House of Ivy and Sorrow
By Natalie Whipple
Published: April 15, 2014
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.
Josephine is dealing with the loss of her mom as well as the stress of keeping secrets and the frustration of not having a normal teen life. On top of all that she also has to figure out who killed her mom and how to stop them. Fortunately Jo has support from her friends even if they don't know what is really going on. I liked how the book emphasized friendship, family, and sisterhood. The magical world is also really interesting and gritty. Every bit of magic comes with a price. I liked seeing Jo develop her talents and learning to trust and take risks.
House of Ivy and Sorrow reminded me of Rachel Hawkins's Hex Hall and School Spirits mixed with maybe a dash of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It is both humorous and suspenseful with a great cast of characters. There is also a little bit of forbidden romance. I think it will appeal to teens who enjoy both paranormal fiction as well as suspense and snarky humor. As far as I know, this is a standalone book but I wouldn't mind reading more about Jo and her world.
Note: I received an e-ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss