Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review: Twisted Fate by Norah Olson

Pages: 272
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: January 20, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "When Alyson meets Graham Copeland, the new boy next door, she instantly feels like he’s a kindred spirit—shy and awkward like her, someone who has trouble making friends. It’s impossible to resist having a crush on him.  As usual, her sister, Sydney, sees things differently. In Sydney's mind, Graham's odd personality and secretive past scream psychopath, not sweetheart. Her gut is telling her to stay away from him, and to protect a love-struck Alyson from her own naïveté. But despite her instincts, Sydney is surprised to realize that a part of her is drawn to Graham, too.  And the more Sydney gets to know him, the more she realizes just how right—and wrong—she is about everything. Perfect for fans of Michelle Hodkin, and E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars,Twisted Fate is an unputdownable novel, teeming with suspense."
Sisters Ally and Sydney don't have much in common; in fact, they are opposites in every way except when it comes to their new neighbor, Graham Copeland. They are both interested in him, but for different reasons.  Ally has a crush on Graham and wants to get to know him better, but Sydney doesn't like the bad vibe she gets from him. She doesn't trust him, but is also intrigued by him as well.  Graham is hiding many secrets and is hoping to start fresh in this new town. He also is obsessed with his video camera and claims he wants to be a filmmaker as he constantly is filming the people and the world around him.  Things aren't what they seem with either teenager in this psychological thriller. Norah Olson's debut, Twisted Fate, is a suspenseful novel that did keep me entertained, but ultimately left me wanting more.

I can't say I connected with any of the characters in Twisted Fate, which is probably why it only earned three stars from me. Ally is the "good girl" in this novel; the kind of girl that bakes muffins and follows the rules. Sydney serves as a foil to her sister. She is darker, smarter, and doesn't follow the rules. Even though she does drugs, she is still one of the smartest kids in school. (Not sure how that works, but whatever.) Graham is mysterious and like Sydney, I wasn't sure about him from the beginning either. I liked the whole concept of an secretive and good-looking boy-next-door, but Graham was just so darn creepy with his video camera, that I couldn't find him remotely attractive at all. 

Twisted Fate is a darker read than I was expecting in that there are psychological issues, references to drugs of all types, and troubled teens. To make matters worse, I wasn't sure who was a reliable narrator in Twisted Fate. Each chapter alternated with a different character's point of view, such as Ally, Syd, and Graham. Olson even included points of view from other people, such as police offers and parents. I am not a fan of this many points of view, especially when the author keeps the chapters so brief, because I feel like I didn't really get to know the characters…like I am only touching the surface of the story. So, for me, this didn't work and left me wanting more.

Historically, I am pretty bad at predicting the ending of psychological thrillers or finding the big twist in a mystery, so the ending of Twisted Fate took me by surprise. It's dark, shocking, and very depressing. 

Although aspects of Twisted Fate didn't work for me, I can still see the appeal if you are fan of psychological thrillers. There's no doubt that this one is haunting.


  1. I have this book to review, but I've been putting it off because of the reviews. Sigh. Sorry to hear it left you wanting more in the end!

    1. I'm glad I read it, but it just left me feeling a bit flat. I liked the shocking ending though. Thanks for visiting, Christy!

  2. Psychological thrillers with unreliable narrators are so my kind of thing, and I really like the sound of this one, but I have seen a bunch of negative reviews. Still, I think it might be worth checking out at some point - especially since I want to know about that twist!

    1. I think you may appreciate the unreliable narrators a bit more than me, Leanna, since this genre is a favorite of yours. If you read it, be sure to let me know your thoughts! Thanks for visiting.

  3. I have to admit that I'm intrigued by the premise, even if the final result wasn't brilliant. I tend to eat up psychological thrillers regardless of how well I connect with the characters or even frustrating stylistic choices (like all those narrators). Thanks for sharing your review!

    1. You're welcome! If you like psychological thrillers, you should give this a try. Thanks for visiting!

  4. I loved this book. It took me a couple of minutes to soak the ending up, but came to the conclusion that Sydney was actually battling to people between herself. Allyson was how she was actually viewed by everyone else and "Syd" was how she viewed herself. Graham seemed to be the only one to make this connection because he never questions the distinctio between the two nor do the friends. Now this is just my perspective from the book. I came up with it because a lot of times teenagers are dealing with issues within them that the outside does not see. Especially in a fast paced society like ours that wants everyone to fit in perfectly and the pressures of it. Well that's my two cents. Thank you to whomever may ready this comment. ✌💖


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