Title: Wild Swans
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
**I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much! This doesn’t affect the review in any way. My opinions, as always, are my own.**
The Plot: Summarized
Ivy’s perfect summer-before-senior-year is ruined when her estranged mother comes back to town with two children that Ivy didn’t know existed in tow. Suddenly, Ivy has a mother who obviously has a drinking problem as well as two sisters who think Ivy’s their aunt (!!!), living with her and her very-high-expectations grandfather.
I’m hesitant when it comes to contemporary books. I never really liked them and I’ll admit it, even going as far as looking down on those who picked only them because why would you only want to read something set in the real world?
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab.
George R.R. Martin
But after reading some Miranda Kenneally, Sarah Strohmeyer, and Liz Czukas books that I really enjoyed, I get it now. Or at least I get the people who read OTHER genres in addition to contemporary. I get that it’s relaxing and calm and that sometimes you need to chill for a bit.
Okay anyway so this is a contemporary book but that’s not why I didn’t really like it.
The beginning was solid. It was attention grabbing while calm and relaxed at the same time. I was 45% in when I caught a terrible flu and had to put down all my reading. Once I started to get better, I picked it up again. I read and I read but that spark was gone. The writing felt weird and there was something else niggling at the back of my mind. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I turned it over and over in my head and then it hit me and I couldn’t believe I had missed it. “Where is the plot? Where are the events moving towards?”, I thought to myself. There is no plot to this book. The mother comes in the picture really early on so I wasn’t holding my breath over any promised climax. It was…just moving forward. Ivy wakes up everyday, goes for a swim, fights with her mother, starts questioning her life and whining and complaining over everything, swoons over Connor’s tats, kisses Connor, fights with Alex, hangs out with her friends, goes to sleep, wakes up, goes swimming,….. and it went on and on. I was bored out of my mind.
The writing wasn’t my favorite thing in the world. It wasn’t bad but it was nothing special and with that no plot thing and the cardboard characters, it made the whole book a bland experience that while I was glad I took, not very excited to try again.
Ivy was okay. I wasn’t really invested in her from the beginning and I thought that I’ll get to like her more as the story goes along but I didn’t. I didn’t hate her but I didn’t like her either. She spent most of her time whining instead of doing and that got on my nerves A LOT. You don’t like how things in your life are? Work to change them instead of complaining about them.
I started out liking Alex but he sorta went downhill for me. Around halfway through the book, he started acting like a complete bastard to Ivy and the book ended with no resolve about how his relationship with her is going to be from now on. That was really disappointing.
Another character I didn’t like. I didn’t see what Ivy saw in him and every time she was with him it left a bad taste in my mouth. I kept on waiting for him to turn out to be an asshole as well but he didn’t. I usually have a good intuition about characters and if they’re ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but I don’t know why I didn’t feel comfortable around Connor.
Overall this book really disappointed me. I had high hopes for it and it didn’t live up to them at all. The writing was okay, but I hated the characters and I thought that the book had no plot whatsoever.