Book 37 of 2015: Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

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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 want to start this review off by saying that there is a small number of books that made me want to cry. The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of those books and now, I can claim Liv, Forever is another one.

This book seems to have it all. There’s teen angst, there are corrupted rich people, ghosts, serious creep value, and a romance that definitely pulls the heartstrings and makes you swoon. There is music and art. There is also the firm notion that being different is a great thing and shouldn’t be contained, but set free.

I got this book for the blurb alone. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I cracked it open. I was surprised. So surprised that I postponed another book I’m reading just to finish this one. It may not be rare for me to read a young adult book in a day, but one that had this much emotional value for me? I can’t pin another book down on that off the top of my head.

Liv Bloom is a introverted artist. She lives for her art. It’s the one thing that keeps her sane and alive. She’s a girl from a foster life turned adoption, but never felt truly alive aside from making art. Being a writer, I can understand her. I’m an introvert and I can’t even think of a day where I don’t want to write something. When you have a passion like that, you are special. But, does Liv feel special in her new prestigious school? Not so much.

Enter Malcolm. Yes, he’s cute and definitely a legacy kid. This guy is from money and it shows in his demeanor. However, there’s a simplicity to him; a Romantism to him (the “r” is capitalized for a reason). There’s more to him than the cute face or richly lined pockets. What’s even better is his eyes catch onto Liv.

Now, yes, there is a romance, but this isn’t a romance book. A romance book implies they end up together and that there is a happy ending. I don’t think I’m spoiling that Liv does die in the book. Within the first quarter in fact! You aren’t going to see them holding hands and planning out their future. HOWEVER, there is a Romantic (there’s that capital r again) and natural way to their relationship. I felt moved in a way that Romantic poetry moves me.

And here’s what I really love, the creep value and ghosts. YES! There are ghosts in this book. Every few chapters are divided into italized chapters where we learn the story of a few of the ladies. The manner of their deaths is integral to the story and adds on to the creepiness that is them. They are haunting and beautiful, damning and wonderful. Each girl’s story is heartbreaking in its own way.

This book paid homage to my favorite Romantic authors and some artists I’ve grown to love; all the while twisting a tale of conspiracy, murder, and a priveleged life. You feel the underbelly of a private boarding school that holds as many secrets as there are ghosts.

It didn’t really take long for me to figure out what was going on, but the way the book is written was like the way a painting is painted. You see the full story early on, but by looking at the different brushstrokes or observing a subject you find somehting you might just cast aside. The way Liv, Forever is written it is a journey of emotions and something deeper than the storyline. I can’t really place it.

Honestly, if you love ghosts stories, art, or even a young adult book that spurs so much emotion you don’t know where to place it; read Liv, Forever. I’m keeping my copy and I know it’s a book I’m going to want to revisit time and time again.

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