Title: Enchanted Ivy
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: October 12, 2010
Enchanted Ivy is about a teenager named Lily who takes a trip with her grandfather (a Princeton alumni) and mother for a reunion at the Princeton campus. Lily wants to follow so bad in her grandfather's footsteps and become a Princeton graduate. While on campus, she is given a chance to take the Legacy Test. If she passes it will guarantee her acceptance. All she has to do is find the Ivy Key...
Along the way she meets an orange and black haired boy named Tye. She finds out that there are two Princetons, separated only by the gate and opened by the Key. Her reality is challenged when she meets the magical creatures of our Princeton and sometimes terrifying creatures of the other Princeton. As the story unfolds there are many twists in turns including what is wrong with her mother, what happened to her father and who are the Knights of Princeton?
I was really excited to read Echanted Ivy; it's been on my radar for quite a while. When I received it, I was happy to find the book itself is very cute with a very beautiful cover! Normally I don't notice this as much, but I did with Enchanted Ivy!
I really loved the premise of this story. Lily, a smart girl, going to visit her dream university, finds out it is more than what it seems. Being a university student myself and often mesmerized by old college campuses, I really felt swept away just as Lily was. Durst creates a fantastical cast of characters, my favorite definitely being the enchanted gargoyles. Who doesn't wonder if they are really magical creatures? I will never look at them the same again! The beginning of the story starts with the Legacy Test hunt for the Ivy Key. Lily takes us all around campus and meets a boy with orange and black hair named Tye. Everything is very mysterious at this stage and I was eager to find out more about the Gate and the Key.
I was very happy with Lily as a character. She's smart and brave. She's also a strong person; she helps her grandfather with his flower store while also taking care of her mom. Her mom has a mental condition where she is progressively forgetting everything. I really felt like Lily was a sympathetic character without it going overboard; I wanted her to help her mom and succeed.
Another highlight of the novel which I was pleasantly surprised by was the romance. At first I felt like it would come out as a love triangle that's so popular, but eventually the romance took another turn. I was happy to see Lily and her love interest develop that romantic relationship. It wasn't silly or frustrating but charming. And really, who can't love Tye?
The only small nitpick I had was that it was slower near the beginning than the rest. I thought the book really picked up around the middle and I read straight through from there. There were many twists and turns (some I didn't even see coming) and the book really turned out to be more than I could really expect; it is packed with lore, characters and plot. However, this never bogs you down due to Durst's pleasant writing style.
Overall, I definitely recommend Enchanted Ivy for any fans of young adult or fantasy, especially if you're soon to be going off to college. I really hope there is a sequel because I'll definitely be reading it! A-
A review copy of this book was provided by Simon & Schuster.