White Ivy: Sharp exploration of privilege in modern America

Book review: Captivating debut novel about the dangers of pursuing the American dream

Susie Yang explores the subject of privilege through the character of Ivy Lin

Susie Yang explores the subject of privilege through the character of Ivy Lin

“Maybe there were no new stories, only your story. But what did the real story even matter, when most people judged you based on the shallowest surfaces?” In her smart and provocative debut novel, White Ivy, Susie Yang explores the subject of privilege through the character of Ivy Lin, a second-generation Chinese-American desperate to cash in on the great American dream.

Desperate is a word that suits the manipulative and enterprising Ivy, whose coming-of-age story in the Boston suburbs proves a multifaceted, riveting read. At the centre of the book is Ivy’s fascination with one all-American family, the Speyers. In high school she falls in love with son Gideon, only to have her parents mortify her at a sleepover party in his house, then relocate the family to another town. Years later she reunites with Gideon following a chance encounter with his haughty sister Sylvia. The pair begin a relationship of sorts, with the bulk of the novel leading up to their wedding day.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.