Google+ Reading Teen: Envy by Gregg Olsen

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Envy by Gregg Olsen

by Gregg Olsen
Series: Empty Coffin #1
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Splinter; 1 edition (August 23, 2011)
Buy the book: Amazon
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.

This book is the first in a thriller series called Empty Coffin Novels. The name and the theme of the book is Envy. The main characters are twin sisters, Hayley and Taylor Ryan, who have some extraordinary abilities. Their father is a crime novelist and their mother is a psychiatric nurse at a state mental hospital. Given their parents' occupations, the girls are familiar with evil people and the things they do. However, they are still badly shaken when their classmate and neighbor, Katelynn, is discovered dead in her bathtub. While her death appears to have happened accidentally when an espresso machine falls into the tub, the twins feel that something just isn't right. And when the girls have a "feeling" it's not just a hunch. Taylor and Hayley use their perceptions and knowledge of the people involved to come to an understanding of what exactly happened to Katelynn.

"Envy" is definitely a suspenseful whodunit. Gregg Olsen is successful in weaving together a story with an abundance of twists and turns, nooks and crannies. There is a lot of back-story on almost every character in the book. Some is eventually told in the narrative or flashback but some is left out completely and I'm guessing will be made clear in future books. The story is complicated and not always clear. It was hard to understand some of the actions of the characters and why others didn't have to suffer the consequences of their actions. I thought that some of the descriptions, especially those concerning the autopsy, were pretty graphic. This is not a happy story even though it comes to a satisfying conclusion. I'm not sure that I would be interested in reading further stories in this series. It was just a bit too convoluted for my taste. I would love to hear other opinions on this book.
  • Sexual Content: Moderate
  • Profanity:  Heavy
  • Violence:  Heavy
  • Other Notables: Disturbing behaviors
For more details, check out Envy on


  1. Thanks for the balanced review! I'm a new subscriber and I'm enjoying your posts very much.

  2. I've had this one in my TBR stack for a while and STILL have not gotten to it. Shame, shame on me! It sounds interesting and Olson previously wrote adult thrillers so I am looking forward to this one. We'll see.

  3. Great review, mom! It actually made me interested in trying this one myself! I'm going to see if I can find it on audio! :D

  4. I agree with you on this one. I liked it for the point it was trying to make. I think the author struggled a bit with making realistic teens. The way that they talked and the texting throughout the book was confusing. Thanks for the great review!

  5. I have seen this book and thought about buying it, but I haven't really heard much about it. This is actually the first review I have read on it. I think I will wait a while to decide if I want to read it or not. It does sound interesting. Thanks for the great review.

  6. The cover of this one gives me shivers! Too bad the story doesn't really live up to it. Thanks for the review!


Leave us a comment. Commenting people are our favorites! And we like to give things to favorites :)