Alexa Donne is a YA author that I admire. For a long time, I’ve been following her Youtube channel where she posts a lot of great writing, querying and publishing industry insights. I also found my incredible author mentor Jennifer Camiccia through Author Mentor Match, which was hosted by Alexa. Of course I was thrilled to have been selected to be part of her blog tour for The Ivies!
Everyone knows the Ivies: the most coveted universities in the United States. Far more important are the Ivies. The Ivies at Claflin Academy, that is. Five girls with the same mission: to get into the Ivy League by any means necessary. I would know. I’m one of them. We disrupt class ranks, club leaderships, and academic competitions…among other things. We improve our own odds by decreasing the fortunes of others. Because hyper-elite competitive college admissions is serious business. And in some cases, it’s deadly.
Alexa Donne delivers a nail-biting and timely thriller about teens who will stop at nothing to get into the college of their dreams. Too bad no one told them murder isn’t an extracurricular.
The Ivies were a group of girls at the prestigious Claflin Academy who would stop at nothing to get into the college of their dreams. The story follows main character Olivia who, unlike the other Ivies, was from a low-middle-income family. After a murder occurred following early decision day, Olivia was determined to find out who did it.
This novel is basically Mean Girls, except the focal point is college admissions. It’s fast-paced and SO addictive! I read the entire book in a matter of days. I find that a lot of thrillers lead you on with little development for most of the novel, then whams you with EVERYTHING in the end, but The Ivies is different: I loved that little nuggets of clues were spread out throughout and kept me at the edge of my seat. There were definitely scenes that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
There were a lot of plot twists that I could never have guessed at all. I also did not clue in to who the murder was until pretty late in the game. I loved that the pacing was steady and kept me engaged. I did wish, however, that the ending had been different!
Olivia was your classic underdog—a scholarship student at Claflin, the only one who wasn’t rich or from an influential family. However, she was ambitious and she wasn’t as completely innocent and good as she pretended to be.
I loved that no one was perfect, everyone made mistakes, and everyone watched out for themselves. The devil on my shoulder enjoyed reading about people backstabbing each other. However, initially it was hard for me to distinguish between The Ivies, besides Olivia. They looked different and were of different ethnicities, but I couldn’t really get a feel of their individual personalities until much later in the story.
The bottom line
The Ivies was a fun and addictive YA thriller, perfect for those who love Sadie and I Killed Zoe Spanos!
About the Author
Alexa Donne is the author of Brightly Burning and The Stars We Steal, YA sci-fi romance retellings of classics set in space out now from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Her next YA, THE IVIES, a thriller set in the world of competitive college admissions, will be out in May 2021 from Crown/Random House. A graduate of Boston University, she works in TV marketing and has done pro bono college admissions mentoring since 2014. A true INFJ, in her “free” time she mentors with WriteGirl, runs the Author Mentor Match program, and manages one of the most popular writing advice channels on YouTube. She lives in Los Angeles with two fluffy ginger cats named after YA literature characters. You can find her in most places @alexadonne.