Thursday, September 20, 2012

review: envy by gregg olsen

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Best-selling true crime author Gregg Olsen’s first foray into young adult novels falls a little flat.  Envy is about twin girls (and their acquaintances) who are dealing with the death of a classmate.  The twins, Hayley and Taylor, have a feeling Katelyn didn’t kill herself as everyone believes.  They use their special powers and a bit of sleuthing to find the truth. 

My first criticism of Envy is the constant creation of false suspense by withholding information.  The characters continually find out an important piece of information, but the reader is left in the dark.  Olsen also feels the need to describe every little thing in great detail.  Although I live near Envy’s setting of Port Gamble, WA, I didn’t care to know that the characters go to the mall in Silverdale and buy groceries at Central Market in Poulsbo.  With sentences like “As a blast of icy air blew in from her open bedroom window, the silver razor blade next to the half-empty bottle of Tea Tree shampoo glinted, beckoning her,” and “There wasn’t enough Smashbox on earth to cover the splotches that came with her tears,” appearing on the first page, I wondered if I was reading a book with a lot of forced product placement.  And one last thing:  Do kids really text with crazy spellings the way they do in Envy?  It was almost like reading another language I only slightly understood.
Review copy provided by Book It Northwest.

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