Day 35: Envy by Gregg Olsen
Summary From Goodreads:
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.
Envy is a mixed bag. On one hand I enjoyed the story and was unable to put the book down until I had finished it. On the other, some of the writing drove me a bit crazy, as well as the point of views.
Envy uses multiple (and by that I mean somewhere around 10) points of view in order to share information with the reader. It is effective but it just feels a bit busy, too many thoughts from too many different people. Also, because we see the point of view of so many different characters the amount of info dumps to flesh them out is somewhat ridiculous. That type of information sharing goes on throughout the entire book, not just in the beginning like with most books that focus on one, or maybe two/three, point(s) of view.
As for the writing, it was little things, and more so in the beginning. For the first few chapters there was some variation of “something big is about to happen/everything is going to change” stated over and over again. I don’t really understand why, the reader can pretty much infer that important things are going to occur, it is the beginning of the book we are talking about. There were creepy lines that didn’t fit such as on page 39 “However, the girls felt no mercy for those who perpetrated evil intentionally. Their souls were dark and always would be.” Pretty serious stuff for teenagers and a bit over the top. Also, there were random words used that don’t make sense given that the audience is YA, such as with “scintilla” which essentially means a very small amount.
The “twin-sense”, especially the way it was written, kept making me think “wonder twin powers activate!” which I can’t imagine is a good thing when reading a book about figuring out why someone died.
However, like I said in the beginning part of the review, I did enjoy the story. There were clues for the reader to find along the way just as the sisters were and seeing if you can figure out “who done it” before the characters do is always fun. The plot twists were convincing and didn’t feel contrived. As for the main characters, though they did suffer from being very similar by default since they are twins, I enjoyed reading about them. They felt realistic (sans superpowers/twin telepathy) and were likable enough. Beth, the best friend of the twins, was done very well. She was a character that the reader was supposed to detest and by page 59 I officially wanted to dropkick her so mission accomplished!
Overall I thought Envy was a solid book. The story was there to work with and though the execution at times felt a bit off to me the experience was a good one. I already have Betrayal so I look forward to reading that sometime soon-ish and seeing how the story continues. If the positive elements of Envy are carried through and developed I think that book could be stellar. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 36!