About the Author
Vivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. Now living in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, Florida, she divides her time writing, working, goofing off with her husband and three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes.
Read an Excerpt
By Vivi Barnes, Stacy Abrams
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Vivi Barnes
All rights reserved.
"Thus, a strain of gentle music, or the rippling of water in a silent place, or the odour of a flower, or the mention of a familiar word, will sometimes call up sudden dim remembrances of scenes that never were ..."
— Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
I should be used to this by now — the emptiness that fills me when I become homeless for the stretch of a car ride. I've done this more times than I can count, but the truth is that it sucks. Every. Time.
Occasionally, my case manager, Julia, glances at me in the rearview mirror. She knows better than to attempt conversation in a useless effort to comfort me.
Or maybe not.
"Bernadette looked so sad about saying good-bye to you, Olivia," Julia offers in a whine that's supposed to come off as sympathetic. "It's nice that they loved you so ..." She falters when I turn my withering glare on her reflection.
Nice? Yeah, Bernadette and Marc loved me so much that they wouldn't take me with them when they moved to Hawaii. I seriously thought the last home would be the last. I swallow hard — I refuse to cry — and turn my gaze back to the blur of trees as we breeze by on the highway. Julia makes another half-assed attempt at conversation, but I tune her out.
The drive to my new home from Bernadette's is only about twenty minutes once you cross the James River. Julia's GPS announces various rights and lefts, sending us through a maze of streets dotted with small, scrawny trees. The pastel-colored houses are pretty much clones of one another. Über middle class.
Julia parks in front of one of the clones — a white house with a bright-green lawn and orange and pink flowers lining the front picture window.
I've stayed in uglier places.
She pops the trunk to get my suitcase. I step out and lean against the car, not realizing that I'm audibly sighing until Julia throws me a poor baby look. Ignoring her, I sling my backpack over my shoulder, one step ahead as I walk up the stone path. She scrambles to follow me with the suitcase.
Julia presses the doorbell. One thing I've noticed in my years of being shuffled around? A home's doorbell seems to be a reflection of its personality — buzzing for the no-nonsense, cathedral chimes for the snobs, light singsongy bells for the artsy-fartsy. As she releases the button and the cock-a-doodle-dooing ends, my first impression of this home is that the owner might be insane.
Finally, the door opens and an unsmiling woman greets us with nothing more than a raised eyebrow. Her hair is about the same color brown as mine, except short and kind of frayed-looking.
"You must be Mrs. Carter." Julia thrusts her pudgy hand toward the lady. "I'm Julia Winters from the Richmond Department of Social Services."
Mrs. Carter looks at the hand for a moment, maybe trying to decide whether it's safe to shake, then slowly offers hers.
"This is Olivia, the young lady you've been expecting." Julia's open-palm gesture at me announces, Ta-da! Mrs. Carter just presses her lips together. I'm guessing she's in her forties or fifties, although she might look younger if she'd attempt a smile.
Julia's eyes bounce back and forth from her to me like she's watching an invisible tennis match. It's not like she hasn't seen this before: the disinterest, the annoyed "why are you bothering us" mood from the new foster parent. But she always looks so hopeful and happy. Clueless.
Julia clears her throat. "May we come in?"
Mrs. Carter opens the door wider and we step inside. A sickeningly sweet odor almost knocks me over. For some reason, I think of The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy is drugged by inhaling the scent of poppies. My eyes burn from the shock of blue floral country decor. And yes, there are the roosters the doorbell promised. They fill every space — clocks, paintings, pillows. As Mrs. Carter leads us to the breakfast room table, my eyes are drawn to a ceramic rooster cookie jar sitting on the kitchen counter. It's paired with rooster salt and pepper shakers that frame the floral centerpiece on the table.
This isn't a home; it's a museum for old ladies.
Mrs. Carter is watching me now, offering no more than the occasional "okay" and "uh-huh" in response to Julia's blabber. I attempt a smile and fail.
"And she's been top in her class each year." Julia turns her honey-sweet smile on me. I disregard pretty much everything she says. She's paid to care. "Why, she won a contest just this year in computers, or something."
"Computer programming." I flick a tiny crumb from the table.
"Yes, that's right, computer programming." Julia reaches for my hand. I jerk it away, but she doesn't seem to notice. "The last school she went to was one of Virginia's best private institutions. For a sixteen-year-old, she's really mature. We're so proud of our Olivia. You'll love having her here."
Mrs. Carter doesn't say anything. She just looks at me. I look back at her without blinking — two can play the staring game. Finally, her attention redirects to Julia.
"I'm sure she'll be fine," Mrs. Carter says in a thin voice. "My husband felt it'd be a good idea to be foster parents. He's thoughtful that way."
It's almost like she spit out the word "thoughtful." Trouble at home? I feel like asking. After a few more minutes of small talk, Julia finally decides it's time to make a break for it. We stand up and she wraps her thick arms around my shoulders.
"Everything will be fine, just fine," she whispers. I stand there, my posture as stiff as I can make it. It always amazes me how she can utter the same words every time she drops me off at a foster home. It's like I'm just here to get my hair done or something. I wonder if she'd think everything was "fine" if our situations were reversed.
Julia and Mrs. Carter walk to the front door, Julia her usual chitter-chatter self. I sink back down in the chair and continue my visual tour. Yep, roosters pretty much everywhere. Seriously, what the hell? I toy with a leaf from the plastic fern on the table and wonder if their backyard is made up of AstroTurf.
Mrs. Carter walks back into the room. "Do you want something to drink?" she asks in a passable effort to be polite.
I smile. At least, I press my teeth together, which I hope looks like a smile. "No, thank you."
She sits across from me and studies her small hands. Her nails are almost nonexistent. Maybe she's a biter like me.
"So am I your first foster?" I ask.
"Do you have any kids?"
"No. I'm not able to have kids," she says quietly, still not looking at me.
We sit for a few more minutes, not talking. I pick at my cuticles, so much so that I'm surprised they haven't starting bleeding. I feel like screaming — or maybe throwing the little rooster shaker — just to break the silence.
I try to stay polite. "May I see my room?"
She looks almost startled. "Of course. This way."
Mrs. Carter leads me across the living room and into a small hallway with four doors. I look with interest at the pictures that line the wall, mostly of her and a blond guy I assume is her husband. She actually looks happy in the pictures, younger.
"This is your bathroom. We have our own. That's our room at the end of the hall." She closes the first door and moves to the next. I'm thinking this tour will take all of thirty seconds.
"This will be your room while you're here," she says, opening the door to a very plain, rooster-free-thank-God white room. A light-green spread covers the twin bed and a small desk stands next to a tall dresser. Flowered curtains over the window are the only homage to her obvious obsession with country living. She's watching me now, so I put my bag next to the bed and manage to mutter, "Thanks."
"Dinner will be ready in about an hour. You can have some time to yourself until then." She pulls the door shut behind her as she leaves.
The room is nice enough, I guess. A quick peek out the window reveals a spectacular view of the neighbor's white fence just a couple feet away.
My own suburban jail.
My eyes are drawn to the Bible on the nightstand. I stare at it for a moment. Bibles were always on nightstands in shelters we stayed at when I was little. Like our souls were desperate to be saved. I grab it and bury it among the extra sheets and blankets in the bottom drawer.
I unpack my clothes and set up my books on top of the dresser. The blue laundry bag that took up most of my suitcase swells with clothes I didn't wash before leaving Bernadette's. I toss the bag into the corner, then pull the laptop Bernadette gave me out of my backpack.
There are no free Wi-Fi networks available, so I select the one with the strongest signal and type "password" in the password field, then try the same with neighboring signals. Nothing. I sigh and lie back on the bed. I'll have to get the router password from the Carters later.
I don't realize I fell asleep until I hear a light tap, startling me awake. "Time for dinner." Mrs. Carter's soft voice barely penetrates the closed door. I get up to join her in the kitchen.
"Did you wash your hands?" she asks, removing a casserole dish from the oven.
"Yes," I lie. What am I, four? I take the plates off the countertop to set the table but Mrs. Carter grabs them from me.
"I'll get these," she says. "You can set the napkins."
Yes, wouldn't want the foster kid to break the precious plates. Napkins are much safer. I shiver, remembering the time I did break one. It was years ago, but the stinging slap from Mary Elizabeth's cruel hand when I broke one of her everyday plates is still fresh in my memory. I don't think I'd even be standing here today if it had been one of her good plates.
The door on the side of the kitchen opens and a man in a dark pin-striped suit walks in. "Well, hello there," he says, not looking surprised to see me standing in his kitchen. "You must be Olivia. I'm Derrick."
I recognize his face from the pictures. He's tall and seems to be about the same age as his wife, with thick, wavy blond hair and a dimple that forms in his cheek when he smiles. I guess he's nice-looking in a businessman sort of way.
He reaches over to hug his wife around her waist and kiss her cheek. She doesn't kiss him back.
We sit down for dinner and I have the food halfway to my mouth before realizing they're both staring at me with their hands outstretched. Oh. I put the fork down. Holding hands is way outside my comfort zone, but I grit my teeth and extend my palms. The Carters barely touch me — mostly fingers on fingers — but it's enough to give me the heebie-jeebies. As soon as Mrs. Carter says amen, I yank my hands away, wiping them on my jeans. I think I'll fold my hands in front of me from now on.
I start on the roast chicken. It tastes pretty good. Nothing like my last home, where Bernadette could barely boil water. We ate out most of the time, which suited me just fine.
"Well, Miss Olivia, why don't you tell us about yourself?" Mr. Carter says. He shifts his glance to his wife, whose eyes are focused on her plate. "Denise, remember what the agency rep said? She was top of her class. Great with computers. I love it!" He winks at me. "I'm a computer nerd myself, you know."
I'm surprised by his warmth, a stark contrast to his wife's personality. How could they have possibly ended up together?
"I like designing apps, mostly," I say, declining a second helping of mashed potatoes. "My last school had a pretty good programming class, so I learned a lot."
"Well, we have a computer in the living room, so feel free to use it any time you need," Mr. Carter says, halfway into a bite of peas.
"Oh, that's okay. Bernadette — the woman I lived with before — bought me a laptop and let me keep it. As long as there's wireless I'm good to go."
Mrs. Carter's head pops up. "I'm sorry, but I only permit one computer in this house. I'll need to put your laptop away."
"Excuse me?" I'm sure I misunderstood.
"I'm going to need your laptop," she says firmly. "I'll give it back when you graduate or if you leave before then. You'll have it for college."
Oh, hell no. "I need to keep my laptop. Most of the work they give us in school is online."
Mrs. Carter takes a deep breath, slowly closing and opening her eyes as if talking to a belligerent child. "Olivia, the Internet has too much questionable content. The one in the living room is suitably set up for appropriate use." Her eyes flicker for just an instant at Derrick.
"No buts. Well? Are you going to say something or not?" she asks in a borderline whiny voice without taking her eyes off Derrick. He grimaces and looks pleadingly at me.
I groan inwardly. What the hell is wrong with this woman? My natural instinct is to keep fighting her on this, but one wrong word and I'll be back in Julia's car. "All right, fine. I'll give it to you." Great. By the time I graduate it will be completely archaic. I'll have to think of a way to get it back later.
After dinner, I help clear the table and wash dishes, trying to pretend I can't hear the Carters arguing quietly between themselves. Finally, claiming a headache, Mrs. Carter heads to her room with some pills and a small cup of what would look like water if I hadn't seen her pour something from a square glass bottle. Mr. Carter grabs a dry towel with a rooster print and stands next to me, taking the dishes after I rinse them.
"Listen," he says, "I know Denise can be pretty rigid at times, but she means well. She's going to love having you here in no time at all. I already do. And please feel comfortable coming to me if you have any concerns, at home or at school. Okay?"
I smile and nod. No way in hell will I be bringing any problems to him. The one thing I've learned about being in foster homes — keep your mouth shut. If you have problems, deal with them on your own. Otherwise, you'll find yourself transferred, punished, or ignored.
He tries to put his arm around my shoulders, but I shudder and almost throw the wet plate at him to dry. He raises an eyebrow but doesn't say anything. I bite my lip, feeling bad but what do I say — I don't like to be touched? I've had enough touching in my lifetime, thank you very much. I dip into the soapy water for the last dish and hope that he got the hint.
Mr. Carter invites me to watch TV with him in the living room, but I politely decline and head to my room instead. Putting on the "I'm happy to be here" act is tiring, and I just want to be alone.
As I've done since I was ten, I pull out the childish, crumpled handwritten list from my bag and lie on the bed to review my checklist for The Perfect Family. Since I've never been permanently placed, I use it for the foster homes.
Kind and caring parents.
Well, Mr. Carter seems okay, I guess. I think ice could actually freeze to Mrs. Carter's ass.
No drinking. No drugs.
Whatever it was she poured into that glass wasn't water. And I also doubt this is a onetime thing for her, from my experience with alcoholic foster parents.
Too soon to know, but I'll be out of here fast if they so much as raise a hand against me. I've had enough of that in my life.
My own room.
Totally, check! No sharing space with bratty kids who put ants in my bed as a sick joke.
I stare at the word, wondering at what point in my life this one started mattering less. I no longer believe in love, no longer believe in the strength of a family that can get a person through the hard times.
I finger my mother's locket — the only treasure I have from her and the only thing I own that means something to me. Yes, my mother loved me all the way up until the day they scraped her dead body, riddled with drugs, off the street. My last foster parents told me they loved me right up until the day they moved to Hawaii. They said it was too difficult to go through the adoption process, so I got left behind.
That's what love is.
I scratch through the word with a pencil. No happy endings for me. I won't be conned again. I might accept friendship or guidance.
* * *
It doesn't matter how many times I've hacked these accounts, the excitement when I break them burns through me as if my blood is on fire. The toughest give the biggest rush — the ones with so-called "uncrackable" codes or behind strong firewalls. This one wasn't complicated, for sure — Micah had already cracked the administrative password on the security system — but the kick-ass feeling lingers as I log on to the account.
I lean back, lightly drumming my fingertips on the keyboard. In fact, this one was easy enough that it's obvious to me that Jen screwed it up on purpose.
The door to the office opens and Nancy walks in, closing the door behind her. "What's up?" I ask without looking up.
She sits down in the chair across from me. "I made you a plate. It's in the fridge."
Excerpted from Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2013 Vivi Barnes. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Read this in one late-night sitting (which I'm regretting a bit this morning as I pour that third cup of coffee)! Updating Oliver Twist so that the group of orphans are now cyber-thiefs is such a great tw--(okay, can't do the pun) ANGLE on Oliver Twist. To be honest, I don't remember all of the plot points of the Dicken's story to know how closely it aligns with the original, but I was thoroughly entertained regardless, and I LOVED Z's character and how much he wrestled with luring Liv into his ring. Holy hotness!!
Olivia Twisted took me by surprise in the best way possible. After reading the blurb I was interested but not sure how much I would really end up liking the book. I started to read and by the end of the day I was only a few chapters from the end! After I finished all the things that typically get in the way of my reading aka work, school, etc I jumped right back to reading so that I could finally find out the well waited for ending. I think what really kept me hooked was the different approach the author took to a slightly common idea. The girl meets bad boy and gets drawn in thing is not something new, however, the way things play out and the stuff Olivia gets drawn into are certainly not like anything else I have ever read in any book. Z is an interesting male character as well, at times it is hard to see where tough Z ends and the real Z underneath begins. Throughout the story Z is shrouded in mystery and I kept reading wanting to learn as much as I could about this mysterious past of his and how he ended up like he did. The book also touches on some of the more unfortunate parts of children's lives who are stuck in the foster care system. I felt this brought an added bit of realness to the book and reminded the reader how gritty life can be, this helps gain a sense of why these kids would turn to hacking for money. I love the inspiration the author drew from the story Oliver Twist and I would suggest this book to anyone looking for an interesting new read that breaks away from the usual love stories.
Thrilling, romantic,and very twisted, Olivia Twisted was a fantastic YA retelling. I really enjoyed reading this awesome book. Going into this book, I was a little unsure. I didn't know how a retelling of Oliver Twist would work. But, it turned out to be pretty awesome. The author managed to turn an old classic into a modern tale. Olivia was a lovely heroine. She hasn't had the best life, from her druggie mother, to her hopping from foster home to foster home. But, she was still a genuinely good person. She had values that she couldn't compromise, which I think made her an admirable character. I really liked her. Z was complicated. He delights in his criminal activities, seeing absolutely nothing wrong with them. To his perspective, it's basically like Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor. And, he's manipulated people into the web, then left them to fend for themselves. But, he wasn't a bad person. At least, not once he met Olivia Olivia reminded him of...goodness, I guess you could say. She made him rethink his life and see it from a different perspective. He was a morally shaky character. But, I still really liked him. I thought he was great. The romance was fairly light. It was very sweet. Even though Olivia and Z barely touched each other, besides a few kisses, the feelings were constantly there and it was really adorable. I thought these two were lovely together. The plot was fast paced. I was kept interested the entire way through, but I was never completely hooked. However, I still really enjoyed the story and I thought the ending was perfect. Olivia Twisted was a wonderful YA retelling. It was thrilling, romantic, and a really enjoyable read. YA lovers, if you want something that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then you should give this book a try. *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Olivia Twisted is a cyber adaptation of Oliver Twist.I haven't read oliver twist or I read but didn't remember :D but the author added some quotes from oliver twist at the beginning of every chapter and it outlines the chapter. I liked it that way. It is a fun book. Very fluent.You wonder what comes next.There's some action at the end. It's not like the same old YA cliche. It's something different. I recommend everyone this book who love a good YA novel.I absolutely enjoyed to read. This book also taught me to choose my account passwords wisely lol . I'll keeps tabs on vivi barnes' next works. She is really good.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the digital book Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes! Olivia is taken to another new foster home where she attends another new school and meets more new classmates. She wants to float through until she graduates, but then she becomes involved with computer hackers and discovers more than she wants to know, but she also finds family that she didn't know existed. The characters are complex and the retelling of Oliver Twist is intriguing and well done!
When I received an arc copy of Olivia Twisted, I was thrilled. I was really wanting something different to read, and a story about teenage computer hackers, that was loosely based on the classic novel Oliver Twist, sounded intriguing. I hadn't read Oliver Twist in years, and had forgotten many of the details of the story. That was a good thing though, because I didn't want to keep comparing it to Olivia Twisted. I really wanted to love this book. At first, I really liked the main character, Olivia (Liv), a sixteen year old girl, who has been in many foster homes. This has led her to become a bit jaded when it comes to trusting people and getting attached. Despite all of that, Liv is very smart- she gets stellar grades and has is great with computers. She had plans on attending a well respected university, and making a good life for herself. In the beginning of this story, she is placed in a new home. Right off the bat, she gets a feeling that something is not quite right with her new foster parents. Turns out, her suspicions were valid. I have to say, I was enjoying reading Olivia Twisted up until this point. I guess I was hoping that Liv would triumph for good and use her brains to get far in life. This all seemed to go out the window when she met Samantha (Sam) and Z (yep, that's what he legally changed his name to). Now first off, let me just say that I love reading about bad boys in my books. I mean, 9/10 times, I will fall for the bad guy versus the good, nice guy. However, Z was a different story. He's basically a thief, and doesn't see anything wrong with stealing. He basically justifies it. You see, Z is a computer hacker. A very very good computer hacker. He and Sam are also orphans who work for a man named, "Bill", and their main job is to crack into the accounts of big businesses, banks, or from the wealthy, and take their money. They justify their actions by saying that all these corporations are stingy (granted- some are), don't deserve their wealth, and don't donate to charities for the right reasons, therefore it's ok to just help themselves to it. It almost seems hypocritical to me. I mean, do these hackers deserve it either? In a lot of ways, computer hacking is a game to them. I found it difficult to believe that these teens never slipped up or got caught by the authorities. Another thing that struck me as odd, was that they made it sound so easy, when in reality many of these business and accounts have top notch software. I was so sad to see Liv succumb to all this and take this route. I believe having nowhere to go and finding a new family among kids who she could relate to, sealed the deal. Z also disappointed me when something terrible happens in the story, and instead of getting help from authorities, he tries to fix the problem himself (using his hacking skills). He tries to play judge and dish out his own justice (mind you, this kid is only sixteen or seventeen). There were a few other things that made me not love this book too. I just didn't get attached to any of the characters, and found plot holes here and there. I didn't root for a romance between Z and Liv, and I was really surprised that she trusted him to begin with. He did a couple of questionable things, that I don't want to spoil my readers with, but let's just say it would cause me to run from this guy. I feel bad rating Olivia Twisted, 2 Stars, but I had to be honest with myself and anyone else who might be reading my review.
Olivia is easy to relate to, and I def felt for her being from one foster home to another. There is obvious discomfort between her and her newest foster mom, but I did like the effort that Derrick, her new foster dad seemed to be making. Olivia is strong when it counts, and she still holds on to her values after all she's been through. She does put up a wall though, but I can respect her for that because of how much she has seen of the negative side of the world and been hurt by others. Sam is a girl at school that befriends her, and I like her. She is bubbly, and open. I wasn't sure exactly what it was that her and Z, the hot mystery guy that we get in his head, but it is still a long time before we can piece together exactly what they are into and what is going on with their computer skills and what they are thinking about getting Olivia involved in. The romance was pretty hot for YA, and I liked it. I did know the two different sides of Z, and had a hard time keeping them seperate at times. I flew through this one, there was not a lot of action, but character development and online action. I had to know what kind of choice Olivia was going to make, even though I felt in my heart I knew what it would be, just not how it would play out. Z also had a lot of choices to make when the carefully constructed walls he's built over the years start falling down. I have never read Oliver Twist, so it was a retelling, but I can't speak to that. I enjoyed it on its own though. Also, the hacker scene is interesting, but it seems to have exploded on the YA scene lately, but it is the first one I have tried that I liked. It was a happy enough ending, and the epilogue really sealed it. Bottom Line: Good main character making choices about what she can live with and what she can't.
So I admit, I don’t think I have read the original Oliver Twist which is what Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes is a redo of. I much rather read this version though, ha ha. I definitely loved it. There are things I recognized from the classic novel though so I must have seen a movie or even maybe read the book and don’t remember. At the beginning of the book I like Olivia right away. I’m not sure why I just connected easily with her character, Z on the other I didn’t like at all. It made me feel like I wanted Olivia to get the better of him rather than fall into his arms. I eventually came around to Z but I like that Olivia stays weary. she might be hung up on him a bit but at the same time there is something in her mind that blares a warning. Maybe this is why I like Olivia so much, she is sweet and innocent in one respect but then also smart and aware in another. Derrick is an interesting character, at first I think he is creepy. Then I start to think well maybe he just really wants to be a dad and I’m being unfair. There is obviously more to his story and Denise’s story. Then well he gets creepy again. I thought his character was well written because despite your gut reaction to him there is a part of you that thinks you might be wrong. Some things about the couple are never completely answered and I am a bit curious. I think when a book has a couple of great main characters and an intriguing side character (even if he is gross) you can’t go wrong. I really think this is a great updated version to the classic. You really are not going to see too many people picking pockets on the streets, being computer hackers makes more sense for the modern era. You can skim a little money and not get caught as easily. Plus the idea of using runaways and foster kids makes perfect sense. Since usually those kids would not have any family or want out of the system. I enjoyed the romance because it starts out more of a game, to Z especially but then grows into something else. They aren’t going into thinking I’m going to be ga ga for this person. They work their way around to it.It’s just cute, sweet, snarky and perfect. All I have to say if you like modern redos of old classic this is a great example. I don’t think you will be disappointed. I loved the book and zoomed through the pages. It was one of those books that totally hooked me. Read it, Love it, Breathe it. :)
This is a thrilling story that will keep you guessing, but also has heart-wrenching scenes of which will make you think and bring you close to tears! (It was a moment of: I will not cry, I will not! Don't you dare! I was very close) I really love the cover, its eye catching and the theme of computers are very present. But I can't help but laugh when I look at the boys face; he appears to by doing this funny pout thing! And just imagining Z do that... ha. Olivia has moved from home to home never feeling like she belongs, especially when she moves to her new home. But she soon meets the rude and arrogant Z, alongside the nosy but chatty and funny Sam. And all three of them are tech geeks... just the side of which is illegal! But Z and Sam are playing a more dangerous game than it will first appear and soon Liv is about to be Twisted! Liv is a character whom of which is not all she appears on the outside. On the outside she appears weak and innocent, however on the inside she is strong, clever and persistent. And when she wants answers, she will get them at some moment. We then have Z, mysterious, infuriating and very clever he is someone whose character is very interesting to learn about, not to mention the source of his explosions of anger. But, it was also nice to see he is looked up to in the house and that he is the role model to the younger residents of Monroe. My favourite character though has to be Sam, she was funny, smart and happy but there was additionally a very dark side to her, meaning the way she kept her other personality concealed was cunning and clever, not to mention manipulative and cunning. She was definitely not what you expected her to be. As you know from the title, this book was based around the story of Oliver Twist... I have never read Oliver Twist therefore I personally do not know how this links to the main story. However, I liked the way Vivi incorporated the main element about how the characters are twisted into the game. The plot was engaging and at moments I got so twisted I did not know what direction it would head in! Additionally, this story also had some heartwarming scenes, especially when Z finally releases some his well kept secrets, of which NO ONE knows, to Liv. There is also a mound of danger that will have you shouting and contemplating the decisions the characters are making and as to whether there are stronger motives behind them. This story is a great combination of the advanced aspects of computer technology, the real reasons behind some peoples actions and the way that it is not always as it seems. Furthermore, the secrets some people carry with them of which make them who they are today. This book is manipulative and cunning, having you twist left and right and in the end... craving more! One of my favourites of 2013!
Although I've never read Dickens' Oliver Twist, I've read and seen enough movie adaptations of his other books to expect a rather twisted and depressing story. And in this, Olivia Twisted does not fail; it's very realistic and at times quite sad. The story starts out strong with its admirably tough protagonist, Olivia. I definitely felt empathy for her at first and admired how she had stood strong through all that she'd been through. I was hooked from the beginning. However, I feel that, although the book started on a good note, I never really felt drawn into it after the first few chapters. It turned into a slow read. Of course, Olivia's questionable new friends present many puzzling questions to the plot, which I did enjoy. And I do think the dual points of view add plenty of intrigue. I definitely wanted to know what Z's motives were, even though the pace felt sluggish. And Barnes doesn't let up on her poor characters - the characters suffer a lot and the plot got progressively more and more intricate. I felt very drawn into the whole world of hackers and the kind of life Z lives. A few things I didn't like: Um, I didn't really care for the name Z. It's explained later on, but it still seems kind of weird. And the fact that one of Olivia's friends convinces her to steal a shirt from a store? That felt out of character for Olivia. Even though she's been treated poorly her whole life, I still felt that she had enough common sense not to do something like that. I didn't like how Olivia's behavior and choices spiral down more and more as the story continues. Z was too much of a bad influence to her, even though he definitely had good reasons for being the way he is. And since I wasn't crazy about the characters, I wasn't a fan of the romance; it felt too forced. But honestly, besides these problems, Olivia Twisted is not a bad read at all. Its realism really makes it stand out, and it does offer a pretty bleak view of life, as is only truly fitting for a Dickens retelling. I think it's just one of those "not my cup of tea" cases for me. However, I'd absolutely recommend Olivia Twisted for diehard Dickens fans or people who enjoy realistic contemporary. * I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
Actual rating: 4.5 If there's one thing Olivia Twisted made me realize, it's that I had no idea what Charles Dickens' classic book is about. Seriously. And I dare call myself a book addict. Okay, back to this retelling. Uh, holy mother of shizz, talk about awesome! I wanted to read this book because of the computer hacking, and you don't know how happy I am that it didn't disappoint in that aspect—not that it disappointed in any aspect. I was hooked right from chapter one, with Liv's and Z's engrossing voices. It's hard not to like and relate to Liv. Not counting all the horrible stuff with being a foster kid—which I pitied her for—she really was just a simple girl: shy, uncertain, innocent. And prideful, too, which she showed the most when she took Z up on his hacking challenge, knowing that that was exactly what he's doing. Being a computer engineering student, I know that feeling all too well. Anyway, she did irritate me one time. It was unbelievable how Liv was so... good. Like, for someone who'd been through a lot, I'd imagine Z's job would be easy for her to stomach. Or maybe that's just me and my messed-up morality lol. Now let's talk about Z. Oh, Z. He was a walking enigma, and with his long-ish blond hair, black leather jacket, sexy glasses, and oh, a freaking Ducati, he's as swoon-worthy as a guy can get. Plus, he's an expert in social engineering! He wasn't all tough and manly though; he cared genuinely and deeply for the other kids in the group home he was in, putting their needs and safety before his own. Even with Z's douchebag act at the start of the story, the attraction between him and Liv was immediately palpable. And when that turned into a full-blown romance? Yowza. They were sweet and steamy (nothing R-18, don't worry) but also mature, showing just how much they'd been hardened by their experiences, and that was sad and heartening at the same time. And they were perfect for each other, really, because they both wanted a better life for each other. Exciting and intense all throughout, Olivia Twisted is the kind of book that I would just love to read again and again. I'd say I want to read the next chapter in Liv's and Z's lives, but nah, I'm happy with how the author left them in the end. They both seriously deserved a break, anyway. MY FAVORITE PART was the epilogue :3
I liked so much what this author tried to do. Bringing Oliver Twist into a modern setting isn’t an easy thing to do, because of the differences in society, with poor laws, orphanages, etc. So having a group home setting where the kids are computer hackers instead of pickpockets? It was a genius way of connecting the stories, and I give Vivi Barnes props for coming up with the idea. But while I loved the idea of the book, the execution just seemed almost boring. I just wasn't into it at all, and I had a hard time finishing it, mostly because I didn't really care about the characters. I’m not sure why I had this lack of connection: maybe because I wanted more background information? Or because of one situation that I found a little implausible? Either way, I’m sorry to say that I didn’t really care for this one.
A modern day Oliver Twist! Yes, I was very excited to read this one. Olivia is in foster care, has been ever since her mother overdosed in front of her. And foster care hasn't been kind to Olivia. She's placed with a different family after being abused by her former foster brother. But this family places a lot of restrictions on her, and well...I won't spoil anything for you so we'll just say things get a whole lot worse for Olivia. At school, Olivia meets Z, who seems to be a whiz with computers. She's not sure at first what to make of him or if she even wants to get to know him. But after she fails a test and is forced to have Z tutor her, she discovers he's a hacker. Worse, in the first tutoring session, he gets Olivia to hack into her grades and fix her test score. Of course, it turns out he was the one who changed her A to begin with. ;) But Z is doing more than just altering grades. He won't tell anyone his real name, and he lives in a house with a bunch of other foster kids. When he takes Olivia there, she realizes that they've made a game of hacking, and they're all reaping the rewards. Fancy cars are just the beginning. And Z's job is to recruit Olivia as the newest hacker. While Olivia wants to get away from her foster family, she's not sure she can trade it for a life of crime. This is a great retelling of Oliver Twist. I loved seeing how all the characters were redone and how the pick-pocketing was converted to hacking bank accounts. It's definitely a fun read.
One of the best things, in my opinion, that a YA book can do for its young readers is get them interested in classic novels. Vivi Barnes accomplishes this and more with this retelling of Dickens' Oliver Twist. Our heroine, Olivia, is an orphan looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. When she hooks up with a group of internet thieves, she finds out just how far she is willing to go to get that love and how she will live with herself once she has her answer. Throw in a delicious love story and Barnes has given us a light, easy read that packs plenty of punch.
I really liked the idea of this retelling of Oliver Twist. The whole computer hacking aspect was my favorite part of this book.I enjoyed the characters. Both Z and Olivia were strong and in-depth characters, but at the same time, they didn't really stand out to me. Olivia has had a troubled life and you would expect her to have given up at this point. I was surprised at how put together she was, and that she still had positive values.Z was the mysterious, bad boy that you don't want to like, but you just can't help swoon over. His ways are attributed to the fact that he had no one to love him as a child either. Once he meets Olivia, he starts to think that maybe the life he lives isn't the best choice. The story revolves around Z's mission to recruit Olivia and have her join in on the cyber activities he and his housemates partake in. The romance aspect wasn't too heavy, but you could still feel the intensity between Z and Olivia.They made a really adorable couple. They were good for each other. The writing for me just wasn't strong enough to keep me glued to the pages. I didn't hate this story, I simply liked it. I would recommend this to fans of YA, and enjoy retellings of classics. Perhaps this story would entertain the younger half of the young adult age group better. *An eARC was provided by the publisher for an honest review. This has not affected my opinion or review in any way.