Sometimes I think Anna Godbersen might hate her readers. I can’t think of any other reasonable explanation for why she makes such unpleasant books with so many unpleasant characters and unpleasant things happening to the few tolerable characters there are. Envy picks up where Rumors left off. Basically, the Holland sisters’ lives are ruined. Henry Schoonmaker’s life is ruined. Several extraordinarily unpleasant female characters get rewarded repeatedly for being extraordinarily unpleasant females. Envy is no more than a variation on the theme. The aforementioned lives threaten to improve, but of course, are still ruined and the unpleasant females continue to be mostly unpleasant. I almost had a moment in the middle when I was enjoying myself and then I realized that all of the positive things I was hoping might happen didn’t have a chance of happening because Godbersen was not about to let me have my way like that.
I would recommend this for teens – sex is never explicit but is very much implied in multiple places. While the language isn’t terrible compared to many other books for teens, this certainly has plenty of drinking and smoking.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – A woman is undressing in front of a man who is not her husband. There are engagements and marriages. A woman has kissed a man. A girl was “whoring about.” A woman wears various ensembles to convince her husband to sleep with her. A girl lost her virginity outside of marriage. Someone cheats on his or her spouse. People lay in bed without clothes. An unmarried woman is pregnant. Her mother suggests quick marriage or they will have to “take care of it.” Two people have sex in a place with minimal privacy. It is not explicitly stated that they have sex, but it is certainly implied.
Profanity – “damned,” “ass,” “oh, God,” “hell,” “what in God’s name,” ‘idiot,” “bastard,” “stupid,”
Death, Violence and Gore – A character died at the end of Rumors and that character’s death is mentioned. A faked death is mentioned. A soldier saw action at the battle of San Juan Hill and was injured. The sinking of the Maine is referenced. A soldier’s brother was killed and all his skin burned off. Penelope wishes she could slap a girl. A peripheral character dies. A man imagines killing someone. A man undresses a woman and pushes her down in the bed. Multiple characters join the army.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – People drink alcohol and get drunk. One man is said to have “a drinking life.” Another man is repeatedly intoxicated (sometimes at inappropriate times of day). Alcohol mentioned includes champagne cocktails, Madeira, cognac, champagne, bourbon, beer, scotch, brandy . Many characters smoke cigarettes.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.