THE IVIES BY ALEXA DONNE
“The Ivies” by Alexa Donne is a YA novel that follows five high-achieving students at Caflin Academy as they compete for admission into the most sought-after colleges. Told from the perspective of Olivia, a scholarship student, the story drops readers immediately into a web of both thrilling and unsettling manipulation, sabotage, and deceit orchestrated by her and the other four members of “The Ivies”: Emma, Margo, Sierra, Avery.
Avery (the self-appointed leader) had dictated that the girls that they each pick a different Ivy college to apply to, both to increase their chance of admission and to avoid internal competition inside the group. Avery had claimed Harvard as her own however both Olivia and Emma applied in secret. Harvard rejects Avery but Olivia and Emma are accepted. Olivia stays quiet about her own acceptance, but Emma admits hers, and there is huge drama between Avery and Emma. The next day Emma is dead.
After Emma’s murder, Olivia starts to question everything she knows about her friends and the cutthroat world of elite college admissions. As she delves deeper into the investigation, she realizes that her friends may be willing to do whatever it takes – including murder – to get ahead. Although Olivia receives ominous threats, she refuses to leave the investigation alone, and as a reader, you are thankful she keeps digging!
This story explores themes of ambition, competition, race, and privilege, and raises questions about the toxic culture of elite schools and the pressures that students face to succeed. It is a suspenseful and twisty thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end. Fans of Karen McManus will surely enjoy this title.