The Book of Ivy

The Book of Ivy

by Amy Engel


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781622664658
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 11/11/2014
Series: Entangled Teen
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 249,924
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile: HL770L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

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.

Read an Excerpt

The Book of Ivy

By Amy Engel, Alycia Tornetta, Stacy Abrams

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2014 Amy Engel
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62266-466-5


No one wears white wedding dresses anymore. White cloth is too hard to come by, and the expense and trouble of securing enough to make several dozen dresses, or more, is too high. Not even on a day like today, when it is our leader's son who will be one of the bridegrooms. Not even he is special enough to be allowed to marry a girl dressed in white.

"Stand still," my sister says from behind me. Her knuckles are icy cold against my spine as she tries to force up the zipper on the back of the pale blue dress. It was made for the wedding day she never had and it doesn't fit quite right on my taller frame. "There." She gives the zipper one last yank. "Turn around."

I turn slowly, smoothing my hands down the soft material. I'm not used to dresses. I don't like how naked I feel underneath, already longing for pants and a breath not hemmed in by a too-tight bodice. As if reading my thoughts, Callie's eyes roam downward. "You're bigger in the bust than I am," she says with a smirk. "But I doubt he'll complain."

"Shut up," I say, but there's no force behind my words. I didn't think I would be this nervous. It's not as if this day is a surprise. I've known my whole life that it was coming, spent every minute of the last two years preparing. But now that it's here, I can't stop the tremor in my fingers or the sick fall of my stomach. I don't know if I can do this, but I also know I have no choice.

Callie reaches up and tucks a stray strand of hair behind my ear. "You'll be fine," she says, her voice firm and even. "Right? You know what to do."

"Yes," I say, pulling my head back. Her words make me feel stronger; I don't need to be babied.

She looks at me for a long moment, her mouth a tight line. Is she angry that I'm taking the spot that should have rightfully been hers, or is she glad to give it up, to be rid of the burden of being the daughter who holds so much hope on her shoulders?

"Girls." My father's voice floats up the stairs. "It's time."

"You go," I tell Callie. "I'll be right down." I need one last minute of quiet, one last chance to look around this room that will never be mine again. Callie leaves the door ajar when she goes, and I can hear my father's impatient voice from downstairs, Callie murmuring something reassuring to him.

On my bed is a well-worn suitcase, the wheels broken off long ago, forcing me to carry it. I heave it off the mattress, turn in a slow circle, knowing I will never sleep in this narrow bed again, never brush my hair in front of the mirror above my dresser, never listen to the sound of rain tapping against my windowpane as I drift to sleep. I close my eyes against a sudden press of tears and take a deep breath. When I open my eyes, they are dry. I walk out of my room and I don't look back.

The weddings are performed on the second Saturday in May. Some years there is rain and with it the faint, acrid scent of burning, even after so many years. But today dawned clear, the sky a bright, hectic blue, wispy clouds floating on a mild breeze. It is a beautiful day to become a bride, but all I can concentrate on is the heavy thump of my heart and the line of sweat forming between my shoulder blades as we walk toward City Hall.

My father and Callie flank me, almost as if they are penning me in to keep me from bolting. I don't bother telling them I'm not going anywhere. My father's swinging hand brushes mine, and he clasps my fingers in his own. He hasn't held my hand since I was a little girl, and the gesture shocks me so much that I stumble over my own feet, the pressure of his hand balancing me at the last moment. I'm grateful for his touch, even though touching is not something he does often or easily. He is not an offerer of comfort. When your fate is predetermined, there's not much benefit in coddling. His job was to make me strong, and I like to think he did it well. But maybe that is just wishful thinking.

"We're proud of you," he says. He squeezes my hand once, hard, almost to the point of pain, and lets go. "You can do this."

"I know," I tell him, my eyes straight ahead. The limestone facade of City Hall is less than a block away now. There are several other girls climbing the steps with their parents. They must be nervous, anxious to find out if they will end today as someone's wife or if they will go home and slide between their own sheets again. My anxiety is different. I know where I will be sleeping tonight, and it won't be in my own bed.

As we reach the sidewalk in front of City Hall, people begin to turn, grinning at my father, reaching out to shake his hand, clap him on the back. A few women give me reassuring smiles as they tell me how pretty I look.

"Smile," Callie whispers near my ear. "Stop scowling at everyone."

"If it's so easy, why don't you try it?" I hiss back, but I do as she says and plaster a smile onto my face.

"I would have, remember?" she says. "But I didn't get the chance. Now you need to do it for me."

So she is jealous after all, angry at having her birthright stolen. I expect her eyes to be cold, but when I turn my head, she is looking at me with a softness I have rarely seen. She is the female version of our father, with his chocolate eyes and dark chestnut hair. I always longed to look like the two of them, instead of being the odd one out with my not-quite-blond, not-quite-brown hair and gray eyes, both gifts from my long-dead mother. But as little as we resemble each other, looking at Callie has always been like staring at a fiercer, more disciplined version of myself. Looking at her reminds me of who I am expected to become.

We follow the long line of brides into City Hall. All around me are girls in pale dresses, some with hands clutching small bouquets, others, like mine, empty. We are ushered into the main rotunda where a stage has been set up at one end. There is a dark curtain across the back, and I know that, even now, the boys are gathering behind it, lining up before they are revealed to find out who they are destined to marry.

The potential brides sit in the first few rows of chairs, the families of both brides and grooms seated behind them. President Lattimer and his wife, however, are seated on the stage, as they are every year. Even with a son behind the curtain, their status does not change. My father gives my hand a final squeeze before moving away. Callie brushes a quick, dry kiss against my cheek. "Good luck," she says. If my mother were still alive, maybe she would hug me, give me final words of advice that I could actually use instead of a worn-out platitude.

I slide into an empty seat in the front row, avoiding eye contact with President Lattimer and the girls on either side of me. I keep my gaze straight ahead, focusing on a slight tear in the stage's dark curtain until the girl next to me presses something into my hand. "Here," she says. "Take one and pass it on."

I do as she says, sliding the stack of programs to the girl on my left. It is the same program they give out every year. Only the color of the paper and the names inside change. It hardly seems worth the effort; I'm sure we all have it memorized by now. This year the program is a washed out pink, the words Wedding Ceremony across the front in curly, slightly smudged script. The first two pages are a history of our "nation." Personally, I think it's ridiculous to refer to a town of fewer than ten thousand people as a nation, but no one's ever asked for my opinion.

The history includes talk of the war that ended the world, the floods and droughts that followed, the diseases that almost finished us off. But we, of course, rose from the ashes, ragged, war-weary survivors who managed to find one another across a vast, barren landscape and carved out a spot to begin anew. Blah, blah, blah. Our rebirth, though, was not without conflict and more deaths as two sides fought to determine how our tiny nation would go forward. The winning side, the side led by President Lattimer's father, prevailed. But the loser, my grandfather Samuel Westfall, and his followers were welcomed into the fold, promised forgiveness, and granted absolution for their sins.

I have to resist the urge to make gagging noises as I read.

And that is why we have the wedding day. Those who came from the losing side offer up their sixteen-year-old daughters to the sons of the winners. There is a second wedding day in November, when the sons of the losing side marry the daughters of the winning side. But that wedding day is more somber, the nation's most prized daughters forced to marry subpar boys under a bleak winter sky.

The theory behind the practice of the arranged marriages is twofold. There is a practical purpose: people don't live as long as they used to, before the war. And having healthy offspring is a much dicier proposition than in the past. It's important that we procreate, the earlier the better. The second is even more pragmatic. President Lattimer's father was smart enough to know that peace only lasts when the unhappy side still has something left to lose. By marrying our daughters to his side, he ensured we would think twice about rising up. It's one thing to slay your enemy; it's another thing entirely when that enemy wears your daughter's face, when the man you cut down is your own grandson. The strategy has worked thus far; we have remained at peace for two generations.

It is hot in the rotunda, even with the doors open and the cool limestone walls. A small bead of sweat slides down the back of my neck and I wipe it away, pushing my hair up again as I do. Callie did her best to twist it into submission, but my hair is thick and unruly and I don't think it cooperated as she would have liked. The girl to my right gives me a smile. "It looks good," she says. "Pretty."

"Thank you," I say. She has a crown of sad yellow roses in her red hair, the petals already withering in the heat.

"It's my second year," the girl whispers. "My last chance."

If you aren't matched with anyone your sixteenth year, you are put back into the pool for the next year. This also happens on years when there aren't enough girls to match with all the available boys, or visa versa, to give everyone the best chance of finding a match. If after two tries you aren't matched, then you are free to marry someone of your own choice who has similarly never been chosen. Or, if you're a woman, you can apply for a job as a nurse or teacher. Men, married and unmarried alike, work. Once women are married, they are expected to stay home and have babies, so traditional "female" jobs are filled with the ranks of the unmatched.

"Good luck," I tell the girl, although personally I don't think not finding a match would be such a terrible fate. But I know it will not be mine. My name has been in an envelope ever since Callie's was removed. There is no suspense for me. The other girls here today have the benefit of personality tests and endless interviews so that there is at least the possibility of compatibility with their new husbands. With me, all that matters is my last name.

"Thanks," the girl says. "I know who you are. My dad's pointed your dad out to me before."

I don't respond. I turn my eyes back to the stage, where the curtain is beginning to rustle. I take a deep breath in through my nose, let it out slowly through my mouth.

A man approaches the podium at the side of the stage. He looks nervous, glancing from the audience to President Lattimer and back again. "Ladies and gentlemen," he calls. His voice breaks on the last syllable and there is a smattering of laughter from the room. He clears his throat and tries again. "Ladies and gentlemen, we are here today to celebrate the marriages of the eligible young men from Eastglen and the lovely ladies from Westside. Their unions represent the best our small nation has to offer and symbolize the peace we have fought for and achieved together." It's not always this same man, but it's always this same speech, so sad and ridiculous I am torn between laughter and tears.

The redheaded girl next to me clasps her hands together so tightly her knuckles turn white, her toe tapping a nervous rhythm against the floor. The man at the podium gestures to someone offstage who I cannot see, and slowly the curtain begins to move to one side. It screeches on the metal pole, a long, high shriek that sets my teeth on edge. The first boys to be revealed fidget nervously, taking their hands in and out of their pockets, rocking on their heels. A small, dark-haired boy who looks more twelve than sixteen is suffering from a fit of giggles, tucking his chin into his chest while his shoulders heave. I am glad, at least, that he won't be mine.

They've put the one who will be mine right in the middle, so much taller than the other boys that they seem to flow out from him like water from a rock. He doesn't even look like a boy compared to them, which makes sense given his age. At eighteen, he's two years older than everyone else, but it's more than just his years. I'm not convinced he's ever been boyish. There is a gravity about him that none of the others possess. He does not fidget. I cannot imagine him giggling. His gaze is fixed — cool, impassive, and faintly amused — on some spot in the distance. He does not so much as glance at me.

He should have stood here two years ago. He was meant for Callie all along. But the day before the ceremony, we were notified that he was not attending, would not marry until he turned eighteen, and that it would be me standing next to him on that day, not my sister. Such whims are indulged, I suppose, when you're the president's son. As a consolation prize, Callie was given the option of having her name removed as a potential bride in the marriage ceremony. An option she took and one I wish were mine.

"Oh my God," the redhead breathes, glancing at me. "You are so lucky!"

I know she means well and I try to smile at her, but my lips don't want to cooperate. The man at the podium turns things over to the president's wife, Mrs. Erin Lattimer. She is auburn-haired and full-figured in the way that makes men's eyes follow her wherever she goes. But her voice is tart, cold even. It reminds me of the first bite of a sour green apple.

"As you all know," she says, "I will read the name of a boy, who will step forward. I will then open the envelope and read the name of the girl who will be his wife." She looks down at us. "Please come onto the stage when your name is called. If, at the end, your name is not called, it simply means the committee determined you weren't a good match for any of the boys this year." She gives us a brisk smile. "There's no shame in that," she says, "of course." But it is shameful not to be chosen; everyone knows that. No one ever says it out loud, but it's always the girl's fault if she's not matched to anyone. Always something in her that was found lacking, never the other way around.

The first name called is Luke Allen. He's blond, with a spray of freckles across his nose like brown sugar. His eyes widen briefly as Mrs. Lattimer tears open the envelope with his name written across the front and pulls out the creamy card stock. "Emily Thorne," she calls. There is rustling behind me, excited murmurings, and I turn my head. A petite, toffee-haired girl slides past the knees of the girls seated in her row. She stumbles a bit on her way up the stairs to the stage, and Luke hurries forward to take her hand. Some of the girls behind me sigh as if this is the grandest romantic gesture they've ever seen, and I will my eyes to stay still in their sockets. Luke and Emily stand awkwardly, giving each other sidelong glances, until they are shooed to the edge of the stage so the next couple can be announced.

It takes what feels like hours to get through the thick stack of envelopes. And even then there are plenty of girls left sitting, including the one next to me. Tears slide down her cheeks as Mrs. Lattimer holds up the final envelope. I want to tell her to be glad, to be happy that she can go back home tonight and figure out what she wants to do with her life beyond being a bride. But I know my words will be cold comfort. Because all anyone will ever remember about this girl is that she came home unmarried, that at the end of the day she was unchosen.


Excerpted from The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel, Alycia Tornetta, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2014 Amy Engel. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Book of Ivy 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
An absolutely brilliant YA read, The Book of Ivy was simply amazing. Full of secrets and unexpected twists, it was thoroughly enjoyable and I totally loved it. Ivy was great. She started out the book fully believing in what her father had told her. It didn't take long before all her beliefs were challenged and she was left with the task of trying to make sense of everything. She realized that nothing was quite as black and white as she thought and she wanted nothing more of being a pawn. She was a loyal, clever, and determined character that I really liked. Bishop was wonderful. Right from the start, he was challenging all of Ivy's preconceived notions. More than anyone else, he truly cared about the people and their well being, rather than the power that being leader would grant him. He was truly adorable. The romance was well done. Ivy didn't trust Bishop one bit at the start. But, over the course of the book, trust grew and so did their feelings for each other. After the ending, I'm not sure how things will go for them, but I'm sure hoping for the best. The plot had me hooked from start to finish. The world-building was well done. There were plenty of secrets and betrayals that had me on the edge of my seat. I loved the story and the ending has me itching to find out what happens next. The Book of Ivy was a thrilling, absolutely fantastic YA read that I loved from start to finish. It was a top notch book and I really enjoyed it. YA lovers, this is a must read book. Seriously, go get it now because this is a book not to be missed. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't been this excited about a dystopian in a long time, but this debut author you better watch out. First, that gorgeous. The main character Ivy has been told all her life and has been trained for the day to kill her future husband-the president's son. But everything she was ever taught to believe is completely thrown out the window when she realizes she starts to like and slowly fall in lovw with Bishop. Mixed with self-discovery and betrayal this book was just amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story and characters. Would have loved if the author had added a perspective from Bishop's point of view as he was an intiguing character and I would have loved to know what was going through his head and what he did every day (maybe a thought for an e-book/novella :-)), but loved it regardless! Can't wait for the sequel! Wish it was going to come out sooner :-)
Magluvsya03 More than 1 year ago
Oh my goodness! I was not prepared to fall so hard for this book. I was also not prepared AT ALL for the most devastating ending I think I've ever read in my life. I mean like tears, and heartbreak, and trouble breathing, heart in my throat ending. Dear God I need book two because that's just completely unacceptable for me to wait after that! LOL But anyways, before I scare you off, let me just say that this is an AWESOME book. Do you hear me when I say AWESOME. Yes, I know it's listed in the dystopian genre, and it is, but it's also so much more than that. This is every teenage girl's worse nightmare or complete dream. It's complicated and wonderful, and Ivy will have you completely wrapped around her finger by the end of this story.  So, Ivy is a strong girl, except she doesn't know it to start with. You see, she is forced to Marry her enemy at 16. Because this is how the world is now. She is marrying the President's son, and short of her death, there is nothing to stop this from happening. So she does, and she plots to kill her husband. What she didn't plan on is that fact that he is not evil, her enemies are actually better people than her family, though it takes her ages to realize this, and her own plan to kill her husband will completely blow her mind. Because he's good, and even worse, or better if you ask me, is he's good to her. He takes her side, he smiles at her, he tries to make her feel good about herself, he is her partner. She's never had that before. Ever. She's had dictators. And she will find out too late who is really on her side. Except herself. She's a fascinating character. I hate that it took such a devastating thing to wake her up, but I also completely understand why she is the way she is. The world she lives in is NOT ours. I mean yes it is, but it's destroyed, and it's really not the same. And on top of that, it's like they went backwards. You take a bunch of tests, and you are paired with someone, there is no choice, love or otherwise. And that in itself is devastating. To me at least, because they'd kill me with my crazy opinionated self.  Now Bishop. Dear God, I wanna put him in my pocket and carry him with me forever. He comes off cold and quiet, but around Ivy, he's amazing. He opens up to her, shows her a world of wonders she never knew. He's trying to fight for what he believes in, but in a big picture kind of way, not a guns blazing, shoot people down who don't agree with you kind of way. I love that he is always on Ivy's side. He will make sure she is comfortable, most of all.  He seriously is one amazing guy, and if you don't fall for him, I think you've maybe lost your mind.  Ok, let's talk the two warring families. So, Bishop's parents, well, they weren't what I expected. I actually like Bishop's dad. Yes, he has flaws, and yes, he needs to start looking to change a few things. But he's actually a good guy I think. Bishop's mom. She's so damned cold that I think she could freeze hell. Yes, I know she's a little broken, and I understand why, but suck it the hell up, your own son hates you, not because he's a bad person, but because you are. I wanna slap her alot. LOL She should have married Ivy's dad, because they fit. I also absolutely HATED both Ivy's dad and sister. You see, they've brain washed her, but not in a horrible way. In little ways, that she never noticed. And it isn't until Bishop shows her love in a giving way that she begins to understand how bad they are to her. AND STILL, she does the right thing for them, much to her own downfall, she takes it for them. I am seriously hoping that the author seriously gives these two a horrible torturous death in the end, because they deserve it, and no I don't believe it's ignorance. Their choices are completely aware. UGH. Ok I won't say anymore.  Don't read this book late at night, you'll stay up all night because you won't put it down. I didn't. I about lost my mind reading this one ;) Yes, this is the love story between Ivy and Bishop, but the background plot is just beginning. I see the twists to come between the two families, and I am saying every prayer under the sun this is not the beginning of the end. I can't say what I mean by that, it'll ruin the whole damn book. Amazing debut and now I have to pout and be anxious until next year when book two is released. I think I might go a little crazy waiting. LOL. Just trust me, this one can appeal to everyone alike, no matter the age, or the genre. Yeah this book is totally going to the top of one of the best books I've read, EVER. 5 PAWS. 
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
“The Book of Ivy”, by Amy Engel, is one of the best and most engaging YA dystopian novels I have ever read.  It manages to combine a heavy dose of romance with excellent world building and heavy situations. From the first paragraph, the character of Ivy and her life is a complex mystery that grabs you and leaves you wanting to know more.  As the world slowly develops and unfolds, so does Ivy’s past.  It’s extremely well-paced, careful to reveal just enough to keep with flowing without making the ending predictable. There are some very heavy subjects dealt with in an unflinching manner, but none of them are gratuitous.  The bad behavior is just that – bad, with no excuses or justification.  To counter it, there are many examples of respecting the wishes of others, treating those of the opposite sex with the respect they deserve, and standing up for what you believe is right. The mix of romance, intrigue, and action makes “The Book of Ivy” a wonderful read for almost anyone who enjoys young adult literature, as well as many adults who just need to pick up a novel like it to realize they will enjoy it, too.  While there are dark subjects, I have no trouble recommending it for readers in their teens due to the responsible nature in which it is all handled. In short, five stars, two thumbs up, and a high recommendation. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
WonderWmn More than 1 year ago
Oh my!  I rarely get book hangovers, but this one gave me a doozy.  I could kick myself in the butt for waiting so long to read this.  This was an amazing book, with all the right elements, in all the right spots and hit at all the right times. There are conspiracies, romance, betrayals, hope, despair, revenge, chaos and utter sacrifices in this book.  There is shock and awe.  There is the giddiness of the realization of love.  There is the darkness, light and everything in between.   Ivy gets stuck in a situation that she should never have been put in.  A situation that tugs at the reader.  A situation that you wish for anything she could get out of.  A situation where you realize just how deceitful certain individuals are.  As a reader, I was right there in the courtroom with her.  I wanted to shake her and tell her to spill it all because those that rightfully should have been there for her, took the easy way out.   I can't wait for the next book in the duology to come out, The Revolution of Ivy.  It doesn't come out until November 2015 though, 10 long months from now.  It seems like a lifetime.  That's how good this book is. I recommend this book for teens on up.  It's set in a dystopian future, but I don't really categorize it as a dystopian read.  It's more of a thriller than anything.  Is it November yet?
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
The Book of Ivy was such a good read. It's easily my favorite YA dystopian so far. It's a genre that's admittedly hit or miss for me--Katniss Everdeen will never have my full sympathy, and knowing how the final book in the Divergent series is going to end up, I'm not reading that series to the end--but this one had me gripped from page one. And waiting an entire year for the sequel (because there's only one, right? Please tell me it's not a trilogy) just might be the death of me. I want it now. I loved the character of Ivy Westfall--she's strong, outspoken, and loyal, yet (eventually--because she's stubborn too) willing to admit if even just to herself when she's wrong--and I absolutely adoredBishop Lattimer. Woza. Is it creepy to have a book boyfriend when you're old enough to be his mother? Yes? Never mind, then... I really liked that the plotline here doesn't involve clear-cut black-and-white, good-vs-evil characters. There's so many shades and layers of gray here; it's not really Ivy against the big, bad, evil government (until it kind of is--but for reasons completely unlike the "norm" for the genre). In fact, the longer the book continued the less sure I was that the government was big and bad at all. It definitely isn't without its flaws, but as Bishop very reasonably points out to her, their world is still ultimately a barbaric one and survival is very much a struggle for its inhabitants. The system his grandfather came up with is helping them to survive so far--even to thrive, though a bit precariously. Bishop listens to Ivy's concerns and complaints without the instant anger and defensiveness she expects, and makes her question the beliefs she's held all her life. "It’s not enough to want things to change without asking what they’re going to change into,” he tells her at one point, and he's absolutely right.Pie-in-the-sky idealism is very well and good, but theory doesn't always translate well into real life practice. So...the government might not be a completely evil adversary. Ivy's father and sister, though? Didn't trust them from page one. Wanted to smother them in their sleep by the end. I knew from the beginning that they weren't being completely truthful with Ivy, and by the book's conclusion? Don't even get me started... I loved watching Ivy and Bishop become closer--and the reason for the book's title, when it's given, is absolutely awesome--and when everything started to fall apart it was absolutely terrifying to read. Thank goodness for my hour lunch break, because I don't think I would have been capable of putting the book down in the last fifteen percent or so of it and gone back to work with any presence of mind whatsoever. I had to finish it. And now I have to wait another year to find out what's going to happen? Now that's cruel. Sigh... ;) Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review
Bookworm_Babblings More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. It’s the year 2075, fifty years after a nuclear war has destroyed the United States. A small group of 10,000 survivors band together and live within the gates. No one has ventured beyond them for fear of what they may encounter. Sixteen year old Ivy Westfall is the granddaughter of the founder of Westfall, this is the first year that the founder and president’s family will be united. But Ivy has been trained for two years for another mission; to kill her husband, the future president, Bishop Lattimer. But the line becomes fuzzy when after spending time with him she learns he’s different. When the truth come out her mother’s death, realization hits home that nothing may be what it seems. Will Ivy have the heart to murder the man she’s falling for? Could this sweet young man be the tyrant her father says he will become?  This book was extremely plausible, as many dystopian novels are. You can understand the need for arranged marriages with the hopes of increasing the population. In the same way, however, you can understand the people’s need for the freedom of choice. I enjoyed the way we got to watch Ivy mature before our eyes and slowly watch her fall in love with Bishop. From what I can see, I think Bishop has always loved her. I honestly can’t wait for book two, to find out if he goes after her or if he falls for Callie’s advances. This was a fantastic dystopian novel, very engrossing and one that was very hard to put down. A must read if you enjoy a dystopian novel with a sweet romance mixed in.
Sami_Creech More than 1 year ago
Ivy Westfall has been brought up in a society that has different rules from the ones we currently have. In Westfall the children girls and boys alike go into a wedding pool at the age of 16 in the hopes of keeping the peace between the once two warring families. Bishop Lattimer is the President’s son. Handsome and way more complicated than anyone will ever know. From a young age Ivy was told that Bishop’s father killed her mother. That alone is enough to inspire her quest for vengeance against the Lattimer’s and hopefully restore the power to her family again. On the day she is wed to Bishop she knows that she only has a short time to fulfill her part of the mission. As the days and weeks pass and she gets to really know Bishop her feelings and attitude change. Will she allow a vendetta that was inspired by lies dictate her life now? Will she be able to go through with the plan to place her family back in power if it means losing the one she has come to love? In the end will she choose family over Bishop or the other way around? Can she really stop plans that have been set in motion and save everyone? A great “Rome and Juliet” type story with an ending that will leave you breathless. 
gigiluvsbooks More than 1 year ago
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… Review: I tend to run away from YA Dystopian books, but this book came highly recommended and it sounded different and interesting.  Let me say, I am so happy that I took a chance! I liked that the premise was realistic and not so far fetched as some other books.  It really says something when I can picture myself in this world. For me it is like reading The Stand by Stephen King, I can see myself as a survivor and picture living in these worlds.  Even though the characters are young adults, these characters are so well written that really they could be any age and still be relate-able.  I think using a real life scenario, nuclear war and its aftermath, made this story more believable.   Now, I liked Ivy, but there were times I wanted to smack her around for listening to her family.  She is caught between two factions and she wants to do the right thing, but when everyone is basically lying or withholding the truth, who do you trust?  Bishop is great, but again he is caught between what he thinks is right and what his family wants.  I thought the ending between the two was intense and very emotional.  This is a continuing story and there is not a resolution at the end of the book.  Not that this is authors doing or relates to her writing, the publisher is not putting out the second in the series until a year from now.  It is one thing to have a series where each book is pretty much self contained, though part of a larger arc but to have an cliff hanger ending and then have to wait a year, in my book is a bad idea.   This first time author has done an amazing job and created a great story for all ages. 4.5Stars
BrynnaCurry More than 1 year ago
After the destruction of most of mankind and civilization as we know it, the last survivors of our race must band together to recreate society. There are no cars, none that run anyway, no gas, no phones, and only scant electricity to power the most basic appliances. People walk, bike or ride horses, which are even more scarce. To prevent war between the surviving groups, arranged marriages take place twice a year between the opposing sides. This year, Ivy Westfall is sixteen and she's about to wed the son of her enemy. He's gorgeous, older, and...kind to her? Maybe everything she has been taught to believe about Bishop Lattimer isn't as it seems. The Book of Ivy is possibly the best debut I've read this year in any genre.  As a rule, I seriously dislike (okay, hate) dystopian novels even if they have a romance weaved in. But Ivy hooked me with just the snippet of her thoughts in the description and then she blew me away. She is both strong and weak, terrified and brave. I felt her fear of a future she never wanted with Bishop, and then her fear of wanting that same future so badly it might destroy them both. Bishop is everything a young hero should be, but still wonderfully flawed.  Amy Engel's written voice is flawless as she pulls you into Ivy's world. Be prepared to spend a few hours reading because you won't be able to put this book down until the last page has been turned. And'll want more. 
Sanz71 More than 1 year ago
INITIAL THOUGHTS So this one sounds post apocalyptic/dystopian, which are my favourite genres so along with this and the great sounding blurb has me really looking forward to this one a lot. The blurb makes the yearly ritual in this book sound similar to the pairing ceremony in Matched by Ally Condie.  MY REVIEW I like the cover with I would presume to be the main female character in the book Ivy, and she is holding a knife behind her back. Though the cover definitely attracted my eye and piqued my interest enough to want to read the blurb. After reading the whole book and looking back at the cover, it is kind of misleading and doesn't represent Ivy as well as I first thought it would. (obviously I can't really go into the exact why as it would reveal quite a large spoiler!). I think the girl on the cover's hair should have been more like the description in the book of Ivy's flowing, wilder hair. Having said all that I still like the cover with the greyness of it and the book title which features the skyline of the city depicted in the book. So would the cover make me pick this one up from a book store shelf? Yes! Now to the actual book, the society have survived the nuclear war devastation and founded their own society. However within that surviving community there was still unrest between the Westfall family and the Lattimer's. The Lattimer's won the battle and have been the ruling family ever since. Anyone committing a crime is brought up on trial, and if found guilty cast out of the settlement. Which seeing the wasteland surrounding the settlement is as good as a death sentence in fact in some cases a death sentence would be preferable. The Westfall family have been secretly planning to get rid of the Lattimer's and take charge themselves again. Under the Lattimer's rule marriages are arranged so that the community become more integrated. Despite this fact, the society still fall's into separate sides, the wealthier, more properous side called Westside (kind of ironic as the Westfall family do not live in this side of town) and the less well off, lower classes live in Eastglen. All the eligible people for marriage are tested and scientifically matched. The marriages of the poor Eastglen females to the more affluent Westside males happens every second Saturday in May. The marriage ceremony for the well off Westside Women to marry the poorer Eastglen boys occurs on the second Saturday in November. There is no choice in this, as the females reach 16 years old they are expected to marry whom ever they are matched to in the ceremony. They immediately leave the familiarity of their homes and move in with their new spouse. They young couples are expected to produce offspring as soon as possible to keep the society going. Pregnancies are no longer easy, as after the nuclear war a lot of children were born with defects or died. It is widely believed by all residents of Westside & Eastglen that the younger age of 16 years old are more likely to have a succesful pregnancy. Though this is all set and no -one is able choose whom they marry. Having said that, it is well known and pre-destined that the Presidents son Bishop is to marry a female offspring of the Wesfall's. It is originally arranged for Bishop to marry Callie Westfall, but the President and his son manage to change things so that Bishop marries Justin Westfall's youngest daughter, Ivy when she reaches 16 years old.  I really came to love the character of Ivy and felt immensely sorry for her that she was being pressured by her father and sister to find out information as to where all the weapons are kept. Though that is only part of the Westfall plan that they expect 16 year old Ivy to carry out. They actual push her to make Bishop trust her and then tell her she must kill Bishop. The death of Bishop is not only political but for a much more personal reason to Ivy's father. Ivy doesn't remember her mother, and when she asked questions about her she was alyas hushed and the subject changed. Whilst living with Bishop, Ivy learns more about her mother and is surprised to learn that Bishop's father President Lattimer grew up with her mother. I could seriously go on and on and on about this book, it is so jammed pack with information about the dystopian society, then there's Ivy's relationships with her family as well as Bishop and his family. It really is complex, in depth well thought out society and plot. So much happens in this book. My favourite characters are those of Ivy and Bishop. I love how there relationship blossoms. As a reader you really feel Ivy's angst about the terrible decision she faces. She really is "between a rock and a hard place". Sadly whichever choice Ivy makes looks pretty damning and drastic for herself as well as those around her. So did I enjoy the book? I loved it. Would I recommend the book? Definitely a MUST read for dystopian lovers! Would I want to read a Bk2 ? Yes please when can I have it? lol Would I want to read other books by this Author? I would certainly check any book by this author out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved everything about this book!
schoollibrarian More than 1 year ago
My high school students and I enjoyed the interesting and unexpected twists of this book. All of the 12 students who read it gave it 3-5 stars.
WhatsBeyondForks More than 1 year ago
Ivy is a character that really grabs you. She was raised to believe in their cause. Yet, her heart is trying to lead her in another direction. Watching the relationship grow between Ivy and Bishop was half the fun. It certainly wasn't love at first sight, and I wasn't expecting Bishop to be that much of a sweetheart. He seems like the perfect man..he really does, but is it all a show? The struggle is real for Ivy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Books like "The Book of Ivy" are my favorite type of books. I stayed up from9:30pm to 6:00am reading more than half of the book. There's a beautiful romance blooming over time that is amazing yet parshaly forbiden. This book drove me to tears however i enjoyed every part of it. I finised the book in 6 days though it would have been less if I haden't been busy this week. I really can't wait to read book two of the series "The Book of Ivy: The Revelution of Ivy."
aRomancelover More than 1 year ago
I needed something different to read and I got it! I really liked this and now I'm hooked. Just wish both books had been in one. Life hasn’t been easy for anyone in Westfall…least of all, Ivy Westfall. Having lost her mother as a baby, she’s grown up hearing hateful things about the Lattimers and why they should not be governing in Westfall. Having trained all of her life for a mission in which she has complete faith, Ivy must marry the President of Westfall’s son, Bishop Lattimer. When her sister, Callie was passed over it was left to Ivy to take her place and set in motion the means for a revolution to return the power to her father, the man she believes will put everything right, as it should be. Her mission…to find where any weapons are stashed, discover any secrets the Lattimers may have, and kill her husband. That last part becomes more difficult to think about doing once she gets to know Bishop Lattimer who allows her freedom she’d never experienced before with her father and sister. She begins to question her role, the justification for killing Bishop, and the reasons. She begins to fall in love with this young man who treats her with kindness, respect, and encourages her to think her own thoughts. Now she has a decision to make and no matter what she does, she knows it will end badly. Amy Engel does a wonderful job of creating a post-apocalyptic world with a dystopian society that is easily related to and realistically conceivable in THE BOOK OF IVY. Society has to be contained, rules followed, and the population rebuilt with the young being the most capable of providing children. It all makes sense, even arranged marriages in some respects but as in any dystopian society, there always seems to be a huge difference between those who have and those who have not. In this world, there is only once punishment for any kind of crime committed…banishment to the outside. Even a simple theft of a loaf of bread because you’re starving could mean you’re put out to the other side of the fence built to protect the citizens of Westfall from the dangers outside the fence but which might also be there, to keep those inside from thinking too far outside the box. I was intrigued by premise of the story…intrigued enough to give in to my previous aversion to reading Young Adult. I suspect I might have to revisit that choice. Having become a fan of the film DIVERSION was possibly one of the reasons I was drawn to THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel but I have to say that it was her writing too. I enjoyed it coming from the point of view of a young girl who having been manipulated and over-sheltered so much that when allowed to think freely, she began to see things about herself, her world, and her family that both intrigued and disappointed her. I do wish it had been longer perhaps pulling books one and two, the second being THE REVOLUTION OF IVY, together might have meant a much more satisfying read. But still, I do highly recommend THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel to anyone who has a passion for coming of age stories in worlds beyond our understanding, but not beyond our imaginations. ***purchased for my own personal reading but I'm sharing my honest and unscripted review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wery good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am speechless. This well written. Character development was amazing, believable. I fell for Ivy and Bishop. Both characters had so much strength and quirks that I came to really know them. I felt like I knew them. I laughed, smiled, gasped in shock, even cried. Its been a while since a book has sparked such emotions in me. I will likely reread this book over and over again. Lookng forward to book 2! That is an understatement :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cant wsit for the next book to come out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting plot But overall felt was a bit slow going
KristiHulsey More than 1 year ago
I have been trying to find the best way to put this book into words. It's very hard for me right now. This book is truly AMAZING!!! I am speechless to write my feelings for this book. It was just so, so good. Finishing this book was just so amazing. I instantly want to read the next book which comes out in November. I cannot wait for that book. To see what happens next.  I didn't really know what to expect going into this book. I haven't heard much hype on this book. So I didn't really read the synosis but it was better that way. I knew it was based in the future, which I personally love stories like that.  The cover is just so gorgeous. The raised letters on the word Ivy. Ivy with the knife in the background is just so, so beautiful.  The Character's of Bishop and Ivy I just fell in love with both of them instantly. This is just a complete swoon-worthy story of these 2 characters. Amazing Debut Novel, I just LOVE it so much! I cannot wait for the second book to come out to see what happens next. Please pick this book up and read it. Its just truly AMAZING!!!!
Addicted_Readers More than 1 year ago
4 Stars THE BOOK OF IVY was full of love, betrayals, murder plots, deception, and the courage to do what is in your heart, no matter the consequences... I've had THE BOOK OF IVY on my radar for a while now, but since it sounded vaguely familiar to another book I read, ABERRANT, I was reluctant to pick it up. But my curiosity won me over and I finally decided to give THE BOOK OF IVY it's fair shot regardless of the similarities I thought they had. But I am pleasantly surprised to admit that was not the case and the similarities were very minor, and it was definitely worth the read. THE BOOK OF IVY was very slow paced with hardly any action, but that was strangely okay with me. I still enjoyed the drama and suspense of it all. There were a lot of layers and plots and schemes and tons of betrayals that kept this story interesting enough even without the action and adventure. And the world-building was a little different then what I excepted, but still interesting enough. Though I would of liked to have more history on the war and conflict between the families, but I'm hoping we'll get more info in book two, THE REVOLUTION OF IVY. THE PLOT After the war, Ivy's ancestors founded Westfall Community, a place that the people could rebuild and start anew. But their was disagreement about how to keep things up and running, and who should run them. The Westfall's and the Lattimer's went head to head for the position, and as fate would have it, the Lattimer's were the ones who seized control of Westfall Community. But instead of killing the rival family, they made the Westfall's the lowest citizens of their Community, and forced them to marry off their future children to the future Lattimer children, and thus seizing even more control of the Westfall's and the Community. And then the murder plot begins... Ivy Westfall is on a mission, one that could change the world as they know it. One that could bring her family to their rightful place in power. One that could bring freedom back to their people. One that could save their women from marrying monsters. One that will turn her into, a murderer... For the mission she must complete is simple: "Marry the enemy, make him trust you, find the codes and guns, wait for the order, execute on site." Easy right? To save her people Ivy must kill the only person that might really want to save them all—Bishop Lattimer, the enemy and the presidents son, but also the love of Ivy's life... She must kill the man she's grown to love if she's to change their world... So to sum it all up, THE BOOK OF IVY was way more then I anticipated. I reveled in this story and the slow paced plot with strong characters and a slow burning romance that made me want to stay up late for just one more chapter!! Overall, THE BOOK OF IVY is definitely a must read for dystopian fans out there. It's not your gritty, face-paced, action-packed dystopia, so if that's what your looking for you won't find it here. But if you want a slow burning romance, with a slower pace plot, fleshed with rich developed characters, with spunk and determination, and a desire to set what's wrong right, and to avoid the dirtier methods to get it, then THE BOOK OF IVY is something I'm sure you'll enjoy. I am soooo eagerly waiting for book two, THE REVOLUTION OF IVY. I can't WAIT to see what happens next, because that ending was a KILLER!!!! NOTE: I received a eARC from Entangled for reviewing purposes! All opinions express are my own and are not influenced in any way!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago