But I won't let anything control me, not magic or fear or even a beautiful boy.

I selected House of Ivy and Sorrow because of what can only be called a pretty-ass cover. I love the trend to make titles so prominent, and the fonts so elaborate and pretty. Considering that the book is about a family of witches, the magical feel is apropos.

Josephine is a witch from a long line of witches. Her last name is the completely non-witchy Hemlock. Yeah. Her family for many generations has been targeted with a curse, the origin unknown. Jo's mother died of the curse. There are indications she is next.

There's a standard issue love triangle. This is mandatory in YA with a female protagonist.

But what I like is that the book is chock full of strong, loyal females. Jo's central dilemma is if she will give up her power to one of the boys in the triangle who promises he can then save her, or if she will find another way.

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Some of the writing seemed a little elementary, even for YA — I could have handled more complexity — but I did like the scenes with Jo and her friends and Jo and her grandmother. Because of these the ending seemed powerful in a very Buffy/Veronica Mars way.