Friday, February 28, 2014

SLJ And House of Ivy & Sorrow Sittin' In A Tree

Woohoo! School Library Journal is also in love with HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW. How will my book ever choose who to go to prom with now that there are multiple suitors?

It's starting to freak me out that the trade reviews are coming in, because that means the book is coming out soon. Like, pretty much 6 week. DUDE. Cue panic attack.


Whipple, Natalie. House of Ivy & Sorrow. 368p. HarperCollins/Harper. Apr. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780062120182; ebk. ISBN 9780062120199.

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