Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Duo Review! The Ivy: Scandal by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur

Hi Everyone! 

I am back from a week with my family to share a review with my closest relative. My sister Rebecca is a fellow reader and writer. We both adore the Ivy series by Lauren Kunze. We decided to do a due review because we both want to share our thoughts about this magnificent series's finale. This amazing idea of a duo review was inspired by duo reviews I read throughout my blogging experience from blogs like The Reader's Den and Vegan YA Nerds

The Ivy: Scandal by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur 
Publication Date: February 26th, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books 
Rachel's Rating: 4.5/5 STARS 
Rebecca's Rating: 4/5 STARS

Our Review:

Rebecca is in sky blue and I am in light green. 

I enjoyed the book, and felt like it was a nice ending to the series. I really liked how secondary characters like Dana were utilized more in this book.

Scandal was a wonderful final installment of the Ivy Series. The book caused me to laugh uncontrollably many times. I love how Callie matured from her past mistakes and did not deny her previous blunders. The Ivy Insider mystery was dissected into the story piece by piece splendidly. 

My favorite scene was the prologue with Gregory. I expected the story to go in Gregory's direction a bit because of that scene and the note he left for Callie was intriguing.

My favorite? Matt, Callie and Grace at Grace’s protest. Matt, you were so brave. I am proud of you! 

My favorite character was Matt-- so much so that I almost thought he was the Ivy Insider (which was proven wrong in the first chapter), I just thought he was a nice, solid character.

Alessandra was the most incredible character in Scandal in my view. She is a girl who struggled and tried to be a good person. Her back-story and regret touched my heart.

I wanted to learn more about how Callie's parents and teachers felt about the accusation that she was the Ivy Insider. It seemed like the older adults would have made an interesting contrast to the administrators who didn't even know Callie, and enemies like Lexi. I also really liked Gregory, so I was disappointed that he was not in the book as much as the other books. Since the book uses multiple perspectives, I believe that could have been an opportunity to write half the book in Callie’s POV and the other half in Gregory's POV. That could have been a nice change in format.

Great idea Rebecca! I still wonder about Gregory feelings and experiences while he was AWOL. He was my favorite character in the other books and I am sad that he did not gleam during my experience of the finale. Additionally, I wish he had a chance to meet Callie’s high school best friend Jessica like the rest of Callie’s group. Another change I would have wished for was Gregory not making another misjudgment base on something he read. Especially from an obviously Lexi controlled Harvard Crimson. After the note debacle in Secret, I would have thought he learned from that mistake.

Comparing to my freshman year: I went through the same experiences that Callie did in developing relationships with people and finding a group of friends -- but not quite as dramatically. I also worked on the school newspaper, but didn't need to go through that COMP process.

I think the dramatic element of the story fit the fact that it was a young adult series. I do believe conflict and dynamics between characters is an important device to drive the story forward. Through authentic dialogue and well-developed characters the author worked with her material well without delving into melodrama. Therefore since the story was driven by conflict and drama and since it's audience was young adults the drama within the story was fine.

True! I am amazed how the dramatic tone of the series made the books authentic. All the rough events Callie and her friends went through kept the book amusing as it explored troubles these new adults face – financially difficulty, infidelity, jealousy, betrayal, media fraud and more. The surface drama leads to each of the character's overall growth and a bond. In the beginning, Callie, Vanessa, Dana, Mimi, OK, Gregory, Matt and Adam were strangers. And in the end they were all together happy. A group I would love to know in reality.

Favorite Quotes:
Jessica to Callie:
"In order to beat Lexi at her own game, you're going to have to start thinking like her. No more Mrs. Innocent California Girl. It's time to bend a few rules, before you get kicked out for violating ones you didn't even break in the first place"
(page 161)

“Meaning that it’s time to forget James Franco and start focusing on you, and your own personal spiritual journey to self-actualization and independence.” (page 77)

And finally our favorite Ivy book:

The second book is my favorite because I like the conflict caused by that note that Callie wrote to Vanessa.

Yes! Secrets was my favorite too. So many amazing scenes like the limerick event, the squash match between Clint and Gregory, and the note events. All my favorite lines linger in Secrets.

Thanks for reading!


  1. I adore this joint review Rachel and Rebecca! I remember seeing something I think about another book in this series on the blog some time ago, so I'm glad that this book lived up to your expectations too! :)

  2. Sister power! I like that this book made you laugh, I wouldn't have suspected that. I am also surprised to hear the middle book is the best, usually that is the one that flounders. I have been wondering about this series and I should try and check it out sometime.

  3. Oh, it's great that a series ended on such a strong note! I don't think I've seen this one before, but I want to learn more.
    Managing to make it dramatic enough to keep it interesting but avoid melodrama altogether isn't easy and authors often get it wrong, so I really want to see how it was done in this series.

    Like Heidi, I never would have thought this was a funny read too, but I'm glad. And I really enjoy this dual review idea.

  4. i'm not that familiar with this series, it sounds really good though!

  5. Thanks for sharing the duo review! I haven't heard of the series before but I'm excited to see that the characters are well-developed and the drama in the series is not overly done. BTW, I like your enthusiasm :)

  6. I think I've heard of this series before, but it was a long time ago. I might have to check it out. I love that it's all authentic and that it made you laugh. That sounds like a great combination to me. This is a wonderful review, ladies! :)

  7. I love joint reviews! I've heard good things about this. So glad you enjoyed!

  8. Fantastic joint review, ladies! I have not heard of this one before but it sounds amazing.

    Thanks for the helpful review. <33

  9. I can't believe I haven't heard of this before, particularly with that gorgeous cover! I'm glad you both enjoyed it so much. Fantastic joint review! :)

  10. Hooray for joint reviews :) They're a lot of fun, aren't they?!

    I haven't heard of the book/series but it sounds like a good read, ladies!



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