Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington Review

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Title: Liv, Forever
Author: Amy Talkington (Twitter)
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publish Date: March 11, 2014
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 280
Source: Publisher

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.
Liv, Forever is the perfect example of a novel that should, but doesn't, have a lot of hype surrounding it. I first fell in love with the cover of the book months ago, but the cover pales in comparison to the meat of the story, which is thrilling, dramatic, heartbreaking and beautiful. There's a certain aura about murder mysteries that often seems so very cut and dried. This singular book, however, proves that there can be so much more to such a story. Quirky and endearing, we're offered a story that's equal parts mystery and romance, giving us characters to believe in, a murder plot to unravel and a story that will easily sweep us along in its haunting embrace.

There's a subtle beauty to this story that goes hand in hand with the gothic darkness that creeps up slowly, alluring and deceiving. The fact that Ms. Talkington was able to give us a tale that's romantic, as well as dark and mysterious, tells a lot about her ability as a writer, as neither element seemed to circumvent the other. Rather, the two seemed to go hand in hand. Just when something seemed too dark, or too messy to be appropriate, the romantic interludes would creep in, giving us a beautiful, albeit sad, shoulder to rest on. As such, I think that the romance between Liv and Malcom was really well done. In some ways, I could see it as an insta-love scenario, but the connection between two very well-developed characters made it much more appropriate and tangible. Their love is what makes Liv, Forever such a masterpiece, as it seems to be that overarching storyline that gives us hope and provides us with a touch of lightness when surrounded by such despair.

Liv was a tricky character. She kept to herself, and as such, I felt like a fellow wallflower reading the novel. She knew she didn't belong at Wickham, but at the same time, she is what made the school bearable. At times, I felt as though she was too accepting of her death in the immediate tense. I would have expected far more dismay and alarm, but she seemed to take her demise in stride. Malcolm, on the other hand, felt it very deeply and, as such, I felt more drawn to his character. Though a Wickham student through and through, he had a sensitive soul that made it easy to fall for him. Likewise, Gabe offered us touches of humour, as well as a snide, derisive persona that worked well to offset the personalities of various ghosts and their agendas.

The plot of Liv, Forever was fast-paced and thrilling. Ms. Talkington gave us a depth and complexity that I'll readily admit I did not expect from such a slim novel. I was surprised and pleased to see that this story is actually multi-layered, giving us a rich, formative history that unfurls as the plot progresses, numerous secondary characters, each of whom plays a significant role in the story and a mystery that I didn't actually manage to solve by myself. Cleverly crafted, it's a novel that exudes a sense of familiarity, as these are characters that we've all known at some point in our lives, but still an air of emotional, heart-stopping, draw-dropping drama. Plus, with a love story that's fully engaged and front and center, we can't help but be completely invested.

I was really, completely surprised and pleased with Liv, Forever. It's a beautiful story that transcends the genre norms and really asks us to think and feel as we follow along Liv, Gabe and Malcolm's journey. Needless to say, it's not a story I'll soon forget. I give it a very high 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy gothic mysteries and paranormal romances.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Quickly paced is what I'm wanting lately! All the books I've read lately are like 400-500+ ugh.

    What a wonderful review! <33

    1. Then you'll love this one, Melanie! It's right up there with my favs of 2014 thus far!

  2. I was asked to review this book, Melissa, but I didn't accept the request because it involves ghosts and I'm not too keen on those.
    It sounds like I'm truly missing out though because the plot seems fantastic and so does the characters. I can tell that I'll identify with Liv because I'm a little bit of a wallflower too.
    Lovely review as always, Melissa.

    1. Nick, I can't recommend this book enough! I fell in love with it - and the characters. It's really beautifully done. You almost forget that Liv is a ghost.

  3. Oh, nice! I was wondering about this one but the cover and yet another dead kid story made me wary. However, you've convinced me that I need to check this book out. NEED TO, Melissa.

    1. It's SO different and so well-done, Mary! I hope you read it and love it as much as I did!

  4. Oooo this is the book you were telling me about Melissa! Definitely adding this to the list. If you say read it, I say YES PLEASE. Normally I might pass a story like this by because I'm sometimes struggle with ghostly romances, but clearly it is epic and brilliant and I need to get my hands on it asap. Can't wait:)

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  6. This is good to know! I saw this on someone's Waiting on Wednesday and It definitely caught my eye. Now I know for sure that I will read it based on your lovely review ;)
    Thanks for sharing xoxo
    Book Hangovers Blabs Books

  7. I seriously had not heard of Liv, Forever until I read your review! While it's not what I'd normally read, you make it sound pretty fascinating. I love that it's got a well-balanced combination of mystery and romance!

  8. I saw this recently but wasn't too sure about it, I loved the cover was a bit nervous about the story itself. Happy to hear you enjoyed it so much though and it does sound really interesting. I think I will definitely have to give it a go now. Thanks for the great review :)

  9. You had me sold at "There's a subtle beauty to this story that goes hand in hand with the gothic darkness that creeps up slowly, alluring and deceiving." - it sounds amazing (and I love gothic mysteries). This is the first time I'm hearing about this book, so I'm glad that's a story worth reading. *adds to TBR list*

    Fabulous review!

  10. Ah, beautifully written! I had a hard time writing my review of this book; it was so good, that I just couldn't find the words I really wanted to describe how much I loved it. You pretty much captured all the things I wanted to say but didn't know how to.

  11. Wow, I can't believe I haven't read even one other review for this book! It really does seem to be one of those hidden gems, but I'm adding it to my TBR at once! I don't usually gravitate towards gothic stories, but when I'm in the mood for one, I'll be picking this one up next. Wonderful review, Melissa! :)

  12. I saw this one on NG and thought it had a beautiful cover which made me hesitant to request it. I've been burned too many times by beautiful covers. I'm glad that this one surprised you. I love when that happens! I'll be sure to pick this one up. I love the sound of the Gothic mystery and the romance.


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