Wild Swans – Jessica Spotswood

I really enjoyed this book! My heart went out to Ivy. She’s had such a hard life, and deals with so much pressure, yet remains steadfast and strong.


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….


I really enjoyed this book! My heart went out to Ivy. She’s had such a hard life, and deals with so much pressure, yet remains steadfast and strong.

Ivy has fantastic friends, although Alex is questionable at times (but also a teenage boy, so I understand). I actually had pretty mixed feelings about Connor — he’s such a brooding young man, and I can just imagine him regretting those years of being all artsy and pensive later (and who knows if he’ll still love all those poetic tattoos one day?). I respect him and his passion, but I wasn’t head-over-heels for it like Ivy.

Gracie was a ray of sunshine. Isobel less so, but she’s also 15, so I’ll cut her some slack. She also has some big issues that were never resolved. She’s fierce and strong, but needs to learn how to love herself. I felt myself screaming at Erica anytime she commented on Isobel’s weight!

Ivy feels defined by her lack of talent, and the premise of the book makes it seem like she spends the summer on a journey of self-discovery. I’m not quite sure that was the case — her experiences were much more reactionary, and based on the actions of those around her.

I wish we got a more definitive/better conclusion for Erica. Much was left unresolved, with a very tepid sense of hope. The whole time, I felt like Ivy got stuck with the short end of the stick. Life isn’t fair. Why do people who are supposed to love her unconditionally treat her the way they do? How can Erica be a proper mother to Grace and Isobel, but not Ivy? I understand that Erica has a lot of underlying issues that she needs to sort out, but not even a million “sorry”s can make up for it, in my opinion.

Being a Milbourn was less relevant than I expected, but I enjoyed reading Ivy’s story anyway.

Related Reading

  • The Problem With Forever – Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Where the Stars Still Shine – Trish Doller
  • What Happens Now – Jennifer Castle

Rating: 4/5


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