Tuesday 13 December 2011

Review: Envy by Gregg Olsen

Envy (Empty Coffin, #1)Envy by Gregg Olsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
New York Times bestselling adult true crime author Gregg Olsen makes his YA debut with EMPTY COFFIN, a gripping new fiction series for teens based on ripped-from-the-headlines stories…with a paranormal touch.

Crime lives--and dies--in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen--and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town's victims and culprits.
Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins' old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out--and as they investigate, they stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined.
Based on the shocking true crime about cyber-bullying, Envy will take you to the edge--and push you right over.

Book 1 in the Empty Coffin Series

Envy plunges straight into the drama without pausing for introduction. Within a few pages a girl has died and the small close-knit town of Port Gamble is thrown into speculation and suspicion. Was it a suicide, an accident or murder? Added to this is the mystery surrounding the characters who are main focus of the story- twins Hayley and Taylor, who were friends with the dead girl and are determined to find out what really happened to her, and whose eerie psychic powers are only gradually revealed. The twins use their "special gifts" to try to find answers.

The story becomes a mystery story as the twins work at finding the evidence that the police missed, and piecing together the clues. Intertwined with this who-dunnit plotline is the connection to the memory of a school bus accident years ago, and hints to a secret about the twin's powers which has been long buried. Tying all of these threads together is a nosy reporter investigating all three stories and working out the connection between them.

I liked the mix of characters in this, and the sense of real teens, but also the fact that we see things from the parent's perspective as well. We see some of their history and memories, and the teens are involved in the family as a whole (something that seems to be lacking in YA fiction a lot lately).

Envy is definitely one of those books that doesn't hide the fact that bad things happen. There is tragedy, and heartache and evil and none of it is sugarcoated. This is a grim and gritty, emotional, dark read, encapsulating the pain of loss and the guilt of those left behind. The middle section of the book felt like not a lot was happening, however the ending definitely made up for it- with shock revelations, new surprises, and twists and turns that kept me guessing right until the very end. Hayley and Taylor race to uncover the truth about about their friend, and to keep certain secrets about their past from being exposed to the world. The paranormal aspect of the story was intriguing and I definitely feel that there is more to tell and more to come from Hayley and Taylor.

Olsen has skillfully woven a suspense/ true crime novel into a dark and twisty YA paranormal story. This is definitely original!

Thanks to UK Book Tours for passing me this book to read and review.

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