Book Review: Poison Ivy

Title: Poison Ivy

Author: Amy Goldman Koss

Pages: 176

Format: hardcover

Genre: young adult, contemporary, realistic fiction

Publication Date: March 7, 2006

Triggers: suicide, bullying

⭐/5

“IwithVY: I told Ms. Gold about how The Evil Three have been after me, feeding off me since fourth grade.
MARCO: It isn’t a very pretty story, so if you’re looking for ‘nice,’ you better ask someone else.
ANN: We just have to come up wiht some witnesses for our side. Think! Does anyone owe you any favors?
BRYCE: I figure, Dude, why not make a little spare change on the side? A buck a bet. All’s I has to do was explain that liable was civil for guilty, and they swarmed like flies.”

Eight first-person narrators give different versions of the same event. Lessons about the inner workings of the judicial system pale beside the insights into human nature. With pathos and a great deal of humor, Amy Goldman Koss keeps you turning pages.

Honestly, there wasn’t much about this book I didn’t like. But, with every review I always try and find some type of thing I liked in a book. I believe if I finish a book, there has to be something in it that made me keep going and not DNF.

The only thing I would say that was good about this book was the characters going through the trial. It gave the story a little bit more just enough to interest me. Basically just enough to get me through it.

Okay, because this list is kind of long, I’m just going to put everything in bullet point form and go from there.

  • Ms. Gold – Okay so let’s just get right into the fact a teacher, instead of taking an extreme case of bullying to a higher official like the principal, a guidance counselor, A PARENT… decided ‘oh I’m going to make this situation into a mock trial that the whole class will be involved with for learning purposes.’ I’m sorry but what??? As soon as I started to notice where this book was going with this, I couldn’t believe it. Several times in my notes I wrote down that this was a ridiculous idea for a book, and I can’t believe an editor, a publisher, anyone approved of this!
  • 8 Character Perspectives – So, if you couldn’t tell by the summary given, this book was told in 8 people’s perspectives. Yes, you read that right. Not one. Not two. Not THREE. Eight people. But wait, that’s not all folks. It’s one thing to read in the perspectives of 8 people, but it’s another thing when you can’t even tell the difference between the characters. The only character that was remotely different was Ivy, and that’s because she like spoke in poem majority of the time. Everybody else was exactly the same.
  • The writing – The writing was… oh boy. It was all over the place, and there were sentences that just didn’t make any sense. It was bad.
  • The Ending – The book ended just left with speculations. The girls were of course found innocent of their crimes, and then the reader was just left to think that Ivy ended her own life. Like honestly, the kids talking about Ivy at the end it made my stomach turn. You’d think the kids would show some growth after a horrible trial that they were all apart of, but nope. They just stayed horrible little kids.
  • What was the purpose? – Granted, not all books have to have a purpose. But this one, what was even the point of writing this? To show people not taking bullying seriously is okay? To show it’s okay to be popular and be a jerk, you’ll basically get away with anything you do?

I think this might be one of my most disliked books I’ve ever read, and I just had to share my thoughts on it. What did you guys think about a teacher doing what Ms. Gold did? Do you agree with her decision? Let me know in the comments.


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