Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source of my copy: the publisher through Traveling to Teens
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Freshman year at Harvard--glamorous parties, blossoming friendships, steamy romances, and scandalous secrets. Skip the campus tour and get right to the good stuff: classes are for scoping guys (and their Facebook profiles), not taking notes. The library is for study dates (the medieval history stacks get a lot of action), not studying. And success is a 4.0 GPA... plus getting into the most exclusive parties. How will Callie--a California girl with brains, beauty, and big dreams--and her three roommates survive?
Get admitted to The Ivy, the first book in a provocative new series about the world of the Ivy League.
The Ivy is a very unexpected read for me. I'm not usually into the Gossip Girl-esque novels that are very popular today because I can't take all the fashion talk and designer name-dropping, boy dramas and all the frenemies and BFF entanglements. Those books just all become one dizzying ball of confusion to me. But for some reason I cannot fully explain, I ended up liking this book and am even looking forward to the next book in the series.
Our main character is Callie, a California blonde, starting her freshman year at Harvard. The whole book was how she survived her first year amidst all the roommate dramas, boy problems, a pain-in-the-neck evil upperclassman set on ruining her, drinking, drugs, partying, sex and very, very little studying. Okay, this is for the not-yet-in-college crowd thinking this book will give you an accurate portrayal of college life: there is not enough time in the day (and night) to do all that club socializing, partying, drinking, sex-ing and drama-making the characters did in the book as well as fit in all the studying and writing [papers] they (and you) will need to do to pass a semester, especially in a prestigious school like Harvard. It bothers me that college is often portrayed as "party central 24/7" in books when it's very far from the true reality of college life.
No, it's not the questionable plot line or the cliché characters or the more than questionable, choppy writing that had me giving this book more stars than it probably deserves for the most part. Okay, let me talk about the writing for a second: it's all over the place. For the most part it's limited third person through Callie's perspective but there were parts when suddenly it becomes limited third person through another character's perspective (one of the roommates or one of the boys vying for Callie's heart) for two paragraphs and then it goes back to Callie again. Other times Callie is even talking to the reader in second person. It made the book disjointed.
Maybe what wormed it's way into my reading heart was the flashes of myself I saw in Callie in the first eighth of the book. There were some instances that brought me back to my freshman year in college. The way Callie was in the beginning, just trying to fit and make friends but clueless at where to begin. Callie being intimidated by her more worldly roommates and upperclassmen. Callie trying to figure out where to sit in the dining hall and deciding which classes to sign up for... all me. Or maybe, in the end, I was sucked in by all the drama after all. This book, it's as addicting as potato chips. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop reading and I couldn't hate it. It's a guilty-pleasure book with a capital G-U-I-L-T-Y.
If you're looking for your next guilty-pleasure book in the same vein as the Gossip Girl series, check The Ivy out. 3 out of 5 stars