Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes – Entangled Teen November 2013
I am going to be honest. I did not finish this book. Try as I might, I could not get through all the YA clichés. Halfway through, I felt like I could have taken Z and Liv, put them in a dozen other YA novels as the main characters, and it wouldn’t have changed either story one bit. In a market overloaded with YA books, characters and plots have to stand out. They have to be fresh, unique, remarkable in some way. Olivia Twisted and her characters just didn’t have any affect on me.
Olivia starts out strong. An orphan being shuffled to yet another foster home. I felt bad for her, but admired her and actually laughed at her horror of the “rooster” house – mainly because all I could think was, Dear God, it’s my mother’s kitchen. But Olivia quickly becomes like so many other female protagonists out there: weak and dull, allowing Z to mess with her life while she falls hopelessly for him, though as I reader I never understood the appeal.
Z (what kind of name is that? Only J.R. Ward can get away with that) starts out like dozens of other boys in YA novels. He’s arrogant, rude, controlling, and makes Olivia fall for him even as he constantly plays hot and cold with her, treating her well one moment and terribly the next. He’s basically Edward Cullen minus the fangs and glitter.
And here’s where the book turned south for me. Olivia is a smart girl. Good grades, good head on her shoulders, then along comes Z.Z. (and yes, I added Top every time I read that stupid name) and suddenly she is in love with a boy who might have slipped her the date rape drug and then pretended to save her. He screws with her grades, shows up at her work, and basically harasses her, yet she somehow still finds herself wildly attracted to him. I am so sick of these heroines who fall for guys like this.
As Z continued to screw with her life (getting her in trouble with her foster parents, forcing her to meet with him after school under the false pretense of tutoring), I’d had enough. I disliked Z, and I lost any respect or sympathy I had mustered for Liv. I just couldn’t finish the book because I no longer cared about the characters or what happened to them.