Sunday, October 2, 2011

Envy (Empty Coffins #1) Review


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 (goodreads).


This is a stunning novel that interlaces a serious topic such a cyber bullying with great character background and a good amount of paranormal elements. Even the layout of the book was noteworthy!

Katelyn Berkley is found dead in her bathtub Christmas night. An espresso machine was found next to her in the tub. Everyone has written this off as accidental and some are whispering that it is a suicide because Katelyn was "kind of messed up." Taylor and Hayley, two twin girls with a unique gift don't believe that it was suicide, they're sure that Katelyn was murdered. They rely on their special gift to piece together moments in Katelyn's past and try to stop a family secret from going public. 

Gregg Olsen is a wonderful storyteller. I've read books that are written from the first person perspective, there is sometimes the occasional alternating point of view between two people, but Olsen explores all of the key characters. Not only was it engaging, the writing style made sure that every character had his or her own proper voice. While it seems that the focus of this novel is the two twins, it's obvious that Katelyn Berkly is the true main character. Every action, every memory is somehow related to Katelyn or her grieving family. The paranormal elements of the novel really kept the story interesting, especially in the end when some information is revealed. The backbone of this story deals with the very serious topic of cyberbullying. This novel was actually based on the terrible tragedy that happened a few years back to a Missouri teen. 

 Also, Olsen uses different fonts and symbols throughout the book. There was a scene where the twins were decoding a message with scrabble cubes, the author actually used a font that resembled scrabbled blocks. Everything about the book format was just fun!

This was a great and intriguing novel. The constant change of perspective and the constant flipping back and forth between the past and present made this novel a very enjoyable novel with a very mature theme. Although I really appreciate that Olsen brought this real-life tragedy to surface with his novel, I can't wait to read to read something that is 100% Olsen's story. 

I recommend this novel for mystery lovers and those interested in social issuse!


  1. Oh this sounds so good and I love the cover! Great review. I love it when I hear that characters are well developed with distinct voices. I'll definitely be reading this one!

    Xpresso Reads

  2. I adore the cover, and of course, the story sounds amazing. I am even more excited to read this than I was before now that I've read your review.

  3. I'm intrigued about the mystery + serious issue combination.


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