Thursday, January 8, 2015

Liv, Forever

Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington. Soho Teen, 2014.

Liv Bloom, a self described "art dork," is accepted at an elite private school  as scholarship student. She spent her early years in and out of foster homes, well cared for, but not emotionally connected to her foster families or adoptive parents. She's excited about a new life far from her LasVegas home. Little does she know that the remotely located Wickham Hall, which boasts it's own cemetery and "catacombs," is attended by students from wealthy and powerful families.  An even more elite secret society, the Victors, exists at the school. Although she's still an outsider, bullied or ignored, Liv is befriended by Gabe, another scholarship student who claims to hear ghosts, and popular legacy student, Malcolm Astor. Despite warnings from Gabe, Liv's relationship with Malcolm heats up. One night, on her way back from a secret rendezvous with Malcolm, Liz is murdered, but the school and local officials rule her death a suicide.

Partnering up with Gabe and a wary Malcolm, Liv investigates her own death, discovering the school's long history of hushed up student disappearances and deaths. Who's behind all these deaths? And why has Liv become the latest victim?

Amy has done a marvelous job of balancing a novel with multiple genres (paranomal, mystery, and romance). Liv and Gabe show good character development over the course of the novel and their voices feel authentic. While Liv is the narrator (and having a dead narrator is an interesting twist), there are other strong voices in the novel, notably Gabe's. His anger and fear are palpable.

Throughout the narrative, Liv refers to works by other artists to explain situations in her life, which gives a visual feel to the narrative.

Here's some imagery from a nightmare:

"But then images started to emerge from the darkness around us. At first they were pleasant: a Titian cheruba Chagall angel. But then one of Bosch's devils appeared." 

Amy's web site provides a list of art references from the book.

Additionally there's many references to contemporary music (see Amy's web site for a playlist) and Romance poets, especially William Blake. Liv is a big fan of Blake's whom she likes for his ability to combine art and poetry. Selections from his works are woven into the novel and shared between Liv and Malcolm.

Give this to fans who like paranormal romances like Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush series. However, teens who aren't big fans of romance don't need to worry-the loving's light and there's a great mystery a chilling conspiracy, and a finale with edge-of-your-seat action.

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