5 stars · fiction · mystery · young adult

Envy by Gregg Olsen

Envy

Author: Gregg Olsen

Pages [hardcover]: 352

Empty Coffin #1

Favorite Characters: Taylor & Hayley

Summary:

Murder is such a dirty word…

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.

Review:

Because I’m just starting to get into crime writing, I wondered whether I’d like Envy, even if it was young adult. But I shouldn’t have doubted that gorgeous cover (the greatest mix of creepy/mystery/curiosity I’ve seen in a while) because from the first page, I couldn’t put this book down.

The novel switches points of view several times, mainly focusing on the twins, Taylor and Hayley, as they look into their not-really-a-friend, Katelyn’s, death. There are a host of original, interesting characters to back them up, from the reporter that seems intent on stalking their lives to the woman next door who never leaves her house. Even the most minor ones seemed to have something gripping and real about them.

The plot twisted and turned in ways that I could never have expected, and I loved that! I wanted to figure out what had happened to Katelyn, and what was going on with the twins, but only began to suspect about a page before I was actually told what was going on. With so many books easily predictable, Envy definitely different in that respect. And what makes it even more interesting is that nearly all of it is based on a true crime.

The only complaint I have is that sometimes it felt like the writing was strained into being some representation of what someone who isn’t a young adult thinks that young adults talk like. Or text like. One of my favorite parts of the book was that it showed text conversations between some characters. Yet the words were abbreviated so much, it was obvious that it was more work to figure out how to not spell out a word than to actually do so. No one I know would text like that.

Despite that tiny detail, I loved Envy, and give it 5/5 stars. I really hope to continue on with this series, and see where it goes from here! I recommend this to anyone, even those who haven’t read crime/murder mysteries. I haven’t, and I ended up enjoying it immensely.

Envy is set to release Sept. 6, 2011! Look for it in stores then, or preorder it now!

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