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#Thriller Thursday #Beneath Her Skin and Dying to be Her by Gregg Olsen #YA Paranormal Thriller


Dying to be Her

Just as the lightning bolt of memory passed, a pair of hands grabbed Olivia’s shoulders and shoved her body backwards against the wooden floor. I’m not going to die here, am I? she thought, though the answer seemed all too clear. Am I?

Port Gamble, Washington: When the body of English exchange student Olivia Grant is found at the palatial home of local schoolgirl, Brianna Connors, the town assumes that it was a Halloween prank gone wrong. But when Brianna and her boyfriend Drew are spotted casually shopping the next day, people start to talk: how could they be so unaffected by Olivia’s death?

Twins Hayley and Taylor Ryan have received signs from beyond the grave for as long as they can remember. As the local police piece together the mystery, the girls begin to receive messages suggesting that something darker was at play that night. The killer had a target and they’re not done yet.

When the prime suspects disappear, the twins know that time is running out. But to get to the killer, they will first need to confront a close family member who has harboured a long-held secret and committed the ultimate act of betrayal.

My thoughts:

These paranormal thrillers were previously published as:

Book 1 -Beneath Her Skin = Envy (2011)
Book 2- Dying to be Her = Betrayal (2012)

I really enjoyed this YA mystery set in the sleepy town of Port Gamble (formerly known as Empty Coffin, hence the name of the series). The protagonists of the series, Hayley and Taylor Ryan, are 16-year-old identical twins with unusual extrasensory powers. Not only do they share a mysterious ability to sense when one of them is in trouble, but they also get visions of jumbled letters that once unscrambled help them solve crimes.

In Dying to be Her Hay-Tay are dealing with a gruesome murder of a British exchange student, Olivia Grant, who was stabbed to death during a Halloween party in the largest and most modern house in this historic town The host of the party Brianna Connors and her boyfriend Drew seem to behave in a particularly uncallous way and this means that they are immediately accused, judged, and found guilty by the press and social media. Brianna gets the dubious honour of being labeled the Worst Best Friend Ever. Brianna may have two extremely uncaring divorced parents, but can it justify the way she behaves?

There appears to be some evidence that points to Beth Lee, Hayley and Taylor’s best friend. As they are trying to figure our what exactly happened to Olivia, the twins re-visit the horrific bus accident that killed four children and landed the twins in a coma when they were just five. They also discover some genuinely creepy secrets from their mother’s past.

There are plenty of red herrings, twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. While some (most?) characters are quite exaggerated, I liked the way the author took pains to show how the sisters are both similar and very different in their character, attitudes and interests.

Gregg Olsen’s writing is as compelling as always and I am really looking forward to reading the third instalment. While Olivia’s murder is solved in this one, there are still more questions than answers in Hayley and Taylor’s story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the review copy provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

9 replies on “#Thriller Thursday #Beneath Her Skin and Dying to be Her by Gregg Olsen #YA Paranormal Thriller”

  1. Great review. I have the first two books of this series on my TBR. I have enjoyed the author’s previous titles. This series sounds so different and the exaggeration in the characterization makes me wary but I am glad you enjoyed it enough to want to read the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Diana! This is very much a younger teen series , so perhaps this explains the characterization to some extent. Any of his books that you really enjoyed and would recommend?


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