Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Book review - Wild Swans

Title: Wild Swans
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: The New Guy by Amy Spalding
                     Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
Not at all what I expected

Summary(provided by publisher): Will Ivy fulfill her destiny as a dazzling Milbourn woman? Or will the pressure from her family cause her to crumble?
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…

My opinion: I feel misled. The title of this novel has a lot of associations if you are at all familiar with fairy tales and especially given the references in the plot summary (even on the cover) to curses. I was expecting something along the lines of Nancy Werlin's Impossible: a girl's efforts to break her family's literal curse. For the entire first half of this novel I was waiting for the magical elements to reveal themselves. I was convinced that Connor, attractive older and knowledgeable about the family, was directly involved in the family curse. I figured he was Fae. Even once I realized that this wasn't the case, that there was no magic at play, it took a while for me to reset my thinking and accept this novel for what  it is. And the reality is somewhat disappointing. Now messages of falling in love, losing your friends, and accepting your family while learning to stand up for yourself are decent, they just aren't outstanding. For me this novel settles into a sort of acceptable neutral. And this seems to be the ultimate message of the novel: there is an acceptable neutral for most things. It's not a bad novel, but with that set-up suggesting an exciting and complex world, a firm root in reality was a serious let-down.

Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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