETHER. But I digress). Her relationship with Kat and Gwen were so authentic and I really enjoyed reading that.




    What I also enjoyed in this novel is how Josephine grew. While she always embraced herself and her family heritage, when things changed, and not always for the better, she worked through it. Not once did I want to shake her and/or slap her. Okay that’s a lie, there was that one time, but to be fair, there is almost always that ONE time in a novel.




    I cannot recommend this book enough. I love and adore it and continue to flail at Whipple’s writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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