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3.4 out of 5 stars
The Ivy
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
The Ivy is a very unexpected read for me. I'm not usually into the Gossip Girl-esque novels that are very popular today because I can't take all the fashion talk and designer name-dropping, boy dramas and all the frenemies and BFF entanglements. Those books just all become one dizzying ball of confusion to me. But for some reason I cannot fully explain, I ended up liking this book and am even looking forward to the next book in the series.

Our main character is Callie, a California blonde, starting her freshman year at Harvard. The whole book was how she survived her first year amidst all the roommate dramas, boy problems, a pain-in-the-neck evil upperclassman set on ruining her, drinking, drugs, partying, sex and very, very little studying. Okay, this is for the not-yet-in-college crowd thinking this book will give you an accurate portrayal of college life: there is not enough time in the day (and night) to do all that club socializing, partying, drinking, sex-ing and drama-making the characters did in the book as well as fit in all the studying and writing [papers] they (and you) will need to do to pass a semester, especially in a prestigious school like Harvard. It bothers me that college is often portrayed as "party central 24/7" in books when it's very far from the true reality of college life.

No, it's not the questionable plot line or the cliché characters or the more than questionable, choppy writing that had me giving this book more stars than it probably deserves for the most part. Okay, let me talk about the writing for a second: it's all over the place. For the most part it's limited third person through Callie's perspective but there were parts when suddenly it becomes limited third person through another character's perspective (one of the roommates or one of the boys vying for Callie's heart) for two paragraphs and then it goes back to Callie again. Other times Callie is even talking to the reader in second person. It made the book disjointed and I wasn't a fan of it.

Maybe what wormed it's way into my reading heart was the flashes of myself I saw in Callie in the first eighth of the book. There were some instances that brought me back to my freshman year in college. The way Callie was in the beginning, just trying to fit and make friends but clueless at where to begin. Callie being intimidated by her more worldly roommates and upperclassmen. Callie trying to figure out where to sit in the dining hall and deciding which classes to sign up for... all me. Or maybe, in the end, I was sucked in by all the drama after all. This book, it's addicting. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop reading and I couldn't hate it. It's a guilty-pleasure book with a capital G-U-I-L-T-Y.

If you're looking for your next guilty-pleasure book in the same vein as the Gossip Girl series, check The Ivy out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am not a young adult anymore although I do enjoy reading YA books. However, I do enjoy when YA books break out of the high school setting and move into the college setting like The Ivy. The Ivy takes place at Harvard and really enjoy hearing about the experiences of others who went to larger colleges than I did. The authors both attended Harvard so I am sure they used some of their personal experiences to write this book. I really liked the main character Callie. Coming from California to the East Coast must have been a huge culture shock for her and then there are all these guys that fall for her or she falls for. She leaves Evan behind in California and he breaks up with her early in the book. However, they have a secret that eventually comes back to haunt her. She meets Gregory on the first day she is there and develops this weird love hate relationship with her. Then there is Matt, Gregory's roommate and the guy I think Callie should be with. He is such a sweetheart and really cares about her as a person. He reminds me a lot of my boyfriend (I guess that is why I am partial to him). She ends up with Clint and he helps her into this world of glamour and parties which she enjoys but it doesn't come without hassles or problems. Her three roommates are great characters as well and their interactions remind me of college life and getting to know other people in this new and different world. I am really looking forward to the next book and hope there is some resolution to the problems Callie has at the end of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My Thoughts: Its hard to describe The Ivy! Yes, I went to college but I didn't stay in a dorm, or even have roommates. We are introduced to Callie who is a freshmen in college. She is new to all this and is trying her best to fit in. She comes from California and a lot of people peg her as a dumb blonde, but she is far from it. We are than introduced to all the girls who live with her and the guys across the hall. Some of the guys I liked while others I disliked but began to grow on me. I liked the Ivy a lot, it was full of drama, romance, and all around fun. I was also very happy with who Callie ended up with. I heard there are going to be a few more books in the series. This is just the beginning of Callie's college experience.

The only bad thing I can say, and its not even that bad, is that parts of the writing felt choppy. Sometimes I would have to go back and check to see if something happened, did I miss that or were we just supposed to "guess" it happened. There were a few confusing parts but other than that The Ivy was very drama-filled which I loved!

Overall: Liked it a lot! Can't wait to read more about the characters.

Cover: Its plain yet really cool. The red is very attractive.

What I'd Give It: 4/5 Cupcakes

Taken from Princess Bookie
(HC Edition)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
THE IVY may not be the most accurate portrayal of freshman year at University, but that's besides the point: Rina Onur and Lauren Kunze fully succeeded in writing a fun, dramatic, boy-filled novel that I kept me distracted for hours.

While THE IVY exaggerated some aspects of college life, there were definitely situations that happen on campuses across the country. For me, this novel was a perfect balance of reality and fiction - too much reality would be horribly boring, too much fiction and I wouldn't have related to the characters. Every time I stumbled across a phrase or situation I recognized, like moving into the dorms or Thirsty Thursday, a little lightbulb popped on and I was pulled just a bit deeper into the story.

I honestly can't discuss this book without mentioning that there are many, many boys within its pages. Good looking boys, I might add. This fact may not pull in those male readers, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to seeing quite a few of those boys in book two. *daydreams*

Speaking of boys, this book definitely has a romantic plot line... or two... or three. The main character is apparently a boy magnet and is never without at least one admirer. Best of all, being such a boy magnet allows for different types of romance... there's a tension-charged relationship and a sweet relationship. Something for everyone!

THE IVY may not be a new or revolutionary concept for a novel, but Onur and Kunze did a phenomenal job with this familiar plot and I, for one, will be reading any subsequent novels. THE IVY is relateable, despite some of the far-fetched material, and extremely amusing!

Grade: A
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I came across this book by accident and can't thank my luck stars enough! It was one of the best reads this year. The dialogue was fresh, smart and sooo funny - on more than one occassion I found myself laughing out loud especially the scenes with Callie, Mimi, Dana and OK. All the characters were interesting, well developed and a bit more mature than the typical high-school characters that most YA books feature, which was refreshing! Now, the boys; Gregory and Clint, well what can I say about the boys but HOTTIES! Where were these boys when I was in school. Two very different characters but each written in such a way that they were very appealing just in different ways. No wonder Callie is conflicted. But if I had my say, definitely team Gregory - boy is sooo very bad and sooo very sexy! The Harvard "survival rules" was a fresh treat at the start of each chapter and left you feeling like you were getting a tidbit of insider information into the lives of students at this prestigeous institution. One of my top favorite series! Don't miss out on this great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
For some reason, I have always liked reading about college life - away from home, especially since I did not have to leave home myself, so livng through others is fun.

The Ivy is a fun, fun read. It has pretty much what you would expect from this type of book, which is probably the one negative I have to write about this one - its predictable. Nonetheless though, it is an interesting and fun romp through college life.

Callie is starting her first year and really wants to fit in. She ends up making friends and boyfriends, through a series of events - most of them pretty funny.

The characters are okay for the most part - we get to know them gradually and they interact well with each other. Callie seems to have a way of being at the wrong/right place at the right times, which, of course, makes the story a tad impossible to believe, but also gives it a nice little push forward with great momentum and an interesting storyline.

If you want to have a light read that will keep you turning the pages and engaged, then you have found it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Callie is a pretty relatable character, because she wants to fit in at a place where a social structure has been established for years. I also like that she is excited for school and also very nervous. I love Mimi and her slacker attitude. Also the fact that she would randomly burst into speaking french. Vanessa's desire to please people annoyed the hell out of me and I wish that she would just disappear. I really like the secret society aspect of the Final Clubs that were such an important part of The Ivy. I also liked that the plot was fluffy and cute. It was also predictable like Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Private series can be. I found that there was some originality with the fact that it was set in Harvard and not high school. That part brought more hijinks, parties, and other random fun to the book. Kunze and Onur make a great duo in The Ivy and create a unique voice for Callie. I think that this book is great for anyone that is looking for a cute, but fast read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I was really excited about this book and I was not disappointed! This book is addictive and while reading the pages seemed to turn themselves. It was fun to get in the head of an attractive but down-to-earth girl with men and friend troubles around every corner. The characters seem very real and the plot is very believable. At first glance I thought the plot would become predictable but there are some curve balls. Definitely ready for book two. Bring it on Kunze and Onur! I want to see how Callie gets herself out of this one.

[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I just could not get into it but it is not of my genre so that is to be expected. Had I nothing else to read, I would read it, I suppose but 20 pages was too much with other good books waiting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Title: The Ivy
Author: Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur
Genre: YA fiction
Publishing Information: August 31, 2010 by Greenwillow Books

Where I got it: E-book library

One sentence: Freshman year at Harvard is a whole new ball game for California girl Callie Andrews.

Themes: Romance, college, parties, secret societies, secrets, drama

Main character: 4/5
I liked Callie immediately because I could relate to her. She made mistakes, she acted unwisely, she was a bad person sometimes; but it was all incredibly realistic. I enjoyed how Callie changed throughout the book; sometimes for the worse, but I think it was reasonable. The only thing that I would have liked to see is more character development on her part, sooner.

Secondary characters: 4/5
The roommates were extremely interesting and funny. I enjoyed Mimi and Vanessa in particular because they were both strong, witty and flawed, but lovable. Dana was definitely one-sided and a weak point in the novel- I feel like the authors used her as a critique of extremely religious people, which was unfair. I liked the fact that I didn't hate almost any character except Lexi, because you don't normally hate people in real life, you just dislike decisions or parts of their personality. Gregory was definitely my favorite- ultra sexy!

Writing style: 4.5/5
I loved the mixed media component of the writing, especially the yearbook comments at the beginning; they were a clever way to introduce us to the cast of characters. The first couple chapters were a little front loaded with information, but after that, the writing pace picked up and carried on at a good clip, which made it a fast read.

Plot: 4/5
I love the fact that this is about college-life. I really feel like there is a deficiency in YA fiction of good, college-age novels. While most of the conflict was nothing new, it was entertaining and I loved the secret society aspect brought in by the authors. I know some reviewers found that the party scenes were over-the-top, but as a current college student, I found them to be extremely realistic.

Ending: 2/5
Ugh, another book falls into the trap of ending on a cliffhanger because it's in a series. I was even more frustrated because I was on a roll reading and really getting into it. Also, poor Callie at the end! Everything is going so wrong, which made me sad after I finished.

Best scene: Where the gang gets high. Seriously, the silliest scene ever.

Positives: Strong characters, interesting and fun plot, writing style

Negatives: The ending!, predictability,

First Line: Dearest Froshlings: peons and future leaders of America, Move-in day is officially here, and the upperclassmen cannot wait to welcome you to Harvard: our humble abode.

Cover: Very simple, but the red ivy draws the eye and fits so well with the title.

Verdict: I really loved this entertaining college coming-of-age story

Rating: 8.1 / 10
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