The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel ~ Blog Tour: #Review & #Giveaway

~Jennifer~ | 8:00 AM | | |

Welcome to my stop on The Book of Ivy Blog Tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours! Click here to follow along with the full tour schedule.

Title: The Book of Ivy
Series: The Book of Ivy #1
Author: Amy Engel
Publication date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen 
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Source: Copy for review 

Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Google Books    

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... 


My hopes for The Book of Ivy were very high, and I'm happy to say the book went above and beyond them. I'm always afraid of becoming sick of dystopian stories, but so far I've been lucky. The world Amy Engel has created is nothing short of intriguing and satisfies my craving for an entertaining and thought-provoking dystopian novel. 

First of all, I loved the themes she weaves in this story - the importance of thinking for oneself and that things are rarely black and white just to name a couple - in and around the characters and their actions. Ivy finds herself questioning more and more all that her father and sister drilled into her head her entire life. Bishop gives her room to find herself and learn how to think for herself, which earned him mega points in my book. He doesn't see her as a weak girl who needs to be saved, and he's right about her. 

The setting is a small town in what was once southern Missouri in the Ozarks area. I liked knowing this because in a lot of dystopians, they're usually vague as to where they take place, and it helps me connect more with the story itself as well as the characters. So I definitely appreciated that info was given. 

Ivy is a girl I felt empathy for because she's forced into an arranged marriage to a stranger, and she's only sixteen. Not only that but she also must face the ever-increasing amount of pressure from her father and sister to do what they tell her to in order to move forward with their plan to take back control of the people. She deals with all of this better than I would have, especially at her age. But the more time she spends with Bishop, the more she begins to realize the world isn't exactly the way her father always told her. 

Bishop is easy to love. He has so many good qualities but is still a realistic character I could connect with. I relished the moments between him and Ivy and could not bear for distance to creep back into their relationship. No instalove and no triangles here, and that was refreshing. The romance is subtle and not overdone at all. 

I found many quotes in The Book of a Ivy that have become favorites of mine, and I'm only sharing two because the rest would give key plot points away, which I definitely don't want to do. This book brought out so many emotions in me and caused me to savor every word, sometimes more than once or even twice. 

"No matter how hard I look, I cannot find the blood on his hands." - Ivy

"I will be the one with blood on my hands, and I don't know if that's something I can ever wash away." - Ivy

I liked the subtle Romeo & Juliet joke Bishop makes when they come across the book in his father's library because Ivy and Bishop in their own way are like a twisted version of the famous star-crossed lovers. Their families hate each other, and I couldn't help but think their story will probably end in tragedy as well. While they didn't choose to be together necessarily, there is passion stirring between them that could blossom into love. 

It pains me that I must wait a year until the next book comes out, lol. Oh, the humanity!! I'm dying to know what's going to happen next. Until then, I'll have to find ways to keep myself occupied - Netflix marathons here I come! 

My Rating:

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.

Blog Tour organized by:


  1. Seriously, HOW are we supposed to wait a year for the next book?! I adored The Book of Ivy. Like you, I have been kind of wary of dystopians lately, but this one delivered! I really loved the way Amy Engel took it, because it could have been cookie-cutter, but it wasn't AT ALL. I agree with you about all the themes too- it was great seeing everything connect. And YES to the location! I LOVE when authors do that, it helps me paint a much more vivid picture than when the location is vague. Great review!

    1. Exactly! I guess we'll have to keep ourselves busy with our TBRs to get through the next year, lol. I agree with you, too - she took it and made it her own instead of taking the easy route and making it like other dystopians out there. Location is so important to me when reading. I still haven't figured out where all Panem covers in The Hunger Games. I wish it said, "This used to be this place" or something along those lines, you know? Thanks so much, Shannon! :D

  2. I'm seeing so many people review this at the moment and honestly, I'm definitely intrigued! I'm burnt out on dystopians, but this does sound rather fresh and different. Plus a Romeo/Juliet twist?! UM. YES PLEASE. I've already added it on goodreads. I'm keen!
    Thanks for stopping by @ Notebook Sisters!

    1. I promise, it's definitely fresh and different. I was really surprised with how much I ended up loving it. It's been a long time since I've freaked out after reading a book when I find out I'm going to have to wait a year until the next installment, lol. Thank you for visiting back! :D

  3. This is a book I was curious about so I was glad to see you loved it, Jennifer. I like all the themes you mentioned - particularly thinking for yourself - and I adore that it's a twist on Shakespeare. :) So I'll definitely be reading this one although I may wait until closer to the release of #2. :)

    1. I don't blame you for waiting because I'm freaking out that I have to wait a year. I think I've become spoiled with authors who release books several times a year, lol. It's a really really great book. I thought it seemed like a cool Romeo & Juliet thing because the main characters who get married don't necessarily love each other at first because they don't know each other, but their families are sworn enemies. So it's almost like the opposite because instead of the two families keeping Romeo & Juliet apart, in this book, the two families set them up together. Interesting twist and so cool how their relationship builds slowly. No instalove, no triangles. I'm in awe of how Amy did it!

  4. This book was so wonderfully written that I could easily fall into the role of Ivy. I would not consider this an emotionally charged novel with normal mountainous peaks, but rather it is obvious that this is a book building marathon. The gradual building is evident and leading me to anticipate an entire earth shattering series that earns it's name as a BookWhisperer Favorite.


Leave a comment and make my day awesome! :D This is an award-free zone - thanks for your consideration though!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...