House of Ivy and Sorrow is a Young Adult novel by Natalie Whipple. It follows the life of 17-year-old Josephine Hemlock, the last of her bloodline of witches. Josephine lives with her grandmother, a very powerful woman. Her mother died ten years ago from a dark curse. The Hemlocks never knew who put the curse on their family. Now, years later, just as things are becoming normal for Josephine the curse comes back and it’s up to her to find the root of the evil and discover who killed her mother as well.
Josephine is likeable and spunky. She’s strong and sure in her own skin. Watching her find the balance between a life with her grandmother and her first love, Winn, is fun to read. However, I had problems with this novel. There’s a feel to it that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and, as a result, neither did I. Some way through the book I realized that I was no longer paying attention to the book. It reads as lower Young Adult, or perhaps High Middle Grade, and as a result it felt very young to me. It’s a little too wholesome and saccharine for my tastes.
The descriptions of magic were quite inventive though. I enjoyed what Whipple did there. Very Unique.
Perhaps the focus issue lies entirely with me. Perhaps this is a book I would better enjoy at a later date? I was genuinely enjoying this book. It’s the type of novel that fans of Hex Hall and Eighth Grade Bites would enjoy. However, for me, it was not a book that I wanted to finish and I am sort of okay with that.
2 out of 5 stars.
– Follow the Reader –