Publisher: Soho Teen
Purchase: Amazon | B&N
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
*I Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Artistically written and hauntingly inviting, this is a great debut from a skillful new author. That said, I liked the story and all the elements used. From the descriptive scenes to the spookiness, my interest was kept until the very end. The story opened up with us getting to know the main character. Olivia didn't grow up with her biological parents, but instead she was coming from the foster care system into a new situation where, the one thing she was passionate about and had drowned herself into, had landed her the opportunity to attend a prestigious school. Wickham Hall was somewhat of a haven; Liv would be able to dive deeper into her art and develop her skill further. It was the perfect place for someone as creative as she was.
The moment Liv arrived at Wickham, she's enthralled by its Gothic appeal and history. You can only imagine her delight when she's given a large space to work on her art. But things at this new school aren't as perfect as it seems. And her suspicions heightened when she comes in contact with another loner, Gabe Nichols. But Liv wasn't convinced about the school actually being haunted, or that Gabe has some weird contact with the otherworldly. She ignored the latter's warning to stay clear of one of the institutions finest, Malcolm, and to diminish all attraction she felt towards him. And who could blame her? They shared a love for art, as well as yearned for the day to freely express themselves.
The addition of romance was sweet and bitter at the same time, and while I liked that Liv was finally able to feel such emotions for the first time in her life, I have to say though, that aspect of the story didn't persuade me. Their feelings didn't really pull me in, and with everything going on at the school, I spent the majority of the book suspecting Malcolm and not exactly opening up to him. In fact, I would have loved if something had blossomed between Liv and Gabe instead. Aside from that, my only other issue is that there were times it got draggy, for me, and I would have loved for some more things happening, even after Liv met her demise.
Regardless, when it picked up. It really picked up. I liked how there were scenes giving the reader an understanding of the spirits, along with the parts where Liv was working with Gabe and reading about people of the past. It kind of added a bit of an historical aspect that appealed to me. There was mention of other stuff like famous artists and paintings, as well as how they're interpreted. The author did a good job in bringing the pages to life and putting my imagination to work. Kudos to you, Amy.
To conclude, Liv, Forever was evocative. If you enjoy Gothic stories with mysterious rudiments (like me), you'll enjoy this one. While it would have been even better that the main character didn't die, I understood how the occurrence brought evil doers to justice and released the captive spirits. All in all, this is a wonderfully written story.
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.