There’s some sort of seasonal connection to be drawn with White Ivy as one of our December picks, but we’re not here to talk about ivy or holly, or any other evergreen. Instead, we’re here to celebrate the books rounding off the first year of the (now officially award-winning!) Feminist Book Box. Here’s a little more about the two (spoiler-free, we promise).
So, to White Ivy, Susie Yang’s bestselling debut: praised variously as addictive, magic, compelling, toxic, genius, this singular novel follows its protagonist Ivy Lin, a Chinese immigrant growing up in Boston, as she aspires to assimilate with her American peers. When as an adult she reconnects with a blond-haired boy from a prominent family, she’s determined that this is her chance to have all she’s ever dreamed of – wealth, status, infallibility. But a ghost from her past resurfaces, and threatens to undo everything. Part love triangle, part coming-of-age, White Ivy is a deliciously dark, propulsive novel, one that you’ll pick up on a long winter’s night and lose yourself to.
While it may seem that there’s no neat or immediately obvious segue way to this month’s non-fiction pick – 100 Nasty Women of History by Hannah Jewell – read together they’re almost a manifesto for refusing the kind, selfless, amenable, ‘nice’ woman-stereotype which Ivy Lin rejects, and the women of Hannah’s fantastically fun compendium totally overthrow. Full of the lives of the greatest, bravest, baddest women of history you haven’t met yet, 100 Nasty Women is a total inspiration and a gift to yourself; the kind of book you’ll keep going back to for more.
Together, White Ivy and 100 Nasty Women are a tonic; a sharp, refreshing shot of a reminder to embrace every part of you and to go after what you want; maybe we could all stand to be a little less ‘nice guy’ next year.