In this second book of a post-apocalyptic duology, Ivy braves the world beyond the guarded fence surrounding her home, Westfall.
In The Book of Ivy (2014), 16-year-old Ivy Westfall fell in love with Bishop Lattimer—the man her family wanted her to murder. This sequel begins after Ivy is forced into the wilderness. Though she has few survival skills, she fights off an attack from Mark Laird, the exiled psychopath from the first book. Severely injured, Ivy travels as far as she can before collapsing and being aided by residents of a small, self-sufficient community. Despite their help, Ivy’s not sure if she can trust them after she realizes they know Mark. When Bishop shows up, Ivy must also confront her fears of vulnerability. Shocking news from Westfall galvanizes Ivy to return with a bold plan. In the first book, Ivy’s central problem was loyalty; here, it’s trust, which isn’t as compelling: few must decide between murdering a husband and obeying family, but it’s not unusual to fear disclosure and intimacy. That aside, Engel makes good use of her setting; the fight for survival on the cusp of winter stokes the sense of danger in a way that matches Ivy’s roiling feelings, and the love story moves with the slow-growing heat that Ivy needs.
A satisfying conclusion to an intriguing duet. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 14-18)