4.5 stars, actually.
Yearning for some post-apocalyptic YA romance manuevered so that the main characters are kind of like Romeo and Juliet being forced to marry each other?
The Book of Ivy delivers a poignant, emotional and romantic feast. Ivy and Bishop come from rival families. Bishop’s family won the right to govern their “nation” city. Ivy’s family lost, and their hate has been quietly simmering ever since.
Now Ivy is marrying Bishop as part of a the yearly arranged marriages between the two camps enforcing peace. Only Ivy has more than just a marriage as her duty.
The best part of this book is Ivy and Bishop slowly falling in love, and how weirdly Ivy is still controlled by her family. There is a ton of angst. And there is a ton of Bishop being patient, passionate, and kind as he sleeps on the couch from day one of their marriage allowing Ivy time to figure out who she wants to be.
If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic YA fiction, you will eat this one up. It’s totally a worthy member of the Divergent/Hunger Games family, although its more focused on the emotional build up of Ivy herself and less with concrete world building and action like the other two. It’s more of a romance.
It ends with a terrible event that will change everything forever (which is also a bit of a cliffhanger) but I do like the way Ivy takes matters into her own hands and makes her own decisions.
I think where the .5 star gets taken away for me is a bit on the way Ivy still allows her family to manipulate her even when she knows she’s being manipulated (that’s like actually a line from the book itself almost, so she’s very self-aware) and then also the part of dystopic/post-apocalyptic fiction I often have the most trouble with– the kind of arbitrary nature and obvious wrongness of the rules that the main character (in this case Ivy) decide to fight against. Like, if only that one rule of the city was changed things would be so different. (in this case the arranged marriages).
There’s a bit of kissing and holding, but its rather tame on the physical side so okay for most YA readers.