Wednesday 23 November 2022

The Ivies

The Ivies by Alexa Donne (Penguin Books Australia) Paperback RRP $19.99 ISBN 97805933037303

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

The Ivy League is a collegiate of eight private universities considered to be the most elite in the United States. They are known for their academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism. If you are part of an Ivy, you are power, and for five girls at Claflin Academy, there is nothing more powerful than being accepted by one. Five girls will do whatever it takes to put themselves at the top to obtain admission. From holding leadership positions, to scoring the highest grade academically, to excelling in competition. This story is a blend of rich entitlement, high pressure competitiveness and murder.

Alexa Donne has written a text that is twisty and compellingly thrilling. From the very first sentence the reader is hooked. Everyone knows the Ivies: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, UPenn, Princeton, Yale.  Each of the five girl characters have their own distinct personality and character traits that play off each other so well in the text. The strength of this book is not only the well written plot but the characters. ‘We stick to the facts. Now, about the fight.’ ‘She’s looking right at me.’ ‘Let’s not tell them exactly what I said.’ The theme is intriguing and gives the reader a window into the world of elite boarding school college life in the United States. The language is teen-speak, fresh, and not dated. Technology also features throughout the story and is used extensively by the teens. I particularly like how Donne keeps the reader guessing as the story builds with each chapter bringing another surprising twist. The information shared in the text allows the reader to put together the pieces of information just like a jigsaw puzzle.

The Ivies is a brilliant read for young adult readers aged 14-18 years. It’s a modern take on The Plastics from the Mean Girls on a whole new level. It speaks to teens today because it is about their world. It cleverly showcases the complex problems and pressures teens face as they navigate their way to adulthood. This is a book that would make a great gift for any teenager. It could easily translate into a movie because it is so intriguing. I was hooked from the very first page.

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