Author: Natalie Whipple
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: 15 April, 2014
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss. Thank you!
Average Goodreads rating: 3.77 out of 5.00 (130+ ratings)
Goodreads | The Reading Room
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.Review by Nara
House of Ivy and Sorrow really wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting a Gothic, gritty tale of magic and mystery, and instead what I got seemed to be more of a high school drama. Which I suppose, isn't necessarily a bad thing- just not the thing that I expected.
A surprising amount of focus is given to the romance. Which was perhaps not the best thing in terms of my enjoyment of the book. I feel like the romance sort of took over the story, overshadowing the darker elements of the plot. The romance itself was okay. Nothing revolutionary. A bit bland. You know the type. I guess I did like the love interest, Winn, but I didn't think he was particularly swoon-worthy or anything.
In terms of the romance though, something that annoyed me a fair bit was that Jo seemed to think that EVERYONE in the town was SUPER interested in everything she did with Winn. I mean, sure, okay. You're a pretty girl dating the "hottest guy in town", but that doesn't mean that everyone is going to be staring at you when you go out to eat. Or that all the other girls in the restaurant are grinding their teeth in jealousy. Get over yourself, girl. Also, what's wrong with the waitress going "you two are such a cute couple"? Is that seriously THAT obnoxious? I THINK NOT.
Okay, this wasn't something that major, but "for the love"?! Do people say that?! Wouldn't you say "for the love of god" or even "for the love of all that's holy"? Whipple would just have the characters saying things like "For the love, I'll just do it!" in what I assume should be an exasperated tone, but just...no. FINISH THE DAMNED PHRASE. I don't even know why this annoyed me so much lol.
The overall tone of the book seemed very much like it was directed at the younger end of the YA range. It was also very predictable- but I suppose this didn't really affect my enjoyment of the book too much, because I wasn't expecting to be surprised. And da heck?! The ending was so anticlimactic! Things were so easily solved. I swear, the "climax" was about a paragraph long. If you were skim reading, you could have easily missed it.
I give this book 4 stars not because I thought it was a particularly well crafted book, but because I did actually enjoy it. Despite the flaws, it was a fairly entertaining read- my advice: just don't read into things too much.