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Wild Swans

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,096 ratings  ·  259 reviews
The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, ...more
Paperback, 295 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire
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Emma The main character, who is white, has a relationship with a mixed-race character

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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,096 ratings  ·  259 reviews


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Trina (Between Chapters)
I really enjoyed this and am so glad I finally read more by Jessica Spotswood. Her writing is very atmospheric and she writes wonderful bookish boy love interests.

This is more of a character driven story and the plot can seem wandering at times. The conclusion came on pretty quickly but it did wrap up the main conflict in the main character's life. I'm usually a plot driven reader, but I enjoyed these characters and don't have many complaints. The main tone of the book focuses on family and the
...more
Sarah
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley.)

“She told my sisters I’m their aunt. Her little sister.”


This was a YA story about a girl left behind after her mother ran away.

I felt quite sorry for Ivy, especially when her mother came back and wouldn’t even admit that she was her daughter! Being abandoned like that, and feeling mediocre because she didn’t have a ‘gift’ was really hard for her, and learning that her
...more
Stacee
I've loved Jessica's words from the very first page of her very first book. I was so excited to see her new story and finally get my greedy hands on it.

Ivy is a great character. She's not sure what she wants out of life, but she's excited to get out there and just live. Normally, the quiet people pleasing MC would drive me mad, but I found myself instantly intrigued and rooting for her. There is a great cast of characters, but I'll let you find them on your own. I will say that I want Claire to
...more
enqi ☁️✨ kell maresh lovesite
wild swans is a bold contemporary that tackles issues of the heart in a sensitive manner and makes for a really engaging read on a summer afternoon. it has a vaguely whimsical feel, one that leaves a strange sense of longing in your heart.

the book mostly focuses on character development instead of plot development. this means that everyone in the book is well fleshed out and has their own unique vibe, which really appealed to me as a reader.

i loved ivy. a lot. she was a brave, fiercely loyal
...more
Inge
Wild Swans was a quick and poignant story, almost Cinderella-like, and one I finished within 24 hours. It was an easy read, though not for lack of depth -- the story had a great diversity in terms of race, sexuality, and gender, and handled difficult topics really well. I especially loved Claire, a true feminist who was never too scared to let anyone know what she really thought.

Aside from that, the book never really went into the amazing section for me -- no real highs, but no real lows, either
...more
Amanda
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I absolutely adored this book! Wild Swans was an effortless read that I couldn't and didn't want to put down. The entire book happens within a 2 week period but I felt like I was reading a story that was happening over months. Great visual detail put me in the middle of the Milbourn home with Ivy, her Granddad, her sisters and mother, Erica. These characters felt so believable and true it's hard not to think of them as real people. Ivy is our main character, she's a hard working girl who believe ...more
Ari
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Original review: The Daydreaming Bookworm

*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

The Milbourn name is both a blessing and a curse, with each generation bringing about a talented and gifted woman whose life ends in tragedy. Ivy knows the pressure she is under to find her ‘special’ talent, to find what makes her a Milbourn, to leave her mark in this small town, and it doesn’t help that her Grandfather has set the bar so high. To make matters worse, Ivy’s mother, Eri
...more
TL
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to TL by: Inge
Shelves: favorites
Ivy is a good girl who is unsure of herself and what her goals are... if she's worthy and/capable of living up to the family name.

When her mother rolls into town with her two little sisters, things get turned upside down.


A quick poignant read that touched my heart and me seething, laughing, and blinking back tears in places. It never strays in the AMAZING category (for me), but I loved this little story to pieces.

Ivy and Erica both have some growing to do and in vastly different ways. For Erica
...more
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
I have literally nothing bad to say about this one. This book is marvelous and I am so glad I picked it up when I did. I am a huge fan of realistic fiction and this one really takes the cake. I liked that this one had so many layers and elements to it, more than just falling in love -- even though that happened too. I liked that the main focus of this was Ivy and her wants and needs, even if she didn't realize that at first.

Ivy was such a great character. I liked that she put pressure on herself
...more
Liviania
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jessica Spotswood leaves fantasy and historical fiction behind for contemporary, but keeps the themes of sisterhood and family legacies. WILD SWANS is unlike Spotswood's debut trilogy the Cahill Witch Chronicles in genre, but I think her fans will be satisfied if they make the trip to contemporary with her.

Ivy Milbourn comes from a long line of talented, troubled women, most of whom died tragically. She is, however, perfectly ordinary. She pushes herself hard, and her grandfather pushes her hard
...more
Kate (GirlReading)
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
3.75* For some reason I expected this to be a mystery or paranormal. My expectations were proved wrong as this ended up being a lovely contemporary. There were some really brilliant messages within the plot regarding body image, gender, sexuality, mental health etc. It was great to read a book which touched on so many of these topics but dealt with them in such a positive, forward thinking way and didn't belittle or patronise the characters dealing with these issues. Although these things were n ...more
Dahlia
If you have ever wanted to see how intensely you could hate a YA parent, make sure this book is on your radar. Lots of emotional resonance here, not just in that area but even with the parent figures you love and the lengths we go to in order to try to live up to expectations that may never have been possible to begin with.
Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookworms
This review was originally posted on (un)Conventional Bookviews
Realizing there's more to family than first imagined is something Ivy has to do in Wild Swans, which is a tender story about truly growing up.

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Ivy has lived most of her life in a small town, where both she, and everyone else knows that her mom left her when she was very young. Since she was two, she's never seen her mom, but she's had a stable and good life with her grand-dad and some good friends. Wild Swans unfolds over the span o
...more
Liz
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic read, just as I expected it to be. I loved the setting of this book, the way poetry tied into the story and the characters, and the way it dealt with mental illness. There's so much feminism in this story, in Ivy and Isobel's and Claire's characters, and in how they interacted with other people in their lives. I loved that. There are also some swoony moments. I cannot wait to buy myself a hardcover of this. If Wild Swans is not on your TBR, then you need to add it, stat!
K.
Trigger warnings: shitty parenting, alcoholism.

I had...high...expectations where this book was concerned, mostly because I LOVED The Cahill Witch Chronicles. So I was super excited to read it when I saw that we had a copy at work through Overdrive. And it's likely that my expectations were a little TOO high, buuuuuuut personally? I was pretty disappointed by this.

So the gist of the story is that Ivy comes from a long line of incredibly talented women. Poets, artists, singers. They live amazing
...more
nick
Jul 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc

3.5/5

Wild Swans was a beautiful little story about complicated families, love and growing up. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from the book, but it certainly delivered an emotional story.
Here are some of my quick thoughts about the book:

- Ivy's character growth throughout the book was a huge highlight for me. She had grown up with her grandpa after her mother took off and she grew up with a lot of pressure on her shoulders because of expectations for her to be extraordinary at something sin
...more
Aoife
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

This book was a cup of absolute refreshment. A great story about a girl dealing with the pressures to always be better than who she is, dealing with a whole load of new family drama and a few boy problems on the side.

What made this book great was just the way some things were talked about so openly from Ivy’s friend Abby’s transgender sister and the family’s fears that while they loved Eli/E
...more
Mel González
“And that better be the only wiener you put in your mouth. We do not give blow jobs so that boys will like us!" Claire roars, and Connor nearly chokes on his beer”

Book #3 for the Booktubeathon

(3.5) This felt like such a simple story, it went really quickly and not a lot really happened. What I loved were all the layers that were behind the main story. There were so many different characters with representative races, sexualities and gender identifications. This easily demonstrates that a nor
...more
Claire Legrand
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous, lyrical, haunting book about finding your place in the world amid the tangles of family legacies and expectations. Ivy is a wonderful protagonist; her quiet strength as she navigates family drama keeps everything around her from unraveling. This is the perfect summer read--dreamy, eerie, simmering.
Nina Rossing
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, young-adult
Wonderful! The characters are multi-dimensional, the plot is complex yet neatly woven, and everything comes together so naturally. I only wish it could have been longer, especially toward the end.
Kristin Hackett (SuperSpaceChick)
Originally posted on Super Space Chick:

Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood is the first book I have read by this author and upon finishing, I quickly added her Cahill sisters trilogy to my TBR. I devoured Wild Swans within a day of starting it and I wish there were more to the story because I fell in love with the characters. Wild Swans tells the story of Ivy, a young girl who isn't really sure of her place in the world or what she wants to do. Her mother left her when she was a child so she was ins
...more
Alyssa Marie
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of Wild Swans.*

Wild Swans is one of the those rare beautiful books that makes you reflect on your own life. Normally, I am not a big YA contemporary reader, but I really felt connected to this story. Ivy Milbourn's summer before her senior year of school is not going as planned. Ivy is struggling trying to find her calling in life and feeling the pressure of the legacy in her family. Milbourn women are known for being artistic and dying tragi
...more
Lelia Nebeker
I can't really express how much I loved this book because the things that were so great about it are hard to pinpoint (but basically everything). There were so many times while I was reading that I just had to stop and revel in the beauty of it, whether it was the characters, the dialogue, or Jessica Spotswood's overall skill at executing it all so flawlessly.

Elegant prose, a simmering romance (two words: tattooed. poet.), and a protagonist who is a role model for women of all ages, 'Wild Swans'
...more
Paula Stokes
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Filled with complicated relationships and streamlined but evocative prose, Wild Swans is the kind of thoughtful, summery book you'll want to savor under starry skies or read on a porch swing with a glass of lemonade nearby. This compelling story of a girl trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be vs. who everyone else expects her to be manages to feel both fresh and like a timeless classic.

Highly recommended for Sarah Dessen fans.
Jason
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Compulsively readable, it's clear that Spotswood's writing style does not rely on any one genre to be successful. Fans of her Cahill books will fall in love all over again with sassy protagonist Ivy and her swoony boyfriend Connor. This is a book where you'll want to dive deep and not come up for air until you're finished. Enjoy!
Pamela
Reading outside of your comfort zone is really a crap shoot. You might find a glorious book that makes you wonder, "Why did I think I disliked this genre? Why haven't I tried this author before?" or you might end up with more of the same old same old color-by-numbers stuff (which is only fun when it's your Guilty Pleasure Genre. Mine is mysteries). But when you do find that rare, glorious book that makes you stop and gasp, it's lovely.

Wild Swans was just such a book.

I've not read anything by Jes
...more
Wendi Lee
I was expecting more of a fairy tale retelling, but really enjoyed this novel. Generations of Milbourn women have excelled ... And then imploded. Ivy is growing up under the shadow of her grandmother and great grandmother, and feeling very inadequate. It doesn't help when her mother, who abandoned her as a toddler, wheels back into town with two other daughters.

Erica, her mother, is disparaging of Ivy and the grandfather who raised her. She doesn't want to be there, but Ivy makes a tentative at
...more
Kelly Gunderman
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Check out this and other reviews on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

Wild Swans is a beautifully written contemporary about learning how to find yourself when you’re amid chaos and things that might cause you to lose track of who you are. It’s such a nicely crafted tale, full of emotions that will leave you thinking about long after you finish reading the book.

Ivy Milbourn’s family is full of women who have had amazing talents – painting, writing, music – you name it. All of the
...more
Sarah Jude
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I really wasn't sure what to expect when I read the summary of Spotswood's WILD SWANS. Was it a mystery? A ghost story? Something else altogether? The one thing I did know was that I had to read it.

It didn't disappoint.

The Milbourn women have a complicated history of premature deaths and abandonment, but during their brief lives they manage greatness. Except for the narrator, Ivy, who feels as if she is only average and therefor
...more
Alicia
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
*crying*

Okay. This was such a cute book. The entire time I felt like I was reading a little snippet of someone's life and it actually felt real. I connected with the MC's on many different levels and the ending had me tearing up so bad it was lovely.

Ivy Milbourn is a brilliant teenager who lives with her granddad. Her mother, Erica, abandoned them both when Ivy was very young. Ivy has a very famous yet crazy family history. The Milbourn's are known for their "special talents". Ivy struggles to f
...more
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Author. Editor. Feminist. Slytherpuff.

I live in Washington, DC with my playwright husband, where I also work as a children's library associate for the DC Public Library.

If you're interested in interviews or guest posts, please contact me at jessica.shea.author@gmail.com.
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“Everybody freaks out at some point. It's how you patch yourself up that counts.” 3 likes
“And that better be the only wiener you put in your mouth. We do not give blow jobs so that boys will like us!" Claire roars, and Connor nearly chokes on his beer” 2 likes
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