Envy by Gregg Olsen Book Review

Sunday, October 25, 2015

I discovered this book sitting on the shelves of my local library, and I was instantly intrigued by what it was about. I usually read a lot of fantasy books, so the paranormal aspects really appealed to me, and I'm also a huge fan of mystery novels, so I could instantly tell that this would be a book that I'd thoroughly enjoy. I started it almost immediately after borrowing it from the library and finished it within a couple of days since it was incredibly addictive and I couldn't put it down. As I was amazed by this book and loved reading it, I thought I'd review if for you guys, so I hope you like this post! 

"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."
The two main protagonists of this young adult book are twins, Taylor and Hayley Ryan. I feel like Gregg Olsen did a great job at developing them and making each girl a unique character, with some traits similar and others individual to them. There's often a common occurrence in young adult books where twins are portrayed as virtually the same person, with only slight differences to make them distinguishable. Hayley and Taylor are a much more realistic representation of twins and I feel like they were cleverly created to show some unique traits right from the start.

The other characters in the book were all developed and fleshed out more than I was expecting, especially the parents in the novel, which is uncommon in young adult books, where the parents can be flat, one-dimensional characters. I feel like, with characters such as Kevin Ryan, Gregg Olsen was able to include a lot of detail, as the character is similar to himself, which was a nice touch. Initially, I found it quite hard to keep track of all of the characters, since there was quite a few introduced in such a short space of time, but I got to know them really well by the end of the novel and I loved seeing how their stories and experiences gradually intertwined with one another.

The story of this novel is true to any murder mystery – filled with false trails and misdirection. I feel as though Gregg Olsen was particularly good at involving this in Envy and I fell into the trap often, being unsuccessful in discovering who the killer was before the big reveal. This shows that the novel was well-written and had no obvious giveaways, even for someone who reads a lot and is usually good at predicting what will happen like myself.

Envy itself has a really nice pace; not moving too quick that it’s hard to keep up but not dragging out small events so they seem to last forever. The course of events unfolded quite nicely and I feel as though it was really successful in creating an engrossing and unpredictable story. I think that this was due to Gregg Olsen having knowledge of the topic. Often with YA books, the author doesn’t know much about what they’re writing about and the novel is subsequently quite brief and underdeveloped. However, this certainly wasn’t the case with Envy, which I was thrilled by.

One of the things that I disliked about Envy was the text message excerpts that were occasionally included. Although they added another dimension to the story, the excessive use of symbols and abbreviations meant that they were almost impossible to comprehend. Furthermore, they were quite untrue to how teenagers actually text. In my opinion, the excerpts would have been a lot better if they were easier to read, as this still relates to the cyberbullying theme of the book without being too difficult to understand. 

I was completely shocked when I realised that this book was actually based on a true story. Although a lot of it is entirely fictional, some elements were inspired from the suicide of a teenage girl called Megan Meier back in October 2006. It’s really upsetting to hear this as is shows that issues like bullying and peer pressure affect us in the real world, not just in novels. Envy did a great job of portraying this whilst also educating people about it, showing the deadly consequences of issues such as cyberbullying.

Overall, I thought that this book was very engrossing and I truly enjoyed reading it. It was quite a quick read and I managed to finish it in a couple of days, so I wish that it would've been longer and even more developed. Aside from this, I found this book to keep me guessing for the entirety of the story and I was left eager to read the sequel, which will hopefully contain some of the unanswered questions that weren't resolved at the end. I'd definitely recommend this book to someone looking for a thrilling murder mystery that is still in the young adult genre and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.


  1. Oo looks like a must-read!
    Jabeen x

    1. I'd definitely recommend it as I really enjoyed it! x

  2. This looks like such a good book! Text messages like that are a bit of a pet peeve of mine in novels, no one actually texts using all the abbreviated terms and numbers and I find it stops the flow of the story a bit. I'll have to look into this, this post has really intrigued me :)

    Lucy xx


    1. It really is, I'd definitely recommend trying it out! I agree, as text messages really do annoy me, but I managed to tolerate it as this book was worth reading. You're welcome and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! xx