Ivy K. Harlowe is a lot of things. She’s my best friend. She’s the center of attention. She is, without fail, the hottest girl in the room. Anytime. Anyplace. She has freckles and dimples and bright green eyes, and with someone else’s energy she’d be adorable. But there is nothing cute about Ivy. She is ice and hot metal and electricity. She is the girl who every lesbian wants, but she has never been with the same person twice. She’s one-of-a-kind but also predictable, so I will always be Andie, her best friend, never Andie, her girlfriend. Then she meets Dot, and Ivy does something even I would have never guessed—she sees Dot another day. And another. And another. Now my world is slowly going up in smoke, and no matter what I do, the flames grow higher. She lit that match without knowing who or what it would burn. Ivy K. Harlowe is a lot of things. But falling in love wasn’t supposed to be one of them...unless it was with me.
The Love Song of Ivy K. HarloweFeatured
That is, until Dot, a seventeen year old high school student, comes along. She seems like a baby gay, so Andie is surprised when Ivy takes her home one night. Even more surprising is the way Dot just keeps showing up - and Ivy keeps letting her. Andie's life, which entirely revolves around Ivy - even when she has a real girlfriend, is becoming complicated the more that Dot is around and her notions about Ivy are in question.
What I loved: The second half of the book, after THE EVENT, was a much more heartfelt piece that took the reader on a deeper and thought-provoking journey. I appreciated the diversity in cast and the way the fallout from the event (not specifying to avoid spoilers, as I definitely did not see it coming) was handled was really intriguing. Andie has a lot to learn about herself and her intense obsession, and we slowly begin to see her realize things along the way, even if they are slow to change.
What left me wanting more: I had a lot of trouble with the level of obsession Andie has, and the way the first half of the story is just a constant love letter to someone who can never love her back with a heavy dose of pining and angst. The only characters I really felt I got to know were Dot and Ivy, as they are the ones that Andie obsesses over - but who really is Andie aside from someone who loves Ivy? I think this is a question that Andie is also asking herself by the end. There are definitely a lot of unhealthy relationships in the book. I would have appreciated more depth to some of the other characters to really give a fuller picture of who they are and their role in Andie's life and a shorter lead in to the second half of the book, which is where things really begin to take on a new feeling.
I would add warnings for underage drinking and illicit drug use/abuse.
Final verdict: THE LOVE SONG OF IVY K. HARLOWE is a new adult contemporary read about obsession, pining, love, and friendship with all their complexity.