“Poison Ivy” by Amy Goldman Koss

29 Sep


"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is told from the point of view of six different characters, including "Poison" Ivy, the object of ridicule who is so withdrawn that her classmates think she has no feelings; Daria, aka "Einstein," a shy, soft-spoken, intelligent classmate who is picked as Ivy's attorney, and who must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.


Posted by on September 29, 2006 in Uncategorized


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12 responses to ““Poison Ivy” by Amy Goldman Koss

  1. Anonymous

    September 30, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    I thought Poison Ivy was a Great Book!

    • Anonymous

      January 22, 2008 at 9:16 pm

      I agree with the reviews. This book is boring and not interesting AT ALL!!

      • mel1317

        January 23, 2008 at 3:33 pm

        Thanks for sharing your opinion. I reviewed “Firegirl” in this blog, which I think is a more interesting take on middle school dynamics. It vividly conveyed how one person can be treated like a total outsider by her peers. Maybe you’d like to give that one a shot?

        Here’s the link if you want to learn more — “Firegirl”.

    • pearlbarrister

      March 5, 2009 at 2:36 am

      I loved it!

      I do not agree with some of the reviews. I liked this book a lot, even though there were some parts that seemed shallow, I thought it was totally awesome.
      But that’s just my opinion.

      • mel1317

        March 17, 2009 at 10:09 pm

        Re: I loved it!

        And your opinion is completely valid! Just because this book wasn’t for me doesn’t mean that you and some of our other readers won’t enjoy it. I’m so glad when people challenge my reviews, because then folks out there can get a better idea of whether they’ll like a certain book or not. Thanks for sharing your views!

  2. Anonymous

    February 10, 2007 at 2:59 am

    Thank you for reading and mentioning my book! (even if you didn’t love it) all best, Amy Goldman koss

    • Anonymous

      September 1, 2007 at 3:20 pm

      I love your books, Amy Goldman Koss

      From “The Girls”, “Side Effects” and “Poison Ivy”…as a mother of five teenage daughters, you have become a favorite author in our house. The youngest is on the road to becoming an author herself, modeling after you. Thank you for your gift!

      • mel1317

        September 13, 2007 at 12:57 pm

        Re: I love your books, Amy Goldman Koss

        Thanks for your feedback. Since you’re a fan of Amy, I thought you might like to visit her Myspace page. Here’s the link: Amy’s Page. Happy reading!

  3. mel1317

    June 25, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks so much for your comment.

    For readers who may be interested, “Touching Spirit Bear” is a story about one angry, violent teen’s unusual punishment — he is banished to an Alaskan island as part of an alternative prison sentence based on Native American Circle Justice. You can learn more by clicking here.

  4. Anonymous

    August 20, 2008 at 7:14 pm


    this book was like sooooo bad!!

    • mel1317

      August 21, 2008 at 2:50 pm

      Re: EWW

      Heh … yeah, as you saw in my review, I’m inclined to agree with you. Thanks for the comment!

    • Anonymous

      November 24, 2011 at 12:34 am

      Re: EWW

      it is


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