March 9, 2014

Liv, Forever Blog Tour: Review 

Welcome to my stop on the Liv, Forever blog tour! Today I have my review of the book to share with you and don't forget to check out the trailer that was recently released!

Liv, Forever
Author: Amy Talkington
Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Publisher: Soho Teen


When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want.

Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride.

But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.

Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.

Liv, Forever is the story of Olivia Bloom - a foster kid shuffled around the system until she was finally adopted. She's a very talented artist, which earns her a scholarship to the prestigious Wickham Hall boarding school. Liv feels out of place at Wickham - until she meets Malcolm Astor, one of the rich kids whose family has been attending the school since it opened. When Liv and Malcolm's relationship deepens, the unthinkable happes - Liv dies. Only something's wrong because she's still at Wickham Hall, but nobody can see or hear her. Except for Gabe, her work-study partner and friend, who confessed to her while she was alive that he can see and hear ghosts across Wickham's campus. Liv convinces Gabe to find out what happened to her - who killed her and why - while also getting Malcolm to believe that she's still very much with him. The three begin to unravel a mystery that has been surrounding the school for over a century - things involving secret societies, the occult, and human sacrifices. Will Gabe and Malcolm be able to solve Liv's murder and expose those responsible before it's too late and Liv is gone forever?

I thought that this book had an interesting premise, even if it wasn't completely original. The characters were well written, but a bit cliched. You have the loner scholarship girl who the rich kids look down on, but she's pretty and talented. Enter the golden boy - a rich guy from "old blood" at the school and a star-crossed love begins. This isn't anything new when it comes to story lines, but the twist comes when Liv - the main character - unexpectedly dies. I found it interesting that she remained the lead character in the book despite being dead. It gave it a new angle that most novels don't delve into. Along with the paranormal elements throughout the book, the author weaves a detailed mystery that spans over a hundred years and lots of surprising twists. I loved trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Liv and what has been going on at Wickham. It was pretty easy to guess, but the smaller details made it more intriguing - especially towards the end. Along the way, the author included statements - almost like letters - from various girls who had died at Wickham over the years. With these, the author brings more questions and adds to the mystery woven throughout the book. Adding all of these elements together - the starcrossed love of Liv and Malcolm, the mystery surrounding the school, and all the secret society and paranormal things involved - created a compelling book that made me end up reading it in one sitting. I have to admit that I hated the ending. Obviously things couldn't really turn out differently, but I was hoping that somehow things would turn out okay. I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so let's just say that I was surprised, upset, and I found the ending bittersweet after finishing the book. Overall, this was a light and quick read that fans of mysteries and paranormal fiction will surely enjoy.

Amy Talkington is an award-winning screenwriter and director living in Los Angeles. Before all that she wrote about music for magazines like Spin, Ray Gun, Interview, and Seventeen (mostly just as a way to get to hang out with rock stars). As a teenager in Dallas, Texas, Amy painted lots of angsty self-portraits, listened to The Velvet Underground and was difficult enough that her parents finally let her go to boarding school on the East Coast. Liv, Forever is her first novel. 

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