BOOK REVIEW: “Wild Swans” by Jessica Spotswood

Title: Wild Swans
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Teens, YA Fiction
Pages: 304

Wild Swans


SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

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….


**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

Maybe I’m not so good at analogies. Or maybe I don’t know enough about wild swans. Is there such a thing as a wild swan? Basically, I have no clue why this book is titled the way it is (lol). Usually there’s some indication as to why a book is titled what it is the more you read the story, but I was a bit dumbfounded on this one. Regardless, Wild Swans is a decent story, one that will engage its readers, but I can’t help but wonder if Spotswood missed an opportunity to connect the story and the title.

The book, honestly, started a little slow for me. It took me some time to get invested in some of the characters. Ivy was likeable right from the start, as were Alex, Luisa, and Gracie. Granddad, on the other hand, took some time to warm up to. Same for Connor, Erica, and Iz. Spotswood definitely created some interesting characters and wove them together in a story that was real and enjoyable.

It’s funny though. As the story progressed, I definitely changed my mind about some of the characters. Just goes to show – don’t judge a book by its cover. One particular character I really wanted to root for I found myself not liking at all. And someone else who angered me for most of the novel, I found had a soft side to her. This was one of the things I really liked about the book. You had to keep going to find out about all the intricacies of each character.

To me, Ivy went through the biggest transformation from start to finish. She learned more about the so-called Milbourn legacy that she’s supposed to live up to and discovered things about herself that even surprised her, I think. Spotswood did a really nice job with Ivy’s character.

There were two things about this novel that I didn’t like. One was the language. I think you can still tell a great story and not have to swear. Sure, it might make characters more believable and realistic, but I think there are ways to develop characters and not have them drop the F bomb or use “Jesus” and “goddamn” as part of their normal vocabulary. Just my opinion. Another thing that bothered me was how quickly Ivy and Connor’s sexual relationship progressed. It was a bit graphic in spots, and I had to question whether I was reading a young adult novel or an adult romance book. Though this may well be believable and realistic, it’s not something that should be encouraged as normal behavior. When authors normalize sex in this way, it seems to make it permissible. I’m not convinced this has to be a staple of YA books just to make it a good book.

Bottom line – this book is likely to please its intended teenage audience. They will love the characters and likely swoon over the relationship between Ivy and Connor. They will also likely find some semblance of connection between any one of Spotswood’s unique characters. Her characters have drastically different stories, and I see teenagers being able to identify with something in the book, even in the smallest way.

“Wild Swans” is available for Pre-Order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble currently. You can pre-order or simply pick it up on May 3rd when it releases. Also leave feedback for the author on Goodreads when you are finished and add it to your To Read list so as not to forget. Check out author, Jessica Spotswood, online at her website HERE and see her other books available to read. We also encourage you to check out Sourcebooks Fire publishing’s website HERE. They release a wide variety of fantastic books throughout the year. Something for everyone!

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