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Publisher's Summary

A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick

A young woman’s crush on a privileged former classmate becomes a story of love, lies, and dark obsession, offering stark insights into the immigrant experience, as it hurtles to its electrifying ending. 

Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar - but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, Ivy’s immigrant grandmother relies on Ivy’s mild appearance for cover as she teaches her granddaughter how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen - and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. 

But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, and her dream instantly evaporates. Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when Ivy bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable - it feels like fate. 

Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners, and weekend getaways to the cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build. 

Filled with surprising twists and a nuanced exploration of class and race, White Ivy is a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.

©2020 Susie Yang. All rights reserved. (P)2020 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about White Ivy

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Sometimes the benefit of the doubt to a book that seems to be going nowhere eventually pays off. This is not one of those books. In fact, I cannot remember being so furious that I wasted my time trying to allow for the possibility that the story would find a plot or the characters would develop. Every character in this book is a horrible person and none of them ever find redemption. There is no plot. As much as I tried to construct one or anticipate a pivotal moment when everything suddenly makes sense, I failed. It’s not there. Nothing. I get what the author was trying to do in comparing the desires and motivations of culturally different characters, only to make clear that nothing is perfect. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. What I got was that Chinese people are horribly rude and diminishing of each other (something I know is not true) and that the WASPY-est of WASPS are dull and boring and ultimately awful to each other, too. The main character is not only a lying, confused and completely unsympathetic murderer, she isn’t even entertaining in that role. She makes ZERO sense. Every choice she makes is just dull and stupid. Who knows what motivates the other characters? Noting ever develops to lend a clue, other than a homophobic quickie ending. This is a terrible book. Terrible. I could go on for another 20 paragraphs but just thinking about how much I hated this book is making me feel sick. The writing seems so promising, but absent a plot or character development it doesn’t help a single bit. The narrator was pretty good, but I cannot imagine this was a fun job for her. Who wants to read that many hours of nothing? If you see this book recommended, please investigate who’s recommending and why. It’s a truly terrible book.

17 people found this helpful

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  • CC
  • 11-13-20

Hoped for more

Starts with many interesting characters that could potentially become a nuanced interesting story. However this becomes a novel of excruciating depths of self doubt, mired in self loathing as the main character, Ivy, grows up and makes her way in the world. Difficult to read the unrelenting desire and expectation to be given everything without giving anything of one’s self. Many opportunities In the narrative where there could have been an inflection point and Ivy could gained some insight and you think possibly make a change (plz) or get a clue, only to shortly thereafter see her revert to her (crazy) never ending self absorption.

4 people found this helpful

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very good

I needed a new book for my commute of 3.5 hours round trip. this was on TODAY with Jenna Bush. Grateful for the suggestion!

1 person found this helpful

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Crazy Story

Good writing, lots of twists and turns, and a crazy story. Read in 2 days.

1 person found this helpful

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White Ivy

Well written. The storyline as seen thru the eyes of a person trying to assimilate into a world they did not come from. As a person of color I was able to see how difficult it can be for a person, not of my ethnicity, to climb the ladder of “success”! Ivy’s inner fears and insecurities drove her to desperate measures and in the end she had to have asked “was it really worth it”?

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Terrible

This was the worst book I have ever listened to. Dragged on ad nauseum Narrator was awful. Every male voice sounded exactly the same. Sorry I purchased it.

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Great Read !!!!

This was an awesome read! Great book ! Literally read in 2 days. Could not put it down !!!! Great book!!!!

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Depressing

I enjoyed certain sections of this book, more than others. But, I found Ivy’s constant monologues Of the thoughts in her head annoying and way over descriptive. I thought the author went into too much detail. Overall a good read, but often depressing

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WOW!!!

This book is beautiful, eerie, telling and keeps you guessing till the end!!! Hang on!

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Disappointing

The characters are one dimensional and unlikable; they and the plot are not believable. I could not stick with it, though I tried - I made it a bit past 1/2 way point. Also, this novel reveals nothing about “the immigrant experience”. I am completely baffled by the positive reviews.