“White Ivy” by Susie Yang

White Ivy

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Publisher Simon & Schuster
 Pub. Date: 11/3/2020

“Ivy Lin was a thief but you would never know it to look at her.” The novel is an entertaining character study of a social climber with a secret, which never seems to go out of style. Think of the psychological thriller, “Suspicion” directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  Alternatively, think of the more recent film, “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”You get the idea. The main character, Ivy Lin, is a narcissist with self-destructive traits. Desperate to escape her Chinese, low-income, immigrant parents, Ivy aims to marry into wealth. “White Ivy” is chock-full of gripping ideas. What it does not do is give the reader access to her experiences that may show how those ideas became part of her makeup.  While the title seems to allude to Ivy yearning for whiteness, neither she nor any of the characters seem to register the racial differences between her and her rich white fiancée. Ivy becomes a first-grade teacher who “didn’t like children but that didn’t matter.” However, the reader never knows why she went into teaching. Nor does she know why she and her fiancé do not have sex. (The reader can guess but Ivy is clueless until the end of the book). This is not to say that the novel isn’t a page-turner, because it is. In a way, this is a coming-of-age thriller about an unlikeable girl that this reviewer found hard to put down.

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