Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

Book Description via Goodreads:

What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her; She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet! Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons; the ordinary one and a magical one; and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.

When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage; and a little magic; to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

Source: Simon & Schuster – McEldrerry Books (Thanks!)

My Thoughts:

Lily was a good daughter and a good granddaughter. Unlike most YA characters that I encounter, Lily was family-oriented and that was one of the things I liked about her. She lived by the ‘family first’ code. Having a mother who had psychosis and suffered from brain hiccups was difficult. There was always an extra safety measure to take. But her love for her mother overpowered everything else.

Enchanted Ivy was set in Princeton University, a place of wonder and mystery. Lily was given a chance to take the Legacy test, a test that would grant her an automatic acceptance into Princeton, if she passes. But what seemed like a college-related scavenger hunt turned out to be something she never expected. As she searched for the key, she unlocked secrets that will defy reality.

Talking gargoyles, tiger-weres, blood-sucking goblins, a library filled with books on mythology and fantasy, a vengeful dragon, dancing tulips and unicorns – all of these creatures graced Enchanted Ivy with their presence. A great cast of characters, magical and human, brought to life a story filled with surprises, with just the right combination of drama, betrayal, suspense, action and mystery. Everything that would make a reader want to read more was rolled in this novel. This was Alice in Wonderland meets Harry Potter minus the wizards and the witches. It was really enjoyable. When I started this, I thought it would take me three days to finish it. It just took me four hours, a good night sleep and a few more hours when I woke up to finish the story. It was a magical experience.

Lily and Tye’s similarity drove them close to each other. The romance was sweet and pure, Disney-like, but with a little hesitation and a healthy dose of challenges and obstacles. The will to stay and protect was there, untainted by the tension and thirst for change and vengeance.

The ending was just right for me, satisfying. But it made me want a sequel because it was simply sweet. I wanted to see how Lily’s relationship with Tye would come to be. I wanted to know more about Lily’s father. 

Enchanted Ivy will have you lost between worlds and reading for magic, secrets, love and vengeance. Durst is a pro at storytelling. I lost myself too. I recommend this to fans of fantasy and magic, and to people who like old campuses with lots of greenery, as well as the story behind them.



  1. Your review makes me want this book. Thank you

  2. Tiger-weres? Wow. "Alice in Wonderland meets Harry Potter"? Double WOW! Really, I so want to read this! Thanks for the great review, Precious!

  3. @Ivan You may want to try this. :) You like fantasy, it seems like a fitting book for you.

    @Jennilee Tiger-weres! :) They're slightly less hot than werewolves but they'll do! And the tiger-were is really fun.