Thursday, June 28, 2012

Envy and Betrayal

Empty Coffin Series by Gregg Olsen 

               Envy (book 1) 
               Publication Date: August 23, 2011

               Young Adult, Ages 12 

               ISBN 978-1-4027-8957-1 used for review.

               Personal Ranking 4 out of 5

Nothing seems to be going right for Katelyn Berkley. She has drifted away from her group of friends and now that she didn't make the cheerleading squad her best friend won't talk to her. Unable to talk to her mom, she is lonely and depressed. But was she desperate enough to kill herself?

The night Katelyn was found dead in her bathtub everything changed for twins Taylor and Hayley Ryan. They are drawn by reasons they can't explain to figure out the truth about what really happened to Katelyn. But the deeper they get into the mystery, the more information about their own past seems to come to light which will change everything.

Betrayal (book 2)
Expected Publication Date: September 4, 2012

Young Adult, Ages 12+

ARC used for review.

Personal Ranking 4 out of 5

Olivia Grant only wanted to get out of London, and dreamed of the beautiful people and sunny life waiting for her as an exchange student in America. But cold and damp Washington was nothing like the Hollywood, California she expected to come to. However, on Halloween night she is brutally murdered like a slasher film extra and everyone is stumped as to why.

The small town of Port Gamble is still on edge after the shocking death of Katelyn Berkley less than a year ago. Now with their best friend Beth on the suspect list, Taylor and Hayley Ryan decide to use their instincts to investigate on their own. But just how deep do the secrets in their small town go?

Wow! When the ARC of Betrayal crossed my desk I knew this was one that I would have to read. Of course, I had to start with Envy, as the first book in the series. If the cover isn't enough to grab you, the plot will. One of the things I loved the most about Envy and Betrayal is that even though the stories are fictionalized and set in this quite, small town the basis of the stories are truth. Envy was inspired by the October 17, 2006, suicide of Megan Meier, who was cyberbullied by her neighbor's mother. For this reason I would love to use Envy as a book discussion title with young adult women, maybe even with their mothers. Elements of Betrayal's storyline came from the Amanda Knox case. Both cases show just how much evil there is in the world and that it can happen right in your backyard. Like all good "based on truth" stories, I love his "Truth in Fiction" summary at the end of each book.

For those who are obsessed with the paranormal but are sick of the vampire/werewolf/witch fade, you will love the Ryan twins. Their extra abilities are not over done, and add an extra level of mystery and intregue to the story. I really want to know what happens next. It is bad enought that Betrayal includes a teaser for the third book, Guilty. I am not sure how patiently I will be able to wait for future books.

The Author's note in the beginning of Envy says it all to me. "While most people don't invite evil into their lives, the dirty little secret is that an invitation isn't necessary. Locked doors don't matter. Neither do fancy security systems. Evil is kind of amazing when you think about it. She knows how to get inside."

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