The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)

Overall Content



Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking


Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty


Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood


Potentially Intense Themes


The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)

Amy Engel   

What would you kill for?
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.
This year, it was my turn.
My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son- my soon-to-be husband- and return the Westfall family to power.
But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He night even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.
Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…
Excerpt taken from back cover of book.






Bas****- 1

Religious cursing

G**- 9

Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking

People are drinking champagne at a party, some are underage.

Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty

There are arranged marriages.  Procreation is promoted at a young age. They are married as early as 16.

It eludes to the wedding night, that they will have to go home together but no more details.   There are also jokes about not wanting to wait and see what’s under her dress, or not being able to wait anymore. There is a question that hangs throughout the book as to when they will be intimate. At one point she curses herself for talking to him late at night because she thinks it’s a precursor to getting her into bed. Because of the plan, she knows she will say yes.

A man is standing in a towel shaving.  She gives him a small, quick kiss on his bare shoulder.  He goes to the bedroom to change and tells her he’s going to drop the towel.

A young woman gets out of her clothes, revealing a sporty bikini swimsuit underneath.  She feels awkward with so little covering her. The young man she is with takes off his shirt.

A young wife is in a tank top and underwear in the middle of the night.  Her husband looks her up and down.

A young wife is in a tank top and underwear and pats the empty bed beside her telling her husband she doesn’t want to sleep alone, but isn’t ready for sex.  He is in just boxer shorts and lays next to her. She wraps her leg his waist and he has his fists in her tank top. They kiss passionately and touch each others bodies.  The desire is evident and she is worried about not being able to stop, even though she said she wasn’t ready yet. After imagining him touching her chest lightly she stops touching his, knowing it would feel too good.  They fall asleep spooning and holding hands.

When laying in bed together, a young wife rolls her husband over and straddles him, talking to him, then gets off and goes to sleep.  Her husband has his hand up her shirt, on her stomach.

Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood

A young woman plans to kill her husband.  At one point she wants to grab a cake knife and kill him in front of many people.  Her sister and dad have a plan for her to fulfill which includes killing her husband and his dad.  The plan is referred to many times. At one point she dreams of killing him with a knife in his chest or putting a bullet in his head or smothering him in his sleep.

Guards at the courthouse carry guns.  Police do not carry guns routinely. Guns are outlawed and batons or martial arts are used in their place.

There is a small arsenal of guns in the basement of the courthouse.

A young girl hopes a young man will nail a hammer through his hand.  

A young man falls from his roof and lands in a way where it is obvious he has broken bones.  Later inspection shows the bone poking through.

There is a neighboring couple where the husband grabs his wife’s arm too tightly and requests something else for breakfast.  There is also a time when she comes outside with a black eye and a limp. At a neighborhood party, she makes pie instead of shortcake and her husband slaps her in front of the guests.

Violence is a common for couples.  The marriages are arranged from two different social classes so the differences often come out in anger.

A man had a young woman’s mother killed when the girl was young.  When the girl is grown, she’s sitting at a table with him and wants to rake her nails down his face as he speaks of her mother.  

If people break the law, they are put outside the city and abandoned.  Many people die from small crimes as well as big ones.

A young woman has to do small interviews with prisoners about to be put outside the city.  They are begging and pleading for help. One prisoner raped a 9 year old girl and carved his name in her belly.  

Surveying parties have gone out to see what is of the land past the city walls.  Very few return. They were attacked, and everything was stolen.

A young man tries to give food and water to those outside the fence.  One girl is practically dead as he tries to help her. The next time he goes out, the girl is still there and the stench of death is strong.  Her face is dark purple, she has been strangled and her skirt is lifted up showing multiple bruises along her upper thighs.

A young wife is handed poison to give to her husband.  She expected something that involved sharp knives and bulging eyes.  The poison will be placed in the food at the market also so nobody expects her.  The person who gave it to her says her husband might not be the only casualty. She decides instead of killing her husband, she will have to hurt herself instead.  She leaves an anonymous note intended for the police about poisoning him. She is sentenced and when being taken outside, she screams and screams trying to get to someone, but is dragged outside and hit upon the head where she passes out.  When she wakes, she is outside the fence.

Potentially Intense Themes

A young woman is being forced to marry.

Nuclear war happened two generations ago.  They are still feeling the effects of it, socially and  economically.

A woman hangs herself in the tree in her front yard.  Her first love lives across the street.

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