Ivy comes from a long legacy of accomplished women. Generations before for have been successful poets, artists, singers, etc., but they have been cursed with short lives. Their greatness consumed their minds and ultimately lead to their demise. Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you’re her grandfather) for Ivy, she hasn’t shown any sign of having a particular talent. Her grandfather has had her in classes and lessons for every skill imaginable since he took custody of her after her mom left. Now Ivy is about to be a senior in high school. She is determined to have the best summer of her life and for once not spend it submerged in lessons. That is until her mom and her two half sisters show up on her doorstep. Now Ivy has to come face to face with the mother that abandoned her, sisters she never knew she had, and the fact that there isn’t anything special about her. Easy to say that the summer didn’t turn out quite like she planned.
Wild Swans has a pretty diverse set of characters and deals with some heavy subjects such as children dealing with their gender identity. Ivy is white and comes from a wealthy family; however I really enjoyed that Ivy recognizes her privileged life but doesn’t let it define her. She knows that she has been given an amazing shot at life with everything her grandfather has done for her, but she doesn’t want to live her life hiding in the shadow of the Milbourn name. I love how strong willed she is and how determined she is to set herself apart from her family.
The emotional baggage that Ivy has to deal with is insane. Everyone wants something from her and whatever she gives isn’t good enough. She has to face her mother who abandoned her fifteen years ago and take a good look at what the family’s expectations can do to a person. She is expected to step in and be a role model for her new sisters, Iz and Gracie. On top of all of that, she is still supposed to find what makes her special all while trying to avoid the curse that seems to haunt her family. Mental illness and suicide is very real in the Milbourn family.
I really hope there will be more books that follow these characters because I truly loved them all. The friendship that Ivy, Claire, and Abby have is so supportive and exactly what friends should be. These girls make my inner feminist jump for joy. Claire is bisexual, very attractive, and doesn’t give two cares about what people think of her. Even when Ivy finds herself in a situation where her male best friend, Alex, tries to slut shame her, Claire goes to bat for her and shuts it down immediately. No matter what these girls have each other’s back. Connor… Oh, Connor. This guy is everything and more you want from a book boyfriend. He gives Ivy exactly what she needs and doesn’t ask for anything in return. I swooned so hard for him and was so happy with the direction things went with him.
I loved how everything concluded even though it isn’t the ending I necessarily wanted. Things could have wrapped up in a neat little box, but unfortunately that isn’t realistic. I love that the author kept it real. Jessica Spotswood is one of my favorite authors because of the way her books make me feel. Wild Swans is one of those books that reach deep down and grab you by the feels. This was easily an instant favorite and a book that I will recommend to everyone. I stand by my statement that I would read Jessica’s grocery lists given the chance.