TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:
"Poison Ivy" is a short novel about a high school American government class that puts a trio of bullies ("the Anns") on trial for making Ivy's life miserable with their teasing. The story is told from the point of view of six different characters, including "Poison" Ivy, the object of ridicule who is so withdrawn that her classmates think she has no feelings; Daria, aka "Einstein," a shy, soft-spoken, intelligent classmate who is picked as Ivy's attorney, and who must suffer what is for her the unbearable torment of public speaking; Marco, a handsome, intelligent juror who comes to understand that the trial has no chance of succeeding; Cam, a sweet, sleepy, slightly spacey newcomer who is willing to take a stand against the Anns; and, of course, Ann herself, the chief bully and queen of the school.
While a bullying trial is a great premise, Koss' novel never fully delivers on its potential. The story feels unfinished, as if the reader has only an outline. For example, some characters, including Cam, are woefully underdeveloped, leaving the reader to try to guess at their motivations. Storylines involving Ivy's and Marco's parents are raised and then abruptly dropped. And, because Ivy is such a detached character — and since we never learn the details of the bullying — the story lacks an emotional punch. This book is okay, but readers may be disappointed in how the story is told and, without giving anything away, how it resolves itself.