Review of The Love Song of Ivy K. Harlowe by Hannah Moskowitz
I don’t know what to think of this book. It’s well-written. There are feelings. Teenage angst. So much teenage angst.
Andie has been in love with Ivy since forever. Ivy doesn’t do relationships and goes from girl to girl, which isn’t that surprising at nineteen. Andie is okay with it because she’s convinced that, someday, Ivy will settle down with her. Then Dot comes into the picture. Andie doesn’t take her seriously, in part because she’s only seventeen, but when Ivy keeps taking her home and Dot suddenly seems always there, Andie begins to worry.
This story made me feel very uneasy at times, which is actually a good thing. It rang true and makes me wonder whether this book wasn’t for me because I’m too old or because I really don’t want to relive these years.
I didn’t like any of the characters, which, for the character-driven reader I am, is a problem. I might have liked Elizabeth at first but she turned out to be way too closed-minded. I grew to respect Dot after a while and almost wish the story had been told from her point of view instead of Andie’s.
Telling the story from the point of view of a character who isn’t one of the mains involved in the romance is an interesting and bold choice. I can see how it might unsettle some readers but I rather liked it. At some point in the book, Andie, who is the least driven character in the whole story, wonders if she’s a secondary character in her own story, and is there anything more teenager-y than that? Some people, like Ivy or Dot, are lucky enough to know who they are and what they want from a pretty young age, but many others, especially queer kids, spend years finding themselves.
When I say I didn’t like any character, it’s not entirely true, I rather liked Andie’s parents, their strip club and the way they deal with the dad’s mental health issues. And I did like the three main characters a little more by the end.
That said, in all this rather depressing story (it’s not just the characters, there are pretty terrible things happening to them), there are some really good scenes, including a couple of epic ones. And it’s all very sex-positive, which is always a huge bonus. Except from Elizabeth, there is no judgement, no shame.
I was very tempted to give this book 3 stars because of how uncomfortable it made me feel but it wouldn’t be fair. It’s too well-written for that, and I’m also sure it will stay in my mind for a while.