Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kinsey and Karla Book Review Part I--Envy by Gregg Olsen

Envy by Gregg Olsen

Review by Karla Accorto

3 Stars

This month, Kinsey and I selected Envy by Gregg Olsen. It is a fictional story inspired by a true crime. Envy begins with the death of Katelyn Berkley, a fifteen year old girl. It appears to be an accident, or possibly even suicide. However, twin sisters Hayley and Taylor Ryan- old friends of Katelyn- believe differently; they think it was murder. The two girls work to figure out what really happened to Katelyn, aided by the supernatural gifts that they were born with. They try desperately to put together the pieces, leading them to the very surprising conclusion.

At first glance, Envy seemed like a typical murder mystery or thriller. Once I actually started reading, though, I discovered it was much better classified in the paranormal/supernatural genre. I was somewhat disappointed with the book. When I find a book that really interests me, I can read it easily in a day or two. Envy took me several weeks to get through. The beginning 100+ pages were a struggle for me to get past. After about page 120-125, though, I flew through it in a day. It could be due to the fact that this genre does not typically interest me, but looking at it objectively, I also believe that the beginning plot moved slowly. It was definitely an interesting story line, but just hard to get into at the start. I was also disappointed with the author’s portrayal of the three main characters: Hayley, Taylor, and Katelyn. I had a very hard time distinguishing Hayley from Taylor throughout most of the book and I really wished that I was able to experience Katelyn some more. Hayley and Taylor appeared to be such complex characters that I really wanted to learn more about what makes them different, instead of just the same.The author, Gregg Olsen did an excellent job creating many of the supporting characters, though, which was definitely a plus. These included Katelyn’s family, Taylor and Hayley’s family, and Katelyn’s best friend, Starla and her family. The setting of the story was great, too, in a sleepy, historical small town. I found that part to be really relatable and well-crafted. The mechanics of Mr. Olsen’s writing were spectacular, as well. His sentences flowed nicely and his vocabulary was superb. There was nothing left to be desired there. The last few sentences of some of the chapters reminded me a lot of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars, mainly due to the foreshadowing and intrigue. I loved PLL so that really made me excited for Envy. Envy had a pretty tidy ending, which I also liked, but also left it open enough for a sequel, due out this fall. I also liked that it was written in a third person narrative. Normally, I cannot stand reading a book written in third person, but for Envy it just seemed so fitting. It allowed the reader to see every little thing that was happening and how it was connected to Katelyn, as opposed to just what Hayley and Taylor had uncovered.

This was an interesting selection for Kinsey and me because our opinions seem to differ on it. She read it first and encouraged me to finish it, saying that it would be worth it. She agrees that the beginning was slow, but believes it picks up at around page 50, whereas I believe it doesn’t until around 100. She really enjoyed the book and I feel that I neither liked nor disliked it- right in the middle. All I can say is that next month, Kinsey, I’m picking the book! J To hear the rest of her opinion, you’ll have to read her review. As for me, I give Envy three out of five stars.


  1. Thank you, Karla, for your thoughtful review. I'm happy you found some things to like about Envy. I'm finishing up book 2 and I'm paying attention to my readers.

    Gregg Olsen

    1. From Karla:
      Thank you, Mr. Olsen, for your response! Even if the genre itself was not for me, I cannot deny that Envy was an incredibly well written & I hope to some day be able to write as well as you! (:
      Sincerely, Karla