Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

Title: Liv, Forever
Author: Amy Talkington
Genre: Young Adult, Paranromal-Mystery
Series: Standalone but possible sequel?

Hardcover, 280 pages
Publication: March 11, 2014 by Soho Teen

Source: I received a review copy from the publicist in exchange for a honest review/blog tour.

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 was one of my most anticipated books out this year, and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint! When I first heard of Liv, Forever I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis and excited by the cover. I am a sucker for boarding school novels...and this one is with ghosts! Double win. I thought I knew what to expect when starting Liv, Forever…but there was so much more to the synopsis! Liv, Forever was a beautifully written, haunting, chilling and heartfelt story that enthralled me from the first page.

Olivia ‘Liv’ Bloom, a child of the foster care system just won a two-year scholarship to the most prestigious school in the world, Wickham Hall. Liv can’t wait to see the opportunities that await her and the prospects to strengthen her talents as an artist. But right off the bat Liv knows she won’t fit in. She has always been one to keep to herself and it doesn’t help that 99% of the students are rich; their parents an alumni or a legacy. Regardless of being an outcast, Liv is thrilled to get away from her foster parents and the life she left behind. Things start to look up when Liv catches the eyes of the most popular and handsome boy in school, Malcolm. Over the first few weeks of school Liv is living on a high, enjoying Malcolm’s company and learning what it means to love…but things come to an abrupt end when Liv is murder. And her only hope of finding her murderer is Wickham’s outcast Gabe. Together Gabe and Liv convinces Malcolm that she is still around; and as the three piece clues together they find out Liv’s death is more sinister than they thought and that it ties directly back to the school and its members.

Liv wasn’t the first girl to be murdered at Wickham Hall. The book opens up with a chapter narrated by one of the murdered victim of Wickham; and throughout the book readers get to hear each murdered girl tell her side of the story (there are 7 girls) on how she died which is seamlessly woven with Liv’s chapters narrated before and after her death. Talkington doesn’t waste any time with the story as Liv is murdered early on in the book, creating an eerie suspenseful tone that makes up the entire book till the very end. I’ve read a lot of paranormal and star-crossed lovers’ books but Liv, Forever is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Talkington takes the two overused ideas and breathes new life into it; creating something refreshing and unique. I read many books and seen many movies that either had ghosts in them or featured a ghost and I can say Talkington’s ghosts are very imaginative. Talkington explains in great detail on why the ghosts in her book act a certain way, and like everything in life there are certain rules and boundaries that the ghosts have to abide by. As for the star-cross lover aspects, Malcolm and Liv may be from two different worlds but yet they are implicitly the same…especially for their love and appreciation for art. I was happy to see that the two didn’t fall into the YA love trend (well Malcolm did drop the L-WORD super fast but not Liv). They were both attracted and curious of one another but their relationship didn’t grow and blossom till after Liv’s death. That in itself, the relationship of these two characters is something I’ve never seen/read before. It was strange and beautiful; so well thought out and written that it made me root for their relationship even when I knew how impossible it was.

Liv was a good-okay character. That might sound odd, as she is the main protagonist and narrator of the book but I never felt like I knew her or got to connect with her before or after her death. I mean sure, readers knew she was lonely, a great artist and had a tough childhood but it was all the just basic information.  Readers briefly learn the 5 W’s of Liv’s life in the first couple chapters but the rest of the book was dedicated to finding Liv’s killer and learning about Wickham Hall and its mysterious traditions. I learned and connected with Malcolm and Gabe more than Liv, which probably makes sense since the two are the proactive ones in finding Liv’s murderer. From the start I knew who Malcolm and Gabe were, why they acted the way they do and their history but Liv really stuck to the idea that she was a nobody, and that she was invisible to everyone…and therefore she was (she was killed precisely for that reason, because no one would have cared/noticed she died).

Liv, Forever is Talkington’s debut novel, and it was an amazing first novel. Although, the way Ms. Talkington writes you’d think she’s a seasoned author! I love everything about this book; the charming and sweet romance, Gothic setting, spooky ghosts, wonderful characters and exceptional world building. This is by far the best book I’ve read so far this year! I haven’t read such a memorable and gratifying book in a long time till I read this book. Liv, Forever is a perfect balance of genres; it has romance, suspense/thriller, mystery, paranormal and horror…a little something for everyone. I highly recommend this book to everyone; because I truly believe it can be enjoyed by both teens and adult (maybe some tween but I thought it was pretty creepy at times…I got Goosebumps while reading this book at night lol). The book is fairly short, less than 300 pages but I thought it was the perfect length and pace. Each chapter was packed with action and suspense, so there was never a dull moment. I’m not sure if there will be a sequel or not but if there is, I’d be the first in line to read/buy it! I will be keeping my eyes out for Talkington’s future books, definitely a writer/book not to be missed!


  1. Ah yay!! So glad to hear this one was good. I love that fact that we get to hear the stories from the ghosts. Looking forward to this one even more now!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Becky! Yeah, the other ghost pov was a nice added touch. I can't wait to see what you think of it as well, will be on the look out for your review! :)