REVIEW: The Ivy by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur


Freshman year at Harvard--glamorous parties, blossoming friendships, steamy romances, and scandalous secrets. Skip the campus tour and get right to the good stuff: classes are for scoping guys (and their Facebook profiles), not taking notes. The library is for study dates (the medieval history stacks get a lot of action), not studying. And success is a 4.0 GPA... plus getting into the most exclusive parties. How will Callie--a California girl with brains, beauty, and big dreams--and her three roommates survive?

Get admitted to The Ivy, the first book in a provocative new series about the world of the Ivy League.

Title: The Ivy
Author: Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
Format: ARC, 312 pages
Genre: young adult
Source: review copy
Published: September 2010
Buy the book:
The Book DepositoryAmazon

My Thoughts
The first thing that caught my attention was the cover. I love how the title dominates the cover; all lowercase, big and bold and the way it sits against the wrought iron design. (At first glance, I had thought the background was roses.) When I first heard of The Ivy, the blurb wasn’t what you see up there; it was short and mysterious:

When Callie arrives for her freshman year at Harvard, she encounters her three vastly different roommates, new friendships, steamy romance, and scandalous secrets.

It had me at steamy romance and scandalous secrets. When I received a copy of The Ivy, the back of the book didn’t reveal too much either:

What is freshman life at Harvard University really like? Best friends and 2008 Harvard graduates Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur launch their series with this hilarious, romantic, sexy, and shocking novel about friendship, growing up, love, and – oh yeah – higher education.

When I first started the book, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It took me a while to get into the storyline but when I did I was hooked. The Ivy, first in a series, is mainly about Callie Andrews and her journey into the world of socializing, guys and fitting in at Harvard. She is not your typical Harvard student, most of which are rich East Coasters. She’s a pretty mellow girl from California. She was an avid soccer player but is out for the rest of the season, possibly longer, thanks to a busted ACL. Left behind in California are her boyfriend Evan who’s going to UCLA and her BFF Jessica. Callie and Evan have been dating for 2 years and have vowed to call each other every day. That rule is quickly broken with each being busy with their new roles in college life. Not to mention the long distance thing is already taking its toll.

Callie is moving into the Wigglesworth Dormitory (doesn’t that make you think of Harry Potter?) when she drops one of her boxes and her “intimates'” spill all over the floor in front of a guy. This guy, Gregory, is good looking and cocky and happens to be her neighbor from across the hall. He’s roomies with Adam (the quiet, nerd type), Okechuwuku (he goes by OK and says he’s a prince) and Matt (the male equivalent of Callie). Callie shares a room with Marine Aurélie Clémont (goes by Mimi for short) who is from France, Vanessa Von Vorhees from New York (typical Harvard student) and Dana Gray, the Jesus-freak who pretty much stays to herself.

It may seem like there is a lot of characters to follow but it’s not overwhelming. The secondary characters are strong and interesting and play a role in the overall storyline.

As soon as I finished the last page, I rushed to Goodreads, to find out if this book is part of a series. Good thing it is. Otherwise I would have throw this book at the wall for the ending that it left me with. The ending was like watching the season finale of [insert your favorite TV show here] with that ultimate, climatic, cliffhanger moment that leaves you hanging in the balance for months on end wondering what’s going to happen. You saw how things have started to unraveled and now you’re dying to know what will follow. That’s how I felt when I read the last page of The Ivy.

Just as the blurb promises, there are steamy romances (quite a tangled web I might add) and scandalous secrets. The Ivy will have you laughing, gasping out loud and will leave you wanting more. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series plays out.

The Ivy was co-written by two best friends who were roommates at Harvard. And in case you’re wondering (like I was) how much of The Ivy is based on actual events, the authors aren’t spilling.

Lauren and I were roommates and best friends for all four years at Harvard. We graduated in 2008. We started collaborating on this book when we were juniors. We swore to never tell how much of it is actually true.

-Rina Onur, on Goodreads

The Book Vixen’s Rating

Where to find Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur online
Rina’s blog | Lauren on Twitter | Rina on Twitter

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. I just got offered to review this today! I am so excited for it!

  2. Thanks for taking part in Radiant Reviews and for putting my button in your sidebar :)

    I haven't heard of this book before but I love that cover (I thought it was roses too until you mentioned that it wasn't!). It sounds like a great book and I'm definitely intrigued by how much of it might be based on real life at Harvard. Great review!

  3. Nice blog! I'm following you. =) My book home is at Ruz's Bookshelves

  4. I really enjoyed this book and I ordered the sequel. I like the atmosphere. It's like I was in Harvard. Thank you for the piece of info about the authors !


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