Title: Twisted Fate
Author: Norah Olson
Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery
Publication Date: January 20, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 272 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062272047 (HarperTeen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062272041 (HarperTeen)
Reviewed by: Zed
Told in alternating points of view by a wide cast of characters, Twisted Fate is a tensely wrought psychological thriller, perfect for fans of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.
Two sisters. One mysterious boy.
Ally and Sydney couldn’t be more different—one shy, the other popular and outgoing—and when a new boy moves in next door, tensions between the sisters escalate. Graham is attractive, peculiar, and perhaps a little dangerous, and both girls are drawn to him in ways they can’t quite explain. As each girl’s relationship with Graham unfolds the more complicated the truth becomes—until a shocking encounter turns their sleepy coastal town upside down, and makes the sisters question everything they thought they knew about themselves and each other
Quick & Dirty: The creepiest girl / boy next door story ever.
Opening Sentence: I’m not saying that I was right in the end.
Twisted Fate is a highly unusual and rather disturbing thriller, but I loved it! The main characters are: Graham, Sydney and Allyson but, as the title suggests, their fates are intertwined. The story is told from each of their perspectives, along with a few police reports and correspondence between Graham’s father and his psychiatrist.
At times, reading this story became quite confusing, especially when Sydney and Ally’s stories didn’t match up. The same event would be told from both their perspectives but the facts would vary. For example, in Sydney’s version Graham would have come over unannounced but in Ally’s version he would have been invited over. The dissimilarities all added to the mystery.
Even if I stop going to detention what are they going to do? Kick me out of school? And find someone else to win the Odyssey of the Mind competition for them all? Hardly. This stupid school owes me more than I owe it. Rules are for people stupid enough to follow them.
Graham takes a range of medication and although it’s not clearly specified what mental illness he suffers from, it sounds like he has an antisocial personality disorder. Graham charms his way into countless lives and generally doesn’t feel any regret for his unethical actions. He also has an unhealthy obsession with his next door neighbours. The fact that his parents continued to ignore the severity of their child’s condition was saddening, or perhaps he was just really good at pretending otherwise?
“…I’m scared of him and then sometimes I think he really is one of our friends and we should try to understand him and make him stop doing weird things. I mean, you know how it is. You’re super weird and and we love you. Declan’s some kind of freaky Buddhist nerd who still studies up in his tree house. Graham’s just a little further on the fucked-up scale than we are…”
The girls seem to have a weird fascination with Graham too. They’re very different to each other but somehow both want to figure him out and that’s where the problem lies.
But I had to admit there was some pull I felt from Graham. Like he knew there was something about me right away. Something other people ignored or just didn’t realize. There was a mystery about him that I wanted to understand-that I somehow felt I needed answers to. The way he looked at Ally. Our fates were twisted. I knew it the minute he crossed into our yard and stood with the sun on his face beneath the pine tree.
The writing in Twisted Fate was excellent and sucked me into the story, wondering what had actually happened with Eric and what terrible events would happen in Rockland. It was enough to keep me on edge the entire time!
It’s scary to think that people like Graham exist and seamlessly enter and destroy lives. But at the same time, not everything can be blamed on the drugs and Graham should be held responsible for his actions, even if he did have a mental illness. Unfortunately, it’s clear from this story that if you’re rich enough you can get away with murder. Sometimes, it’s also easier for people to ignore problems, hoping they’ll disappear, which is what I think happened in Graham’s case.
Overall, this was a fantastic read with enough twists to keep my mind whirring even after the final chapter!
School might be fine for Ally and her friends but not for me. Not for Declan and Becky either. And I had a feeling-not for Graham. Something about the way he looked at things made me feel like he was already done with whatever it was school was theoretically supposed to offer. Really done. Like he’d been to college and had a job and two kids and been divorced and remarried and had become an alcoholic and was paying double alimony and child support even though he was just a kid. That’s how heave his look was.
FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Twisted Fate. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.