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White Ivy

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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  17,665 ratings  ·  2,759 reviews
Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, she is taught how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops by her immigrant grandmother. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political fam ...more
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published November 3rd 2020 by Simon & Schuster
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Anne Cotton I don't think this is a mature story. I would hate to think that anyone hopes to grow up this way, Read Ann Patchett's books particularly The Dutch Ho…moreI don't think this is a mature story. I would hate to think that anyone hopes to grow up this way, Read Ann Patchett's books particularly The Dutch House. James McBride is a writer I have just discovered for myself and I have read all of his books now. His mother was caucasian and his father african american. I am the former and have never had a friend who was the latter so reading good writers like him has been terrific. Jane Smiley and Alice Hoffman are good and prolific writers. Where the Crawdads Sing and The Jane Austen Society are both really good as well. The minute I finished Jane Austen I had to read Pride and Prejudice and I doubt I laughed so hard when I first read it at age 12 (I am 75 now) Good luck. Happy reading!(less)
Ana Deaton Yes but if you had more insight into what Gideon was thinking it would have ruined the surprise ending of the book. As far as Rou, he was a mystery bu…moreYes but if you had more insight into what Gideon was thinking it would have ruined the surprise ending of the book. As far as Rou, he was a mystery but that is what made him fascinating as well. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  17,665 ratings  ·  2,759 reviews


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Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
Happy Publication Day!!!!!!!!!!! This book is out now!!

Wow!!! There is nothing better than going into a debut and having it blow you away. ❤️ This seems to be the year of fantastic debuts and you just need to add this one to the list. This book is a slow burn that is so eloquently done that I could not look away. I could not put this down, it had an almost magnetizing element to it. Susie Yang has arrived my friends!

Ivy Lin is a girl that pulled me in a million directions. On one hand I wanted t
...more
jessica
Jun 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
this is not the story i thought it would be. the synopsis made me think this was more along the lines of mystery/thriller, with ivy being cunning and manipulative, always watching for her past to catch up to her. but that couldnt be further from the truth.

this is a story about a girls desperation to change her life, to chase what she thinks is success, and how she can finally feel content. its quite depressing at times, seeing this young women put herself in situations that make her think shes
...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is promising coming of age, thought provoking immigrant story slowly grows on you but you got to be patient enough for getting into Ivy’s world, her family dynamics, reasons behind the shame and motivations triggered her wrongdoings, her dreams to jump to her upper social class and her desire to have a wealthy life which makes her a liar and a thief.

I have to admit at first: I had hard time to get into the story and live inside Ivy’s mind to connect with her life but after a few attempts l
...more
jenny✨
Just what was this cloak called privilege and how did it protect you? Was it visible to the wearer or just to onlookers on the outside?

UPDATE 8/9/2020: I had some strong thoughts while reading White Ivy that I planned to include but ultimately cut from my final review. Since I finished the book, though, I've been turning it over in my head... and I think I'm going to include those initial thoughts.

FIRST: I was very wary starting this book because of the Ivy/Gideon (Asian woman/white man
...more
Blaine
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
”You used to ask how your father and I got married. That’s how. It was because I willed it. If I had been a stupider girl, your father never would have looked at me. But I saw my chance and made a story for myself—even if it was a false story. You have to give a man something to fight for. That’s the secret to a lasting marriage.”

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for sending me an ARC of White Ivy in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, the story did not work for me at all. It is
...more
Michael David
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY!

I’m not even sure how to write this review, but I really loved this book way more than I expected to.

It’s the story of Ivy, a Chinese American who grew up learning to steal (taught by her grandmother), and always dreaming of having the finer things in life. She becomes infatuated with Gideon, an American classmate whose family is rich. Soon after, her parents ship her off to see relatives overseas. When she returns five weeks later, she learns her family has moved to a new
...more
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
I really wanted to love this one because it sounded like it had elements to make it one of those better reads with an unlikeable unquie diverse character with an unexpected plot. It delivered on some of that and had exciting and thrilling twists and turns to the story that surprised me, but I think it all came down to that overthinker in me that was not satisfied. I do think it will be one many readers will enjoy.

The story's concept sounded like an exciting and thrilling unquie one with that op
...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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This was a wild rollercoaster of a book. Beautifully written, with rapturous highs and wilting lows, I found myself gulping down the sparkling prose like poisoned champagne and when it was all over, I listened to brooding indie rock for an hour because I was WRECKED and wanted to stew in my sad feelings like a piece of emo!lamb.



WHITE IVY is the saga of a Chinese-American girl named Ivy Lin. You can say a lot of things about Ivy-- that sh
...more
Bkwmlee
This is one of those books that I feel does not fit nicely into any specific genre. Majority of readers seem to put this under the thriller / suspense category, but to be honest, despite the story having a few surprises (I would hardly call them “twists and turns”), there really wasn’t a whole lot of “suspense” in most of the narrative, at least from what I could see. If I had to categorize this, I would say that it goes best under contemporary fiction, since at its core, the story does explore ...more
Barbara
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
“White Ivy” kept me reading when I should have been doing something else: sleeping, organizing, chores. From the start, I enjoyed author Susie Yang’s literary style. Her prose is easily read. Her observations are beautiful. For example:

~All women, Ivy was beginning to understand, had a theme. The story they constantly told themselves. The innermost wound.

~Ivy’s anger turned to forlorn disgust. She would never be able to make this plain, undeviating man understand that the most fragile inner part
...more
Claire Reads Books
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Holy hell! This book knocked me out. A kind of modern Great Gatsby meets Parasite, White Ivy offers a look at the perversity of the American Dream and the unrelenting costs of upward mobility and social striving. I can’t remember the last time I read a debut where I felt like I was in such sure hands—the prose is deliciously sharp, the plot as tight as a drum, and the pacing (emotional and otherwise) is tuned to such perfection that the “oh shit” moments hit you right where it hurts. I ripped th ...more
Michelle
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
"All her life, she had sought something she couldn't name. Love? Wealth? Beauty? But none of those things were exactly right. What she sought was peace. The peace of having something no one could take away from you."

This is a slow burn, suspenseful, character study yet coming of age novel all rolled into one. Ivy Lin is a Chinese American that wants nothing more than the American dream but she doesn't really want to work in order to earn it. She would like it handed to her lovingly.

Back in
...more
Christina
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, which is about a girl who immigrates to America from China and falls deeply in love...with consumerism. And also two very different men.

This book is so beautifully and lyrically written. It has echoes of The Great Gatsby and The Secret History. I was completely consumed by this book, so that I was unaware of anything else happening around me. That’s how obsessed I was with Ivy.

No spoilers but there is a moment in this book that is so genuinely shocking, I gasped aloud. I am no
...more
Elyse  Walters
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Audiobook....read by Emily Woo Zeller

The development of a first rate thief and a lier....[Kudos Grandma],
Ivy Lin-Chinese American- is an author’s creation, that epitomizes the phrase “flawed character”.
I’m being generous — Ivy is also insecure, but bold, manipulative, secretive, greedy, confused, and well, (let’s just say it like it is > an unlikable - but compelling protagonist).
Not to worry, Ivy’s mother, ‘Nan’, is even less likable. I didn’t root for ‘mom’.
But back to Ivy...star of the show
...more
Catherine Woodward
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 4-stars
*Many thanks to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, and Susie Yang for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 11.3!*

Dark, lyrical, and utterly compelling!

Ivy Ling is a thief: and incredibly proud of it! She learned her craft under the tutelage of her grandmother, who expertly lifts items from garage sales and resells them to make a tidy profit. While Ivy is her own headstrong and intelligent young woman, the danger of her job is alluring in that she is finally able to own the finery that will help h
...more
Dana
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
An outstanding debut! So beautifully written. Captivating.

I was so obsessed with Ivy! It's now been two weeks since I finished White Ivy and I'm still thinking about this book. I have a feeling I likely will for awhile ... definitely a favorite this year!!

I legitimately gasped out loud at one point in the book because I was so beyond shocked by what happened. At that moment I needed to talk to someone!! Immediately! (Thank goodness for the #WhiteIvyReadathon - seriously!!)

And that ending ... w
...more
Ceecee
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
3-4 stars rounded up.

This is the story of Ivy Lin whose family emigrate from China to the USA when Ivy was a child. This is a coming of age story, of a journey to self realisation and trying to find a means to balance her Chinese heritage with the American Dream especially after meeting the ‘golden’ Speyer family.

The turmoil and struggle that Ivy faces to fit in both in childhood and adulthood is very well portrayed. She’s an outsider, she’s lonely and I’m torn between feeling sorry for her but
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Dear Ivy . . . . 



This was the last book I read in 2020 . . . . 



And holy shit talk about a humdinger.  It's better to go in here as blind as possible to avoid spoiling yourself on anything that happens.  All you need to know is that this is the story of Ivy Linn's life that spans from her birth in China to her being left behind by her parents while they moved to America to them sending for her at the age of five and everything else that happens after that until she's in her late 20s.  And
...more
Luce
/ / / Read more reviews on my blog / / /

4 ½ stars

Ivy Lin gives characters like Madame Bovary, Becky Sharp, and Lily Bart a run for their money. She's terrible (and I loved her).

“She never got too greedy. She never got sloppy. And most important, she never got caught.”


White Ivy is an addictive and razor-sharp debut novel. Susie Yang has spun a deliciously dark and deeply beguiling story, one that presents its readers with a piercing examination of class, gender, and culture. Part coming-of-age
...more
Faith
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
I loathed Ivy and wasn’t willing to spend any more time in her head. I didn’t make it very far in this book. Instead of showing events and letting the reader grow to understand how the past influenced Ivy’s character, the author rationalized every aspect of Ivy’s appalling character in big bold letters. This definitely wasn’t the right book for me. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Vonda
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Deep character study on how certain personalities can turn out in life. Ivy isn't likeable or respectable as the female protagonist. She lives life by the seat of it's pants and does what she wants when she wants. If you want a contemporary novel that brings the drama with a bit of Chinese culture here it is. ...more
Chelsey (a_novel_idea11)
Ivy Lin immigrated to the United States from China as a young girl. In the U.S., Ivy didn’t feel like she fit in. From a poor family but attending a wealthy school because her father worked there, Ivy struggled academically and socially. She learned to take what she wanted - from stores, from others, and from life. She also learned how to be what others wanted her to be - a demure, intelligent, attractive, Chinese girl.

All grown up, Ivy lives in Boston with her roommate and is working as a scho
...more
Kimberly (Deity of Books)
I was not expecting to like this book this much.

Ivy is a liar and a thief. She is a Chinese Immigrant who wants to be successful, live up to her parents' wishes, and move up on the social ladder. She grew up in a not-so-nice neighborhood in Massachusetts and is ashamed of her background. She aspires to be like her White classmates because she thinks of them as symbols of wealth and success. She develops an obsession with a boy named Gideon. He is the golden boy and comes from a wealthy family. T
...more
DeAnn
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 amazing debut stars

This was a fascinating character study, a slow burn coming of age story, and finally finding peace. Of course, the main character is Ivy and we see her as a five year old, leaving China and her grandma behind to come to the US to live with her parents – strangers at this point to her. It broke my heart a bit that Ivy’s parents were not very affectionate with her. Ivy falls into a life of shoplifting and lying and always seems to be reaching for more, never really satisfied w
...more
Jessica Woodbury
This novel takes the familiar story of the Striving Social Climber and adds to the familiar theme of class, the immigrant narrative and internalized racism. It is not just that Ivy sees the wealth of her classmates and sees privilege and power, she also sees their comfort and ease in the world, which comes not just from their money but their whiteness.

I admit that as I read I kept waiting for Yang to build on these new themes, to intensify and explore them. It was an unfair expectation. Ivy's re
...more
Gabrielle Grosbety
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
“And so Ivy grew like a wayward branch. Planted to the same root as her family but reaching for something beyond their grasp.”

This book reminds me in some ways of a movie with Michelle Williams called “Take this Waltz.” Michelle Williams’ character Margot is at her more truthful heart unsatisfied no matter what and always seeks out something more novel or exciting than the mundane existence she feels chained to. In doing so, she finds herself becoming more and more reckless to fill an inner vo
...more
Kelsea
Chinese American #ownvoices literary thriller.
Synopsis that starts with Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar.
Posh high society, immigrant experience, AND an ambitious AF MC.

Yes, yes, YES I am self-centered enough to think this book MUST have been written for me! Now excuse me while I spend today screaming and squealing because I'VE BEEN APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UPDATE: OKAY I'VE READ IT. And OMGGGGGGG I am so so so thrilled that this actually lived up to my extremely (and unreasonably) high hopes! This
...more
Kelli
Feb 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
I feel sorry for this book because I read it after The Push, a book that captivated me from start to finish. White Ivy was one I have tried to read a few times, but never felt compelled to pick up again and eventually returned to the library unread. My last ditch effort was the audio, which at times was very compelling, but more often than not it was slow and more of the same. For me, the pacing was off and it could have delivered more with less. 3.5 stars ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
My last lingering eARC from 2020 and I saved a great read for last. Ivy struggles to fit in, and this may be her status as the child of immigrants partially raised by her grandmother in China when she was very young, who taught her how to steal. But I also think her classmates are reacting to something else - she's a bit of a sociopath, really.. I kept being reminded of Tom Ripley...

The reader follows Ivy from her childhood to a culminating party where she is mortified in front of her crush, the
...more
Jordan (Jordy’s Book Club)
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I started #WhiteIvy yesterday morning and found myself captivated from cover to cover, totally invested in the story of Ivy; from her complicated upbringing by her Chinese immigrant family, to her transformation into an insecure but manipulative young woman who will do whatever it takes to win the love of a handsome wealthy man she’s been pursuing since grade school. I loved the cultural specificity in this story, and thought the deep-dive into Ivy’s family and heritage really elevated her chara ...more
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Susie Yang was born in China and came to the United States as a child. After receiving her doctorate of pharmacy from Rutgers, she launched a tech startup in San Francisco that has taught 20,000 people how to code. She has studied creative writing at Tin House and Sackett Street. She has lived across the United States, Europe, and Asia, and now resides in the Cambridge, England in the UK.
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