ARC Review: The Ivies by Alexa Donne

Thank you so much to Crown Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for letting me read an ARC of The Ivies! This book came out on May 25th, so make sure y’all go grab it ASAP! I always find college decisions and prep and the pressure that people put on themselves for it fascinating. I mean let’s also be real, I went to a crazy public high school school that also had Ivy quotas and people battling for class rank and everyone who wanted to be competitive was taking 8-10 APs, running clubs, playing sports and instruments, and just doing everything they could (besides sabotage) to get in where they wanted. We had our Harvards, our Yales, our MITs, our Princetons, our Browns, our Stanfords, a bunch of Dukes, along with all of the other crazy schools you can think of (I grew up in a college town, next to another university, with lots of people whose parents taught at one of the universities or worked in either of the university hospitals or big tech/pharma that we have around here, so lots of privilege and lots of opportunity for people to do some of those things they need to in order to go to one of those big name schools). Anyway, enough about my high school- let’s talk about The Ivies!

The Ivies 5/5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

I really, really loved this book! Like incredibly so. Not only do I always love boarding school books (I don’t know what it is, but something about the boarding school aesthetic just makes me so incredibly excited to read them), but a boarding school based thriller around college admissions?! Hello! Sign me up! I thought Olivia was a great main character and figuring out the clues with her and seeing who killed Emma and all of the secrets within Claflin Academy and how far the rich and influential will go to protect their own was so great. Alexa Donne wrote some amazing characters and you’re really rooting for them and then something comes from left field and you’re left going what the heck?! How could ______ do that???? And that ending/epilogue section was incredible. I’m not going to say what it was about, but man, I really felt for Olivia during so much of the book. And she herself was such a complex character- she definitely had her flaws and a huge chip on her shoulder because she was the scholarship kid, but she was also being manipulated by the people she thought were her friends for the past almost 3 years, which is pretty terrible, so maybe she can have that chip on her shoulder. I really did not like Margot at all- she seemed like such a stereotypical mean girl and there was so little substance to her even though she was supposed to be one of the smartest people in that school, but I know Alexa Donne mentioned that Margot was a talented actress, so it could also all be an act- ahhh my head hurts just thinking about it right now. Honestly, I know this is a standalone and I don’t know where any more books in this world would even live, but I would really love another book in this world with cameos by these characters! I’m not done with Avery, Margot, Sierra, and Olivia yet!

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