02 May 2016

ARC Review: Wild Swans, Jessica Spotswood

Wild Swans

Title: Wild Swans
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Published: 03/05/2016, Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Netgalley
Format: Ebook

Rating: 3/5

"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, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past…."

Wild Swans is a moving story following Ivy, a teenager abandoned as a child by her mum and raised by her grandfather, as she meets her mum and sisters for the first time and tries to figure out what she wants to do with her life. Although sad in parts, Wild Swans is a fun, quick read and can easily be read in a day (or two).

Wild Swans is set in a small town where gossip travels fast and everyone knows everything about everyone. This is a brilliant setting as it supports Ivy's feeling that she has to live up to so many expectations giving her family's history. It's tough for her, especially as she believes she isn't good at anything when her grandmother and great-grandmother were so gifted. It's very relatable as everyone feels pressure like this at some point in their lives. And all this doesn't even include the fact that Ivy's mum ran out on her. How this must make her feel is beyond me.

I did find Ivy to be quite a strong character at times and she certainly tries her hardest to be the best she can be. She's extremely mature for her age which is refreshing in YA literature at the moment and I think this is largely to do with the way her grandfather has raised her. However, I did think she was a bit of a pushover at times, especially when it comes to standing up to her grandfather. But, with the help of her friends, sisters, and Connor, she slowly begins to find her way. I also loved that although she was excited about having a new boyfriend, Connor, she puts her relationship slightly on the backseat to focus on sorting out her life and family. She manages to balance this very well.

Wild Swans is told from Ivy's point-of-view. This is perfect in showing her heartache as well as her desire to make her grandfather proud. I didn't really find the story too predictable, especially as it would have been so easy for it to go down the love triangle route and it didn't. However, I didn't find the ending as climatic as I'd hoped it would be. I wanted a massive emotional screaming match, but it was nice and heartrending all the same. There were a couple of loose ends, but I feel that the major storylines were tied up as well as they could have been.

Wild Swans is a nice read that shows exactly how too much pressure can affect people. I would definitely recommend Wild Swans to contemporary fans of any age, however I think teenagers, in particular, would really enjoy and relate to the story. I'm definitely keeping my eye out for more Jessica Spotswood books too.

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