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THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel Review

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The Book of Ivy takes place in the future after a brutal nuclear war has decimated the planet. A group of survivors bound together and formed a small town in the middle of the United States, before two sides -- led by the Westfall and Lattimer respectively -- battled for control.

Generations later, we have our protagonist, Ivy Westfall, who is the the granddaughter of the founder of the town as well as the loser of the battle.

In order to maintain peace and prevent rebellion, twice a year the children of both sides of town marry each other. This year, it's Ivy's turn. She is set to marry the grandson of the Lattimer family who took everything away from hers. She will marry Bishop Lattimer and she will kill him.

But as she gets to know him, she realizes that everything she's ever been told about the Lattimer family, the town, and even her own family is not as black and white as she believed it to be.

I didn't really know what to expect going into this book, but I loved every second of it. This is a fantastic, addictive, dystopian romance with amazing characters that you can't help but love and cheer for.

Which leads me to my favorite aspect of this story: the characters. The Book of Ivy is not like most dystopian romance novels featuring star-crossed lovers who fall in love at first sight. This is a story about two people who are really good for each other, who are forced together through really unfortunate circumstances. They build their relationship up slowly, and ultimately, they challenge each other and make each other better. I found myself immediately invested in their relationship, and by the end, they became one of my OTPs.

However, Ivy and Bishop are not only good together, but individually as well. They are well-rounded characters who grow as the novel progresses. Ivy's growth, in particular, I completely loved. She is someone who is outspoken and rash at times, but she isn't afraid of questioning what others, namely her family, have told her. She is capable and willing to make her own decisions, and live with the consequences.

Bishop, similarly, is someone who is very self-aware. He understands the power his family holds, and he knows what they've done, and their reasoning for doing so, but he is never afraid to question it. In fact, he is the one who makes Ivy question herself and she in turn does the same for him. Seriously, the power couple potential with these two is off the charts!

I will say, however, that if you are going into this book expecting an exciting revolutionary dystopian similar to The Hunger Games or Divergent, this is not the book for you. While I am sure there are some potential revolution aspects that will follow with the sequel, this is definitely not the book where it takes place. This, to me, felt primarily like a romance and while we definitely get hints of a dystopian community, it is definitely not as extreme. There is a large discussion about a grey area, and about how this community is governed -- who is right? And is anyone really wrong?

Overall, I loved this book. It was realistic, addictive, fast-paced, and a little thought provoking. It is definitely a unique dystopian romance, and I highly recommend it.

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