Saturday, November 16, 2013

Review: Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes

Title: Olivia Twisted
Author: Vivi Barnes
Source: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Class Retelling
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Reviewed by: Jasmyn


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.

A little disclosure on my part - I'm not a fan of Charles Dickens writing style, but I have always loved the idea behind Oliver Twist.  

Olivia has had a hard life with few bright spots scattered here and there.  As a foster kid she has learned to take care of herself and keep people at a distance so she doesn't get hurt when it's time to move on again.  Her most recent move and change of schools has brought her into the Z's (yes that is what he's called) world.  Z is instantly attracted to Olivia's skills on the computer - but he's intentions aren't all that great.

As Z pulls Olivia deeper and deeper into the world of hackers, Olivia is going to have to make some very tough decisions about the morality of what she is being asked to do.  Throughout this struggle, Vivi Barnes manages to include some wonderful references straight from Oliver Twist that made me grin each time.  

A story full of growth and growing up on every page.  Both Olivia and Z are some of the most dynamic characters I've seen.  This is very important as the story reaches it's incredible climatic high point that had me sitting on the edge of my seat praying for everything to work out well.  Vivi Barnes seems to have captured the spirit of Oliver Twist and brought it to a new life in today's world with today's problems and issues.  This was a slam dunk all the way.

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