Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy


Bad people always get what’s coming to them. Don’t they?

Koss (The Girls), with a fascinating premise, uses the authentic voices of eight diverse teens to create a "mock trial" in an American Government class. When loner Ivy confesses to her teacher that she has been taunted and teased for years by pretty, popular Ann and her sidekicks ("The Evil Three have been after me, feeding off me since fourth grade"), the woman sees the situation as an opportunity to model their study of the judicial system. The names of the lawyers for the plaintiff and defendants are randomly chosen from a paper bag, followed by the process of selecting a jury. Distinct personalities emerge from the narratives of the principle players: self-protectively aloof Ivy, who frequently uses fish analogies to describe herself ("so I swam upstream, alone against the current"); painfully shy and insecure Daria (the "best student"), who reluctantly assumes the role of Ivy's attorney; reflective, even-handed Marco, who is simultaneously entranced and disgusted by Ann; and the manipulative villainess herself, a study in superficiality and spite. The interactions among the students in and out of the "courtroom" offer readers intriguing and often disturbing perspectives on popularity, peer pressure, bullying and fairness. In the end, Marco best articulates the outcome: "Beauty wins and truth is irrelevant. Grim, isn't it?" Yes. And, in these pages, it's all too convincing.

 Biography - Amy Goldman Koss is the author of several highly praised teen novels including The Girls, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an ALA Quick Picks Top Ten selection, and an IRA Young Adult Choice; and The Cheat, an IRA-CBC Children’s Choice. Poison Ivy was praised by The Horn Book for its “honesty and unforgettable voice” and by Publishers Weekly as “fascinating and intriguing.” She lives in Glendale, CA, with her family.

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