Monday, November 25, 2013

[Review: Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes]

"Olivia Twisted"
Author: Vivi Barnes
Series: None
Pages: 352
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Retellings
Date Published: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: EntangledTeen
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher for honest review



He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.

At least at this moment, I don’t care.

Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…


I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.

It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.

Except that she’s not.

Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.

My Thoughts:

Olivia Twisted is an interesting retelling that flips Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist into something more assessable to the modern teen.  It stays fairly true to the original, though Barnes doesn't make it quite as dark as the original.  (which can either be a good call or a not so good one, depending on how dark you like your books)  It's got a lot of the same themes and yet also provides a high dose of romance, which ended up working better than I thought it would.  I can't tell you that I'm well versed in Oliver Twist, the novel, but I am familiar with the musical and a few of the movies.  I just can't get into Dickens' writing style and trust me, I've tried.

This book also played into my nerdy side.  It was cool that Barnes decided to use hacking instead of normal everyday theft and it was a brilliant decision.  She also managed to keep it all on a level that made it easy to understand for everyone, which is a good thing in my eyes.  It was kinda fun to see a whole bunch of teenage hackers running around a mansion stealing money.  It made sense for the retelling and it really worked for the plot as well.

Olivia was an interesting character.  She was primarily a good girl who just couldn't get out of a bad situation.  Seriously, weird stuff followed her around.  Barnes really had fun playing with her internal conflict and it really worked and helped you get to know her main character.  Plus, once the love story comes in Olivia really gets twisted (as in she doesn't know what she really wants)

Z was the bad boy with a heart of gold.  He's also a player.  I think it would have been a bit interesting is he would have been a bit more of a bad boy, but at the same time that might have been a little weird.  He was interesting and caused a lot of internal conflict in Olivia and himself.  Plus the way he liked to stick his foot in his mouth was always entertaining.

The book is told in duel POV, switching between Z and Olivia.  It worked here, better than I would have guessed.  The voices were distinct and really blended well to tell the story.  Plus, I think it made the romance feel a bit more real.  Cause Z was a tough nut to crack and it was nice to be able to see what he was thinking.

The rest of the characters filled their roles well too.  You had Bill and Nancy and a handful of other hackers who filled the roles of the other thieves from the original tale.  It was cool to see more female roles placed into things.  

Overall Olivia Twisted was a great retelling that hit all the right notes and will introduce a whole younger generation to one of the classic stories in literature.  

Actual Rating: 3.5
    I liked it a lot, but it had it's issues!


Jess said...

I'm glad you liked it! I have the ARC and have been debating picking up sooner rather than later.

Nicole said...

Oo I'm intrigued!! I love that this is a retelling of Oliver Twist and I really enjoy stories with computer hacking because I not-so-secretly wish I had this skill! Really glad you enjoyed this one, adding it to the TBR!

Aly said...

Ooohhh, I hadn't heard of this one before but I really like retellings. I haven't read Oliver Twist since middle school, so I might have to check this out!

Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

Kirsty-Marie Jones said...

Glad you enjoyed it! I just couldn't get into it at all, but I'm not really a fan of anything Oliver Twist anyway, so that probably had a hand in it. Great review. :)

Kirsty-Marie Jones said...

Glad you enjoyed it! I just couldn't get into it at all, but I'm not really a fan of anything Oliver Twist anyway, so that probably had a hand in it. Great review. :)