Book Review: “Wild Swans” by Jessica Spotswood

Wild SwansIn Ivy’s family, Milbourn women are cursed with being extremely talented and crazy. However, Ivy has exhausted every avenue possible and has come to the conclusion that she just isn’t as talented as her ancestors. She feels as though she’s disappointed her grandfather who believes that being a Milbourn woman is a blessing and has high expectations for her. Still, Ivy just wants to enjoy the last days before her senior and do things normal teenagers her age are doing.

However, things begin to get hectic when Ivy’s mother, who abandoned her when she was a baby, returns to town with her two half-sisters in tow. Throughout the novel, Ivy tackles trying to live up to her grandfather’s expectations, bonding with a mother who didn’t and seems to not give a shit about her and finding a summer romance with a boy who is obsessed with her family history.

“Wild Swans” was a light read about family, mending broken relationships and finding yourself despite constantly being in the shadow of your family members.

Ivy is an overachiever who suffers from self-esteem issues like most teenagers her age. Yet, she’s determined to prove that she deserves to be a part of a gifted family and worthy of love from her selfish, conceited, absentee mother. While trying to deal with the fact that her mother stuck around to be in the lives of her two half-sisters, Ivy tries to bond with her newly-found siblings. I enjoyed reading about the Milbourn family history and couldn’t begin to imagine what it must be like to grow up in a family as mental and talented as Ivy’s. Ivy’s family past draws readers in and, as the book progresses, keeps them hooked as they try to determine whether or not Ivy will turn out like her ancestors. I hung on every word when the unthinkable happened to one of Ivy’s half-sisters.

What I didn’t like about Ivy’s character is that she couldn’t be compassionate towards her best friend, Alex, who was in love with her. I could understand that she didn’t want to ruin one of the best friendships she’s had but she completely disregarded his feelings to the point where I didn’t blame Alex for responding in the way that he did. Still, I loved reading about the budding relationship between Ivy and her grandfather’s top student, Connor. Connor is sort of a cliché love interest but a welcoming one. He helps Ivy to look at her family history with new eyes and to believe in herself. By the end of the novel, Ivy becomes a girl who is sure about herself and who is able to be the bigger sister her half-sisters need when her mother commits the unthinkable.

Overall, this novel is the kind of book you read when you’re looking for a story about teen angst, thrilling, well-developed stories about family and swooning romance. I’d probably read it again whenever I have the time or in need of a good, light read.

Rating: 8.5/10

Leigh-Ann Brodber is an upcoming enthusiastic journalist. She knows it is a field that is already heavily flooded by diverse opinions, hard criticism and occasional appraisal (when it’s due), but she’s sure she’ll be able to add her own colors to the journalism rainbow soon enough. Leigh-Ann currently attends COSTAATT, a college located in the Caribbean, where she’s pursuing her Bachelors in Mass Communication. She’s written film, stage production and food articles for various websites, and she’s also a born and bred animal rights activist, although she doesn’t think she’ll ever give up her rights to eat chicken. She has helped out at her local hospital many-a-time by indulging in weekly chit-chat with patients under a program called Candy Stripers. She recently started getting help for her long term Facebook addiction, she swears.