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No Ivy League

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  937 ratings  ·  245 reviews
When 17-year-old Hazel Newlevant takes a summer job clearing ivy from the forest in her home town of Portland, Oregon, her only expectation is to earn a little money. Homeschooled, affluent, and sheltered, Hazel soon finds her job working side by side with at-risk teens to be an initiation into a new world that she has no skill in navigating. This uncomfortable and compell ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published August 20th 2019 by Oni Press
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Average rating 3.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  937 ratings  ·  245 reviews

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Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
I feel like this graphic novel bit off more than it could chew, tbh. It tried so hard to do so many things and I feel like every aspect was lacking because of it. I am SO BUMMED that I didn't love this. ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Earnest, but needs so much more reflection, because ultimately this homeschooler-meets-the-real-world narrative touches upon many issues (white privilege, racism, dating a younger and a much older man, etc.) but understands absolutely none of them.
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I sadly didn't like anything about this beyond the art, which wasn't cute enough to save it from a 1-star rating. Right off the bat, the representation of the side characters feels... really uncomfortable and poorly done to me? I mean, we have a book where a character is learning to observe her white privilege, but many of the side characters — especially the Black characters — feel like over-the-top caricatures of outdated stereotypes. Don't even get me started on the age gap flirting... I skim ...more
Dave Schaafsma
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: gn-memoir, gn-women, gn-ya
Hazel’s story of her working as a teen in a summer program clearing ivy from public parks. She's self-described as affluent, though I don't see much evidence of her being more than middle-class, but the central point is that she's home-schooled, she wins an animation contest, she comes from a loving, supportive home, but she is home-schooled and has become quite sheltered from any but white, similarly free and creative kids in Portland, Oregon.

So this is a quiet little story about facing her ow
Althea | themoonwholistens ☾
FORMAT READ: eBook (Adobe Digital Editions)
READ FOR: coming-of-age- themes
TW: Cursing, Under-Age Relationships

*All of my reviews are as spoiler-free as possible unless states otherwise*
*Thank you to Lion Forge for the ARC to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


This was.. interesting… (in a good way)

This is a story I probably would not have picked up nor would I have enjoyed if it wasn’t a graphic novel. The illustrations gave the stor
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Insulated in her homeschool group, Hazel has no idea how privileged she is as the daughter of vegan, middle-class hippies in Portland, Oregon. Many of her preconceptions and ignorance are challenged, however, when she accepts a job at No Ivy League, a youth program designed to get city kids working in nature pulling ivy.

I enjoyed this, but felt like it would have been better if it was a little longer and explore the major theme of white privilege a bit more instead of dancing across the surface.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hazel grew up white, middle-class, vegan, and home-schooled in Portland, OR. Lacking a social circle outside other home-schooled teens, Hazel had no idea how sheltered she was until she started a summer job pulling invasive English ivy out of parks in youth nature summer program. For the first time, Hazel worked along side teens from different schools, races, backgrounds and with different goals. It's a rude awakening, but ultimately an enlightening one. Newlevant (the author now uses they/them ...more
This was such a fast and fun and even cute read at the time! It's not my favorite graphic novel but it's still good!(: ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
The ARC of this graphic novel was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I think this book only touches the surface of a major problem which is white privilege. Hazel doesn’t realize how sheltered her life has been until she has the chance to work alongside a group of very diverse people. This story deals with her coming to realize some truths not only about the outside world and what she has never encountered because of her homeschooling but also about her fa
Jun 26, 2020 rated it liked it
This graphic novel is about Hazel who takes on a summer job. In this summer job she meets all types of kids from different backgrounds. Hazel has been homeschooled all her life because her mother dealt with public school issues she didnt want her daughter to go through. This graphic novel deals with family, relationships, bullying, and working issues.

I felt like there was so much missing from this graphic novel. I feel like there wasnt a finish thought with any of the issues and so I was confus
Rod Brown
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
A large part of this graphic memoir is about homeschooling, and I must be up front and admit that I have a knee-jerk negative reaction whenever I'm confronted with that subject. I hear homeschooling, and my first thought is of parents who are religious fundamentalists like in the recent book Educated or weirdos like in Glass Castle. This book adds a couple new wrinkles that do not help improve my opinion.

Frankly, the first half of the book is pretty dull as Newlevant slowly establishes her homog
Danika at The Lesbrary
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-lesbian
I liked this, but after absolutely adoring Sugar Town, I was expecting a little bit more. I feel like the awaking-to-white-privilege story line feels like it just got started--I'd like to see where that newfound knowledge went, and how it got incorporated into her life. ...more
I picked this graphic novel up in the hopes of having a nice, light read, but it turned out to be . . . not what I was expecting. I found so many things to be left alone with no closure at the end, and a number of things were just generally very questionable.

[I do want to mention: my dumb ass may have not realized this was autobiographical. The fact dawned upon me halfway into the book, so just a side note to anybody who maybe is thinking the same.]

So. The protagonist Hazel, who, if my memory se
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely one of my favorite books I've read this year and probably will always be one of my favorites. My teenage self had much in common with teenage Hazel so that relation made my reading of the story very enjoyable. Also, my first interactions with other teens from different high schools at my first summer job as a rec counselor totally felt similar to Hazel's peer interactions.

My biggest takeaway from this book or why I LOVED it so much was the kindness and overall character of Haz
Queen Cronut
When I first looked at this book, I'd assumed it was about Ivy League schools but as it turned out, was the memoir of Hazel Newlevant, told through a graphic novel depicting the summer she joined No Ivy League, a program for at-risk teens to clear invasive species in state parks.

Hazel Newlevant, a vegan, home-schooled, and extremely sheltered girl finds a summer job working alongside other teens from different backgrounds leading to realize just how naive and ignorant she's been. A coming of the
M Aghazarian
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I like autobio comics and I like Hazel's art a lot. I felt this captured certain things about being a teenager that I've mostly forgotten ...more
Stewart Tame
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hmmm … this one's difficult to summarize without spoiling anything. A young homeschooled girl from Portland, OR takes a summer job clearing ivy from a local forest to earn some extra cash. She winds up learning some lessons about class and privilege as well.

This is a lovely little autobiographical tale. Newlevant has changed names for the sake of privacy, but otherwise presents everything to the best of her recollection. The artwork is lovely, with some nice use of watercolor washes, and the st
I read an eARC of this novel through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

This graphic novel starts off with an author letter, where she talks about what inspired the novel. One of the main themes is learning who you are as a person, in relation to the world around you. As always, the question here is if it's even possible to fully know yourself:

"It's incredible, believing over and over again that you've figured things out - only to stumble on new ways your place in society shields you fr
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I felt like this was trying to do so many things that it fell short of the mark on most things. I had high hopes, but I've read coming-of-age graphic novels that were much more effective. It would have been best to pick one narrative thread and stick to it rather than throwing in a lot of B-plots.

Also at first glance I thought this book was about something entirely different. Which is fine but I felt like the title was misleading.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was fortunate enough to get to hear Newlevant speak as a plenary speaker at a conference I attended last year and got a pre-print of the first chapter, so I definitely knew I wanted to read this when it was completed.

This is a very focused autobiographical story about a summer Newlevant worked digging up ivy and was forced to recognize how much privilege they had in their life up to that point. It makes for a quick read but there’s no way it needed to be any longer.

Story-wise, I would recomme
This is the story of Hazel, a home schooled teen who has never had to mingle with people who might be from a different economical background, with different life experiences. The author writes this memoire from a distance of bout 10 years.

There are other things going on, beside the homeschooling, as Hazel is also dating someone much younger than her. This is brought up by some of the boys, she is working with, and she is teased about it in a gross way, so she reports him. He gets fired.

Kristin Boldon
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Good art and good intentions can't push my recommendation higher than 3 stars, which is rounded up from 2.5. Also, the title would be more accurate as The No-Ivy League, since teen protagonist Hazel joins a summer parks program in Portland to mitigate literal ivy infestations. There is some good stuff here: how home-schooled Hazel realizes her position of privilege compared to the at-risk kids at her job, learning that her mother chose to homeschool rather than send her to a desegregated school, ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
a very nice autobiographical graphic novel, in wich the author/MC confronts the reality of the world that homeschooling didn't let her see. it's not mindblowing nor game changing, but seeing how her perception of the world changes because (or thanks to) a summer job in a national park was interesting. i liked the art, the author definitly has her own style and worked hard on it, defining it. The MC is very mature, however very naive since she's lived a very privileged life. When all she kno
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I'd give it a 3.5 actually. I liked the idea behind it a lot -- of exploring white privilege through the eyes of a coming of age memoir. My slight issue with it was that it felt unbalanced in a white-privilege-y way. I loved the dynamics between daughter and parents and their reasons for homeschooling her and how that affected her decisions. I'd be interested to talk about it with somebody. ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was hoping to love this.. but it turns out i almost dnf it...
There is a LOT I can relate to here.

Portland is one of the places in the world where I feel at home. I grew up in a smaller town roughly halfway between Seattle and Portland, and since my parents had history there, we spent more time in PDX. Then, my grad school program was based in Portland, so I spent many weekends there in my twenties. I can feel myself relax when I'm in Portland.
Like Newlevant, I am white. I have massive amounts of privilege because of the color of my skin.
I was also homesc
Kate Atherton
I found this book truly unique and insightful. True credit is due to the author for writing about a true summer in their life that may not paint them in the best light. This book follows Hazel (the author) a home schooled student currently a junior (but attending community college) as she works at a summer job getting rid of invasive ivy for the Parks Department with a team of other kids her age, more diverse than any friends she has had in homeschooling and SOME at risk youth. The book chronicl ...more
Jul 14, 2020 rated it liked it
No Ivy League was just ok. The storyline could have been stronger. Perhaps more commentary or reflection from the author would have helped flesh it out a little. She learned a lot about race and the world during her summer of pulling invasive ivy for the parks department. However, I loved the artwork and learning that it was made with watercolors and ink was cool (to a non-artist like me, anyway.)
Dana Berglund
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This book tries very earnestly to tell the story of Hazel's big turning point summer: the summer where she sees herself outside the sheltered, privileged, and overwhelmingly white homeschool world of Portland, Oregon. There's a lot going on here, a lot that Hazel hears and starts to think about, and only a short number of frames in which to tell it all. I think they both - Hazel the author/illustrator and Hazel the character- get points for trying to process through their awakening, even if they ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
This author and artist has a lot of potential, and this graphic memoir is an intriguing story, but almost like the first few chapters of a work instead of the whole thing. I loved the art style (can’t wait to see in color), and they did a great job of capturing Hazel’s conflicted feelings in each drawing. I agree with some other reviews I’ve seen that it seemed both unfocused and too tidy. But as someone who also grew up in a suburban Portland home and was mostly surrounded by other white, middl ...more
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Hazel Newlevant is a Portland-raised, Queens-residing cartoonist. Their comics include Tender-Hearted, Sugar Town, No Ivy League, and If This Be Sin. They are the editor and publisher of the anthologies Chainmail Bikini and Comics For Choice. Their work has been honored with the Ignatz Award, Xeric Grant and the Prism Comics Queer Press Grant.

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