Parents' Guide to

Olivia Twist

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Violent Dickens remake hangs on iffy romance.

Olivia Twist Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 17+

Beautiful story full of adventure and romance.

The story is set in 1800's London and does a good job illustrating what life was like for both the poor and the rich during this time period. There is a lot of adventure, characters you fall in love with, twists and turns, lessons about morals and values, and romance. The romance does not go beyond passionate kissing but that is why I say 17 and up. As an adult I loved this book and recommend it to my adult friends 100%.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 12+

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Flowery language can't save this overreaching attempt to rewrite Dickens. Olivia Twist author Lorie Langdon says on her website that she was more inspired by the musical Oliver! than Oliver Twist, the novel, when deciding to refurbish the tale. She comes up with an interesting premise -- that Oliver Twist was actually a girl raised as a boy in order to keep her out of the hands of predators and traffickers. The trappings and chatter of 19th-century London are reasonably depicted, and the plot does pick up pace in the latter part of the story. But the writing is over the top: "Olivia was suffocating. Her eyes popped open to impenetrable darkness pressing down on her chest like a thousand anvils." And: "...a pair of lethal blue eyes haunted her until she could see no other. Her traitorous heart didn't care a whit about propriety or material possessions: it longed for passion and adventure." And so on.

In this era of #metoo, it's particularly disturbing to see a female YA character cave to a man who physically hurts her, yells at her, diminishes her ideas and stature, and makes her feel as though she's being "tempted by the devil." Olivia apologizes when Jack has a tantrum, assuming responsibility for his moods. When she speaks about her future, he accuses her of betrayal: "Would it kill you to have a little faith in me?" he asks with a "predatory" look in his eyes. Romance has its challenges, sure, and a good romance beats all odds. But passionate intensity and intimate violence are two different things. This romance fails to understand the difference.

Book Details

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