Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.
I am really sad that I didn’t end up liking House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple. Books about witches can be really hard to find, especially in the YA genre, so I was really excited to give this one a shot. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me.
The first problem I had with this book was the main character, Josephine. I was not a fan of hers. I decided at the very beginning of the book that I didn’t like her. She was very childish for her age, and she just had this uber hyper quality to her that I didn’t care for.
Discounting Josephine, I also didn’t care for any of the supporting characters. No one really blew my mind or made me fall in love. Everyone seemed very childish and annoying. That being said, it was hard to distinguish between all the characters, because they all just had a very similar vibe.
Another thing that I really couldn’t stand in House of Ivy and Sorrow was the romance between Jo and Winn. First, I hated Winn, not helped by the fact that I couldn’t stand Jo. Second, their childish romance was wayyyy too focused on. I would have preferred that the book focused more on witchcraft than that. Also, I found the relationships between Winn’s friends and Jo’s friends very unappealing. Too much cheesy romance was in the air.
Regarding the witchcraft itself, I thought that it could have been better executed. It seemed very childish and more geared for middle grade readers. I would have preferred more danger and suspense. I wanted the witchcraft to be more dangerous and powerful, and instead it seemed like something that I could watch on the Disney Channel. I definitely think that this book will have it’s followers, but I think that it is more geared for the younger crowd.
Overall, I didn’t really care for House of Ivy and Sorrow. I made it 50% through it before I finally gave up. I’m not rating it, because I really think that this was more about preference than dislike. Honestly, I’m shocked that it’s considered a YA book. It’s definitely an MG. So, if you’re a big fan of MG books, maybe this one is for you.
Publication Date: April 15th, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen