Friday, March 7, 2014

House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

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.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 352
Type: Paperback 

Reviewed by Rachel, age 18
The House of Ivy and Sorrow was a fun book. I would compare it to Halloween Town but for teens--a bit darker and more romantic. At first I was put off by how cheesy and cliche Whipple's witches were, but then I realized that was sort of the point (or so I think). It gave the book a lighthearted feel, even though there was also tension and creepiness to the story. And as the book progressed, Whipple's witches became less and less commercial and more and more unique as the reader learns more about them. 

The book was humorous while also being suspenseful to keep the pages turning. There's also a very cute romance--and they do have some swoony times--but it is not the main plot of the story, rather a layer of it. What I liked about Josephine's character was that she loves Winn (the love interest) but she knows what her priorities are and doesn't let romance get in the way. 

In that vein, this book had quite a bit of "girl power", if you will. Witches are only women and Josephine has strong female friends and family that surround her and play huge roles in the book. Not many stories have the grandmas/friends/aunts/cousins as such vital characters, but rather extra people to keep the story moving forward. With that, the book had a strong themes of family/friendship and enjoying every moment of life. 

I also enjoyed that this book was sort of a romantic, supernatural mystery. The balance of humor/lightheartedness and heavy topics/decisions the characters have to make was quite well done! Although there was nothing jaw-droppping about this novel, there also wasn't anything bad. It was a good, fun read! 

This book is not hard to get into--and it's quite a fast read! I like that it's a stand alone, but of course leaves room for interpretation and possible sequels. Regardless, it's a very satisfying ending. If you're looking for a book to take with you on spring break, I would recommend this! I believe it will be published straight into paperback. The House of Ivy and Sorrow has a little bit of everything for everybody. 

This book hits shelves April of 2014!
Buy Paperback | $9.99

Happy reading! 


  1. Woooo, a non-giveaway review! Not that I don't love your giveaways (I appreciate them!), but I didn't enter the last few, but then I didn't comment on those reviews either, because I felt like it wouldn't mean as much, because EVERYONE was commenting on them, for the giveaway. If that makes sense? I know, I'm strange.

    ANYWAY. I'm reading this one in a exactly a week (I have my review scheduled for March 17th), so I didn't read your review too closely. Fun, humorous, lighthearted, with strong themes - sounds excellent! I really liked Whipple's Transparent, so I'm excited to read her next Harper book. I'm pleased that you enjoyed this one, Rachel! Fantastic review :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Haha, no worries! I'm glad you commented on a non-giveaway. Spices things up a little, yeah?? :) Yes I'll be on the lookout for your review of this one because I'm interested on your take. It turned out way better than I expected!

  2. Awesome review! I just heard of House of Ivy and Sorrow recently, but all the reviews I've seen have been positive. This book is definitely going on my TBR list, because I love romantic, supernatural mysteries. I look forward to reading this one!


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