White Ivy

S. & S. Nov. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781982100599. $26. F
DEBUT Ivy Lin’s life begins like that of many Asian American immigrants, with parents who came to America with hopes of a better life for themselves and their child. Growing up as the token Asian in her Massachusetts community, Ivy is cast into a world of rich and entitled Americans, a twist on the situation of Kevin Kwan’s characters. Ivy is a typical teenager with a crush on the popular Gideon Speyer, but she has a secret known only to close friend Roux Roman: her maternal grandmother has taught Ivy to be a petty thief. After an act of teenage rebellion sends Ivy back to China for the summer, Ivy returns to find that her family has relocated to New Jersey, forcing her to leave her former life behind. A dozen years later, fate reunites her with Gideon and Roux, and her future could be forever changed. Throughout, the multiple plotlines address various family scenarios and how they shape all the characters.
VERDICT What begins as a story of a young woman’s struggles to assimilate quickly becomes a much darker tale of love, lies, and obsession, in which there are no boundaries to finding the fulfillment of one’s own dreams. Yang’s skill in creating surprising, even shocking plot twists will leave readers breathless.
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