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House of Ivy & Sorrow

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,218 ratings  ·  366 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by HarperTeen
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,218 ratings  ·  366 reviews

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Emily May
Mar 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
"My little crush was a full-blown he-is-the-most-awesome-guy-ever-born obsession."

Oh, for fuck sake. What was this mess? With a gorgeous cover and an intriguingly gothic title, I was expecting great things from House of Ivy and Sorrow. I wanted evil witches, black magic and something dark and gritty. This book could have captivated me easily... if it was a bit nastier, a lot more mature, and a whole lot less stupid. Because I love stories about witches, especially ones where the good battle it o
Jul 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ebook, arc
You know those dogs that are so ugly they're cute? This book is kind of like that. It was so ridiculous, that it became entertaining in its absurdity. I went into this expecting a more Gothic kind of witch read, and what I got was more Sabrina the Teenage Witch kind of fantastical (except Sabrina did it well!). I mean, if you go into this with the right mindset maybe you'd like it better?

The witch lore starts out intriguing with some interesting aspects. I liked how there's no good vs evil or w
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

My frustration with this book is too much to handle so I'm going to try and get straight to the point here.

House of Ivy and Sorrow's first fault is in the writing. Being someone who hasn't read Natalie Whipple before, I had no idea to expect, but I certainly had no idea how juvenile her tone is. As I fourteen year old, I feel pretty insulted that this is labelled Young Adult. THIS IS NOT YA. THIS IS MG. This being YA means this should also be suited for eight
Trina (Between Chapters)
Good witchy book with a very atmospheric house and nice focus on sisterhood, friendship, and found families. The climax felt really big for a standalone, which I mean as a good thing. It felt like a whole series was packed into one book, and that is hard to find!

Audiobook: 4 stars. Brittany Pressley read it and she is one of my favorite narrators.
Rashika (is tired)
*** This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

(after talking it through with Giselle I decided to lower my rating.)

Actual Rating 1.5

Before I say anything else, I should start off by mentioning that the shelving of this book is a lie. If you’re looking for a gothic book to read, turn around and leave. This is not gothic. This is chick lit mixed with some paranormal.

I went into this book with high expectations. Yes there were tons of mixed reviews but the cover, the synopsis, and the O
I wanted to like this book as much as I like its cover. Sadly, I didn't.

The good

I'll give it this: I really appreciate its take on witches.

I can't suffer this kind of Barbie-witches:

but I rather like the idea of witches like these:

Here I found something akin to the second kind, and that I've appreciated very much.

I've appreciated also the offhand way in which the author refers to a lesbian couple, especially in a YA book. As if that's something unarguably normal. It isn't, yet. But it sh
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
HOUSE OF IVY AND SORROW reminds me of TRANSPARENT in terms of what I liked and disliked. This is no surprise because they were written by the same author. However, this book is a notch below TRANSPARENT, and I have rated it so.

If you are looking for a novel about witches and magic with a dark undertone, this isn’t it. If you are looking for your average contemporary novel with spells and a random curse thrown in, this is it. There is more focus on the romance and pudding than anything else. Yes,
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-galley
The House of Ivy and Sorrow has the same issues I had with the author’s Transparent.

The strength of this lies in the descriptions of what it takes to be what they are. Whipple’s take on witchy lore is not just ‘different name but same ole’ thing; there’s a whole new world here. It’s not good witch versus bad witch or light and dark. It’s all dark... but in degrees. She’s taken some commonly known things and tossed them out with the whole place of power, Consuming and Controlling.

If only the nar
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
2.5 stars
The House of Ivy and Sorrow is my second book by Natalie Whipple and like her debut Transparent, I found it entertaining, but far from impressive. It is a cute, but entirely forgettable story about a young witch and her small community.

By now, you’ve probably realized that this cover and title are awfully misleading. The House of Ivy and Sorrow is a far cry from the dark, gothic novel I’d been hoping to read. Deceptive advertizing doesn’t work in this book’s favor, and I can’t for the
The story was really exciting, trying to find out who was trying to kill her entire family? That mystery just unraveled so quickly, so I was never ever bored. The beginning was good until it started going downhill. I just couldn't fathom some of her rash decisions. That's on me, not the character since she is a teen and is allowed to make all the mistakes but I just couldn't not unsee all the chaos that was shot at her at every turn. I liked the witchy world that was built and I was never bored ...more
Ben Alderson
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved this story!
So interesting, suspenseful and dark.


Not at all what I expected for a book about a witch. Shame. It has a beautiful cover. Wish the insides matched.
Actual rating was 4.5 stars


I absolutely LOVED House of Ivy & Sorrow. LOVED. IT!. It's easily earned the "pre-order" worthy stamp of approval from me. It had strong characters a unique premise and a pretty good plot. And to top it off, I think it's a stand alone!!!!! ARGH YES!

Full review to come closer to release. But seriously.... PRE-ORDER IT!
Annette (booknerderie)
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ever since I was a wee lass, I have loved movies about witches. It started when my older sister let 6-year-old me watch The Witches of Eastwick ...I was way to young to watch this film but I was intrigued. Then came Teen Witch , followed by Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic . Oh! and let's not forget about The Witches {which is based on the book by the same name by Roald Dahl}. My love for being entertained by witches runs deep...so it's no wonder that I loved this book.

I read th
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
17-year-old Jo lives in a house surrounded by ivy and sorrow, with her grandmother who is a powerful witch. Jo’s mother died 10 years previously due to a curse that was put on her family, and Jo’s Nana is determined that Jo will not die from the same curse.
Who cursed Jo’s mother? Will Jo’s fate be the same? And who is the strange man who seems to be following Jo around?

Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Magical, Heartwarming, Exciting, Mysterious, Humorous, and so much more. I couldn't stop reading it!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, this book SOOO MUCH and I know you will too! It does seem like forever until it comes out. So, go ahead and put it on your TBR List because, in my opinion, it will be worth the wait!
Jess the Audiobookworm
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
4★ Audiobook⎮House of Ivy & Sorrow and I started out on the wrong foot, but eventually became good friends. The rocky start was mainly due to the fact that I was expecting something very different from this story, something deeper and darker. In reality, House of Ivy & Sorrow was much more flowery than it’s synopsis and [beautiful] cover initially lead me to believe.

I was in the mood for something witchy and didn’t yet feel like sitting through 30 hours of Discovery of Witches, so I started Hous
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-releases
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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
Josephine and her Nana are witches and the last of the Hemlock bloodline. Witchcraft can only be passed down from female to female in every witching family. And while the Hemlocks have lived in Willow’s End all of there lives, it’s their land that makes them more of a target for the Curse for its potent magical value.
The Curse has been killing witches for generations and what killed Jo’s mother when she was a little girl, but no one knows who’s behind these attacks and the reason why Jo and her
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
I don’t know about you kids, but I can’t be trusted in a bookstore. I mean, I love bookstores. I adore them. They’re full of books, and books = my jam. BUT. A bookstore is full of books for SALE, and that can pose a problem for my wallet. I went into a bookstore this past spring with my friend Lauren, and I made some stupid proclamation along the lines of, “I’m not going to buy anything unless they have the exact title I want!” Ha. Hahahahahahahahaha. I walked out with the prettiest book I saw i ...more
a copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

I was extremely excited when I got the eARC of this book. The cover was gorgeous, the premise was intriguing, and I love books about witches! Then I started to see all the negative reviews, and, it was hard not to let it affect my excitement. So By the time I started reading it I was totally apprehensive and was expecting more of a watered down witch book (since a few reviews said
☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer)
Caffeinated Aspects:
• From the first paragraph, I was drawn into the story, and it rippled with possibilities. The premise is quite good from the Shadow elements to the witches. I loved the enchanted house and land. I was intrigued by the curse and the Hemlock history.
• Josephine Hemlock is a likable character. She was clever and smart with her craft. Her Nana was fierce and at times humorous with her love of pudding.
• The history of the witches was interesting, and I liked Whipple’s take on the
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Josephine Hemlock is a witch who, along with her grandmother, has been hiding from the thing that killed her mother ten years ago. Just as things seem to be going perfectly for Jo, the magic barriers are strong, her grandmother agrees to stop interfering between her and her crush, said crush asks her out, a man shows up at her home looking for her mother. The Curse she's been hiding from is getting closer and Jo's not sure if she can protect everyone she loves.

This book caught my attention right
This was a fun witch story to read in October! It was filled with many of the typical witch/Halloween items and totally set the mood for my October.

I really liked this story!

I loved the characters and their thoughts/feelings/actions/reactions. It felt so right-on for a teenager. Not too juvenile, not too grown up. I loved the way the characters developed and/or were revealed throughout the story. Some things I totally expected or guessed, but it wasn't a problem. It was more of a "if this was a
Angel Lederhause
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: default, owned-books
A story about witches. different then the normal witch. really enjoyed this young adult story.
Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on Between My Lines

The book was a very slow starter for me!  Then it got better.  But then sadly, it faded fast again.  I didn't hate it and felt it had a lot of potential but needed to dig so much deeper than it did.

First Line of House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple:
"They say a witch lives in the old house under the interstate bridge."

My thoughts on House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple:
I'll admit before I started this book, I
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Josephine Hemlock is a witch living in the modern world and with that comes responsibilities. She's not aloud to tell her two best friends anything about her magic, she's not allowed or shouldn't marry a man when she gets older, and biggest of all, she can't let the magic consume her. In Natalie Whipple's HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW, no magic is good magic and every spell comes with a price. After her mother was tragically killed by the Curse, Jo and her grandmother have been extra cautious about who ...more
Apr 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, young-adult
I really enjoyed Natalie's Transparent last year, so when I saw her release was about witchcraft and curses I had to pick it up! I'm glad I did because I thought this was a fun read.

Pacing: I thought this was pretty well-paced. I was engaged and curious about the witchcraft, lore, and history that Whipple has created. I do feel the climax was a bit... anticlimactic and wish we had gotten a little bit more.

Storyline: I enjoyed the premise of this one. It was pretty linear and even though it didn'
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Actual Rating 2.5

This and other reviews are on my blog My Friends Are Fiction

An electronic copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:
Sadly, House of Ivy & Sorrow didn’t blow me away. I enjoyed the beginning and had high hopes for this book based on those initial feelings. The writing started off strong, with beautiful descriptions and an intriguing concept. I loved Whipple’s take on witch’s magic being dark. So to cast spells and call upon their power there had to be payme
Sep 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Why is YA literature always dumbed down. I don't get it, and it makes me angry.

I could potentially get past the casual torture (what the actual fuck is up with these people and plucking eyelashes/ripping hair, teeth, and nails and other assorted fuckery? There's nothing gothic in the way these scenes are written, they're just crude and distasteful) and animal abuse (so much fun! so gothic!) if the book were at least entertaining and, most of all, made sense.

I feel like it was written by two dif
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Natalie Whipple, sadly, does not have any cool mutations like her characters. Unless you count the ability to watch anime and Korean dramas for hours on end. Or her uncanny knack for sushi consumption.

She grew up in the Bay Area and relocated to Utah for high school, which was quite the culture shock for her anime-loving teen self. But the Rocky Mountains eventually won her over, and she stuck ar

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