Book Review : Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes

November 6, 2013 Book review 4 ★★★

Olivia Twisted is a quirky retelling of Oliver Twist and while I enjoyed it, it didn’t wow me like I wanted it to. I love the movie version and the musical so while I have never read the Dickens novel, I’m very familiar with and love the story.

Book Review : Olivia Twisted by Vivi BarnesOlivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes
Published by Entangled Publishing on 5 Nov 2013
Genres: ReTelling, YA
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Buy on Amazon


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 Recap :

Olivia has been thrown from foster family to foster family since she was young. Now living with a new family in a new town, she makes a new friend Z (nicknamed Dodger) who tries to manipulate her into joining his hacking circle.

My Thoughts:

I loved the idea that Dodger’s gang were computer hackers and not pickpockets. It seems like a good twist (sorry!), a clever way to modernise the story and the details of the computer hacking were eye opening. I have no idea how accurate the details are but it is fun to read about and will make me even more password security aware in the future.

I liked Olivia’s character; she isn’t as trusting or as naive as the original Oliver and this feels authentic given her volatile background. Z is also a likeable character and the chemistry between the two of them really works.

Nancy and Bill are both present in the book but Fagin is missing! I love Fagin so was disappointed by his absence. His role is partly taken over by Z and partly by Nancy but the lack of such a huge character had a bit of a negative effect on me. Nancy and Bill felt very authentic and add a dangerous vibe to the story.

I found the pace of the book a bit slow. Once I had figured out who everyone was and how it all related to the original book, it lost some of its novelty for me. I still liked it but wasn’t fired up with enthusiasm to pick it back up again.

There are quotes at the start of every chapter – some from the film and some from the Dicken’s story. What I learned from these is that I have zero interest in reading Oliver Twist as they are so wordy and I struggled to make sense of them.

Overall I enjoyed the novelty of the retelling, the hacking was cool and the romance was entertaining but the pacing left me a bit under whelmed.

Who should read Olivia Twisted?

If you like retellings then maybe you should give this one a shot. It is also worth reading just to see how easy computer hacking can be if you are a bit naive with your passwords and security questions!

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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4 Responses to “Book Review : Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes”

    • trish

      I still liked even if I found it slowed down in the middle. Hopefully you’ll like it too when you get to it :). The novelty of the retelling is fun!

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