Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading: Twisted Fate by Norah Olson

Monday, January 12, 2015

Just Finished Reading: Twisted Fate by Norah Olson

Twisted Fate
by Norah Olson
To be published by Katherine Tegen Books
on January 20, 2015

Source: eARC from the publisher for review

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

My take: This book wasn't what I expected. Okay, I should back up and say that I decided not to request Twisted Fate because I was worried it would be an angsty sibling love triangle story and then changed my mind, hoping it would be a twisty, dark romantic thriller.

It wasn't either of those things. It was a sometimes confusing multi-POV account of the events leading up to a murder.  Full disclosure: I'm not generally a fan of the multiple first person POV story. There are often just too many different "I's."  Jodi Picoult does it really well, and it works for me in her books, but in the hands of other authors, I've seen it go off the rails. To make it work, I think an author needs to be very skillful at differentiating all the diffferent voices, and that's not easy to do.

In Twisted Fate, there were at least nine POVs: Allyson, Sydney, Graham, a police chief, Kim, Amanda, another police chief (??) Becky, Declan... It was just too much. Sometimes I'd forget whose POV I was reading and have to go back. Sometimes I'd decide to keep going.

The main characters are sisters who are complete opposites in the way sisters can often be. One is sort of goody-goody and the other is a pretentious skateboarder (hard to imagine, but ... yeah.) The love interest was this --- okay, am I dating myself to say he was this creepy kid who reminded me of that weird guy in American Beauty, the one who went around town videotaping everyone? I didn't get why either of the sisters had any interest in him at all. The whole time I was reading, I just kept picturing this:


Then came the Big Twist. I've said before that I often find books that try to build up to this big, single shocking twist at the end to be problematic. First, there are always people who guess the twist. (In this case, I didn't.) Then there are those who find out about it and get spoiled. Then, there are those (like me) who often feel that 90% book becomes an elaborate set-up. Everything exists in service of the twist. In this case, I found the twist sort of confusing and a bit contrived. Plus, the reveal was just left hanging without any explanation. I actually had to ask someone on Goodreads if I'd interpreted the ending correctly. (I had.)

Edited to add: In thinking about it, and answering your great comments, I think that the multiple POVs were used to help set up the twist. Okay, here is my theory and DON'T highlight if you don't want to be spoiled. The two sisters are the same person -- I guess one person suffering from dissociative identity disorder? So I'm thinking that the author figured that just having the one character giving two POVs might tip the reader off and decided to add the others. But for me, it was just too much.

 Twisted Fate didn't turn out to be a good fit for me, but if you would like to try a YA with a multi-POV style of storytelling, give it a shot. And if you've read it, let me know what you think.

25 comments:

  1. Firstly, thank you for such a great review. I have been a bit unsure about this book for a while (I also totally leapt to sister involved love triangle after reading the description!) so your review being so honest and informative is a great help!
    Multi POV book seem to be getting more popular these days but not everyone can do it right. I read another review today for a different book which has multi POV which apparently also wasn't carried off very well.
    I may eventually read it, and at least when I do I know exactly what I'm getting myself into!

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    1. So the love triangle was not bothersome to me at all. The POVs were a bit much, though. Come back and let me know what you thought if you read this....

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  2. I think this book is not going to be an easy read, should I choose to read it. Thanks for the review, Jen.

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    1. It wasn't a difficult read for me. I just feel like in YA the connection to the characters is everything and with that many POVs I can't connect with anyone....

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  3. I'm usually one of those people that guesses early on and gets frustrated at the characters for taking too long. lol

    For the ones that I don't guess, I'm often let down by the big reveal. It's never as big a deal as everyone else thinks it is or it's so convoluted to make it a *big* deal.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I'm able to guess plot twists all the time (in fact, my family has ordered me to keep my mouth shut when we watch TV) but often the single Big Reveal goes right by me. But still, I think so much effort often goes into setting up the twist that the rest of the story often suffers...

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  4. 9 POVs? Damn! I really don't like multiple POVs in books too so I'm sad to hear this. I was excited for it because it sounded kind of twisted, but it looks like I'm better off not reading it. Thanks for the honesty, Jen!

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    1. If you don't like multiple POVs then this may not be for you. I'm fine with two POVs in first person, and in third person, I'm open to multiple POVs, but this kind of storytelling technique is tough for me to connect to..

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  5. I am glad that you made it through and took one for the team lol . I didn't make it very far with all the POV's and I figured that there was a big twist but I didn't want to read it . I DNF this puppy :)

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  6. Okay, first off, 9 POVS? Nope. Unless they are done well and flow smoothly I doubt I can get into it.

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    1. They're not done badly. I may put a spoiler (hidden!) in my review to explain why I think the author did this. Short answer: to help set up the twist.

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  7. Oh Jen this one does not sound like an easy book to go through. I may have cringed whole reading your review a little bit. I completely understand what you're saying about the twist. I hate when twists make me feel that way. Like they cheated the book somehow. *sigh* and the nine POV's is just WAY to much. I often struggle with three. I can't imagine NINE.

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    1. I know some people love this sort of story. Like The Sixth Sense (which I actually did like, and didn't guess the twist.) But in a book, I just don't like it as well...

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  8. Sometimes I like multiple POVs because it can give me a more round view of the situation (since we get it from many sides), but holy shizzlesticks, NINE POVS?!?! That's really pushing it and doesn't even give leeway to character development anymore. I'm not going to touch this one, I'm afraid :/ There are just some books that you know will only aggravate you.

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. I agree. I love multi third person, like The Raven Boys. That really works for me. And I'm okay with two "I" POVs, if they are well written and I can tell the voices apart. And if, like you say, each of those "I" POVs gives you a different side to the story, or if those characters are separated and each needs to tell a different piece.

      As I said above, I suspect this technique was used to help set up the twist.

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  9. Hmm... the multiple POV might do me in for this one

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  10. Thanks for this great review! I'm not so sure this one's right for me either, but it is definitely interesting to find out what happens. This doesn't sound like an easy book to get into/read at all (to me). Hope your next read is better!

    Danee @ Fiction Function

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  11. Great review! I understand the frustration with multiple POV, and that would annoy me, as well. I've never quite enjoyed books that have had THAT many POV's . . . ah- sounds like something that would drive me crazy.
    Thanks for the great review :)
    - Cambrie @ and so the book begins

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  12. I like multiple points of views sometimes....and I mean sometimes. :)

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  13. 9 POVs?? Oh, that would be way too much for me to keep up with. I feel like it would be confusing, and then it would probably be hard to connect with any of them. I think I'll be skipping this one. Thanks for the honest review :)

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  14. That's definitely too many POVs. Hell I struggled with Get Even and that was only four POVs. I thought about requesting this one as well, but in the end I decided against it.

    Also what is that gif from? It looks familiar but I can't place it!

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  15. This book's on my wish list. I have high expectations so I hope I won't be disappointed.

    Sorry you didn't love it.

    Andreea
    https://toallthebooksivelovedbefore.wordpress.com/

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  16. Like you, I am not really a multiple point of view person - I just end up lost and confused. Game of Thrones which I am currently reading has a lot of it, and I do get lost at times. So maybe this one isn't for me, even if it was only working towards the twist.

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  17. This was one I passed up at first too and then decided to grab after all. Now I wish I hadn't. I have been a much bigger stickler about just DNF things that don't work for me almost right away instead of hanging in there so long. So, maybe I'll try it out to say that I did (even though really I don't have time to devote to starting books I know I won't like). That is just way too many POVs. Seriously. Thanks for the heads-up. :)

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