Author: Ann Aguirre
Genre: Thriller YA
Hardcover, 336 Pages
Publication: July 17, 2018 by Tor Teen
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
On a hot summer night, a screech of brakes and shattering glass changes two lives forever.
Liv wakes in the hospital, confused when they call her Morgan. She assumes it’s a case of mistaken identity, yet when the bandages come off, it’s not her face in the mirror anymore. It’s her best friend Morgan’s.
Morgan always seemed to have the perfect life, yet Liv must navigate endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety—and a romance that feels like a betrayal. Torn between the boy she loved as Liv and the boy she’s grown to love as Morgan, Liv still has to survive Morgan’s last request.
I’ve read a lot of Aguirre’s work from her Sci-Fi series, Paranormal Young Adult series to her series written with her husband; so I’m quite familiar with her writing style. And in my opinion Like Never and Always is one of her best work. Like Never and Always is a contemporary Young Adult Thriller with a dash of Science Fiction and Paranormal. There are two plots interwoven in the story; the first is Liv, a sixteen-year-old girl wakes up in the body of her best friend Morgan and from there navigates life as Morgan incorporating some of her own personalities and the second is finishing up Morgan’s task in finding out what really happened to her mom. Did she commit suicide or was she murdered?
Aguirre’s latest Young Adult novel touches on a lot of serious topics such as tragedy and grief, lies and betrayal, social status, death, and rape/pedophilia. I really liked how Aguirre layered the mystery in both regards to how Liv ended up in Morgan’s body and they mystery surrounding Morgan Mom’s death. And how she presented these topics into the story tastefully without it feeling forced. I thought Liv and Morgan’s characters were well developed and fleshed out. Even though readers only had a secondary impression of Morgan, by Liv living as Morgan and discovering her secrets; everything made complete sense from her relationship to her friends, acquaintances and to her own father. I don’t know what I would do if I woke up in someone’s else body. Terrified would be an understatement. However I thought Liv handled it as best as she could or thought she could (for the most part). By Liv occupying Morgan’s body she ended up meshing the best qualities of both of them to basically create a new person.
My only issue was the love triangle and how easily Liv was able to move into Morgan’s life. A little too easily and happily I may add (when it came to Clay). I didn’t like how in the beginning Liv was all about Nathan, his feeling, missing him and how she planned to tell him the truth and then a few chapters later she’s all about Clay and makes the final decision that she’s choosing Clay over Nathan. Whom are brothers by the way. I thought it was messy and heartless. She dated Nathan for 8-9 months and he’s was a complete wreck over causing her death yet she ends up falling madly in love with his brother after a a couple of weeks, a month? Not cool. However, by the end of the book I did eventually see Liv differently. Once she made her decision she never went back on it or wavier-ed; meaning despite Clay learning the truth, if he decided he didn’t want to be with her then she would be by herself. No going back to Nathan, no Clay. So there was that. It took a long time and a lot of eye-rolling but Aguirre somehow made everything work and gave the characters a HEA.
With that being said, I still enjoyed the book. It was the perfect combination of a thriller mystery and sci-fi/paranormal. There were a lot of twist and turns and I loved that I didn’t know where the story was going and by the time the ending came, I was completely shocked! I hope we get more books like this from Aguirre because it was unputdownable! I highly recommend it, it’s definitively something new, fresh and has a unique spin on body-swapping/mistaken identity.