“Everyone breaks at some point. It’s how you patch yourself up that counts.”- Connor, Wild Swans
*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Synopsis via Goodreads: The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?
But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past….
The Milbourn name is both a blessing and a curse, with each generation bringing about a talented and gifted woman whose life ends in tragedy. Ivy knows the pressure she is under to find her ‘special’ talent, to find what makes her a Milbourn, to leave her mark in this small town, and it doesn’t help that her Grandfather has set the bar so high. To make matters worse, Ivy’s mother, Erica, returns to town after walking out of her life, and she’s not alone. What was suppose to be a care-free summer, has now turned into her worst nightmare and Ivy will learn that sometimes being ordinary may be a good thing after all.
“…the Milbourn women are all reckless and bound for bad ends.”
Wild Swans is a young adult contemporary novel about family, love, and self-discovery. I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for when I started this book, but I quickly fell in love with the story of Ivy Milbourn. One thing I liked about this book was the writing. It was BEAUTIFUL and SIMPLE, straight to the point. The dialogue between characters was raw and emotional as none of the characters held back and you could feel the tension between them.Besides the theme of family, this book touches upon a number of other themes, like sexuality, gender identity and sex positivity which was great to see.
The characters in this book are so dimensional and beautifully flawed. They all have big personalities and each play and important role throughout the story. Ivy is an AMAZING character who speaks her mind and doesn’t back down and I loved her right from the beginning. Ivy’s relationship with her grandfather was rocky at some points and even though they didn’t always see eye to eye, they still had this strong bond that couldn’t be broken. I have to say, the relationship between Ivory and Erica was not what I was expecting. Although Erica doesn’t say it, I think she does regret leaving Ivy like she did and their relationship had the most development throughout this book. While wounds don’t completely heal, they do gain a better understanding of each other and a small connection is formed between the two by the end. Erica is not likable at all, but I understand why she did what she did and her character development was great as she realized that if she was ever going to make something of her life, she had to start by pulling herself together and getting the help she needed.
“Erica doesn’t know me, but she’s managed to zero in on my greatest fear: that I’m not enough, will never be enough, for anyone to love.”
There is a love triangle in this book, but it didn’t overshadow the overall plot which I liked. I felt like the love triangle even added to the story because it was another situation where Ivy had to make a choice which led to new experiences. I felt like Connor actually played an important role throughout the book because he showed Ivy that it was okay to fall apart. You don’t have to figure it all out at once. What is important is that you don’t stop trying to find yourself. This eventually leads to Ivy accepting the fact that even though things are not perfect right now, in the long run, she will be okay.
I really liked the fact that that everything wasn’t wrapped up and topped with a bow at the end. It was open-ended, full of possibility and hope that anything could happen.
“Letting myself daydream like this is kind of terrifying because it means I have choices. I do. I might not always feel like it, but I do.”
Wild Swans was a STUNNING book that I couldn’t put down. I really couldn’t find anything I hated, even if I tried. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all contemporary readers who are looking for a YA novel that is less romance based and more family oriented. & just remember, sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.