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Liv, Forever

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Overview

This debut ghostly romance, set at a sinister boarding school, is “spooky, sexy, strange, and shocking,” says Printz and National Book Award finalist E. Lockhart.

When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, she’s thrilled. The school’s traditions and rituals may be a little strange, but for the first time ever she has her own studio, supplies—everything she could want. Including Malcolm Astor, a legacy student with his own art obsession. Liv’s defenses melt, despite...

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Overview

This debut ghostly romance, set at a sinister boarding school, is “spooky, sexy, strange, and shocking,” says Printz and National Book Award finalist E. Lockhart.

When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, she’s thrilled. The school’s traditions and rituals may be a little strange, but for the first time ever she has her own studio, supplies—everything she could want. Including Malcolm Astor, a legacy student with his own art obsession. Liv’s defenses melt, despite warnings from fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols not to get involved with Malcom.
 
But her bliss is doomed; weeks after arriving, Liv is viciously murdered. Gabe, the only one who can see her, is now her sole link to the world of the living. Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/13/2014
Think Ghost meets The Sixth Sense, acted by the Brat Pack—this first novel from screenwriter Talkington has the feel of an elevator pitch. Readers who haven’t seen the movies shouldn’t have a problem with the lack of originality; the author’s prose is highly readable, her story is well-paced, and the three protagonists (while not much more than familiar types) are sketched with appealing deftness. Liv, the arty outsider, is accepted to old-money Wickham Hall, a boarding school in the woods of New Hampshire. She naturally gravitates toward Gabe—a strange, moody boy shunned by the rest—but her heart thrills to Malcolm, one of the most popular students. Gabe claims to see ghosts, which pragmatic Liv doubts, until she becomes one. Discovering who killed her drives the final two-thirds of the book. The relentlessly visual focus of the prose (with frequent references to William Blake, Giacometti, Haring, Caspar David Friedrich, and more) reveals Talkington’s personal vision, but it’s a vision that readers without a significant cultural vocabulary will find it difficult to fully share in. Ages 14–up. Agent: Blair Kohan, United Talent Agency. (Mar.)
Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Deborah L. Dubois
Liv cannot believe her luck when she lands an art scholarship to Wickham Hall, an elite prep school in New England. She feels out of place with many of the rich students but makes friends with Gabe, another scholarship kid, and is surprised when Malcolm Astor, part of one of the founding families, is interested in her. Liv goes against Gabe’s advice, and she and Malcolm fall in love. All seems to be going well until Liv is murdered and becomes one of the ghosts that are tied to Wickham Hall—only Gabe can see and hear her. Liv, Gabe and Malcolm work together to discover who killed Liv and all the other girls over the years, and why. In the end, they expose a secret so horrible that it changes Wickham forever. Each of the girls who were killed, one every ten years, has a chance to tell her tale in sections interspersed with the chapters of Liv’s story. Malcolm and Liv are the ultimate star-crossed lovers, but with Gabe’s help, they find a way to communicate and share their feelings even after her death. Solving the mystery of the multiple murders is a task that puts both Gabe and Malcolm in danger, but with the help of Liv and the other ghosts, they triumph in the end. This quirky love story will appeal to teens who enjoy a good ghost story. Reviewer: Deborah L. Dubois; Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 7 Up—Olivia Bloom never expected to attend the distinguished Wickham Hall, an exclusive East Coast prep school populated by the progeny of the country's wealthiest and most powerful people. A scholarship student, she's instantly shunned by the majority of the student body, except for Gabe, another scholarship student, and Malcolm, campus golden boy and member of the secretive Victors. Although Malcolm is immediately attracted to Liv, his friends despise her and her kind. When Liv is murdered, her death is ruled a suicide, a lie perpetuated by the Victors, but Liv knows better: she exists as a ghost, and with the help of Gabe, who can see and hear spirits, she plans to bring the truth of her death-and the deaths of countless other female Wickham students-to light. Talkington crafts an interesting mix of paranormal fiction, mystery, and romance in her debut novel, and while the story could have been overwhelmed by the multiple genres, it holds up surprisingly well. Liv is a likable outsider whose lack of understanding of the school's traditions should resonate with readers who've ever felt like they don't quite fit in, giving the character credibility. Although years in foster care have made her guard her emotions, she's a romantic at heart, and Talkington plays that up. What is bothersome is the insta-love that Liv and Malcolm feel, especially since Malcolm's character lacks substantial development to warrant Liv's strong feelings. Overall, this is a light, suspenseful read that will have broad appeal.—Audrey Sumser, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Mayfield, OH
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-15
A ghost story set at a posh boarding school hits plenty of buttons for school-conspiracy and romance fans. Sixteen-year-old Liv has had a difficult life in a series of foster homes. Now adopted, she still seeks escape and thinks she's found it when she wins a scholarship to attend New Hampshire's uber-exclusive Wickham Hall. Upon arrival, she immediately realizes that, as a scholarship student, she won't fit in with the bluebloods that have populated the school for generations. As usual for the genre, the school has an elite secret society, the Victors. It also has ghosts, spirits of various girls who were murdered on campus over a span of many decades. When the same fate befalls her, Liv begins, as a ghost, to investigate the mystery of the deaths, which somehow may be tied to the Victors. Through her friend Gabe, who can hear ghosts, she finds a means to communicate with her new heartthrob, Malcolm; he's a Victor, but he appears to love her. Can the trio fully trust one another, and can Liv not only solve the mystery, but convince the police as well? While the narrator-as-ghost adds an interesting twist, the book remains primarily a mystery surrounding the school's secret society. The romance elements come across as bittersweet, of course, considering the fact that Liv's dead. Average, but satisfying enough for paranormal fans still engaged by the genre. (Paranormal mystery. 12-16)
From the Publisher
Praise for Liv, Forever

"Secret societies and specters: two things I love. Liv, Forever is spooky, sexy, strange and shocking. A great read."
—E. Lockhart, Prinz honoree, NBA finalist, and author of We Were Liars

“A passionate love story with an intelligent sense of humor . . . A must-read.”
—Marti Noxon, producer/writer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Glee, and I Am Number Four

“It’s romantic, it’s gruesome and you won’t want it to end. Two severed thumbs up.”
—Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood and Antigoddess

“Nimble and heartfelt, with knowledge rich and deep of what it means to be different.”
—Anna Godbersen, New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe

"Amy Talkington paints an unforgettable tale that is both spine-chilling and heartwarming. Readers will die for Liv."
Tonya Hurley, New York Times bestselling author of the Ghost Girl series

“A privileged boarding school setting, a sinister secret society, and a sweet romance that transcends even death . . . A pitch-perfect paranormal.”
Justine Magazine

“[Liv’s death] should come as no surprise—and yet, somehow, it does . . . The story, a romance meets ghost story meets mystery, is well written and authentic.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

"[Talkington's work exhibits] a sly, caustic sense of humor, a playfulness that can go dark fast."
—Dallas Morning News

"This quirky love story will appeal to teens who enjoy a good ghost story."
—VOYA Magazine

“[Liv, Forever’s] gothic feel is what sets it apart from other boarding school stories, in addition of course, to the mystery at its heart . . . A ghost story, a love story, and a tragedy.”
—BookTrib

"A snappy mystery . . . [and a] fast-paced story."
—Booklist

"Think Ghost meets The Sixth Sense, acted by the Brat Pack . . . relentlessly visual."
Publishers Weekly

"An interesting mix of paranormal fiction, mystery, and romance . . . Liv is a likable outsider whose lack of understanding of [Wickham Hall’s] traditions should resonate with readers who’ve ever felt like they don’t quite fit in.”
—School Library Journal 

"Hits plenty of buttons for school-conspiracy and romance fans . . . The narrator-as-ghost adds an interesting twist."
—Kirkus Reviews

“A smart and emotionally affecting detective story . . . A must-read for anyone looking for a smart paranormal thriller with emotional depth.”
—Reviewing the Evidence

“For your vicarious (read: imaginary) spring break . . . Order now.”
—Daily Candy Dallas

"A ghost story overflowing with a creepy school, a mysterious society, and a love that just seems impossible . . . Liv, Forever is an extremely hard book to put down."
—Fresh Fiction

“A spooky conspiracy and a prestigious boarding school. It's elementary, dear readers, why this is a match made in heaven . . . Somebody set up the Ouija Board and bust out the candles.”
—Forever YA

"Liv, Forever delivers gothic romance with Joss Whedon-esque delight. A meta-ghost story that will keep your blood chilled through the very last page!"
 —Lex Hrabe, co-author of the Quarantine series

"Liv and Malcolm are the ultimate star-crossed artists—bound by a love of Banksy and Bon Iver, but separated by death."
Jill Greenberg, fine artist and celebrity photographer

“Does a great job of expressing what it’s like to be different through her various characters, while reminding us that things—and people—are not always what they seem . . . A wonderful read.”
—Crimespree Magazine

"Fresh and intelligent."
—Annie Curtis, Youth Services Librarian, Gallatin, TN

 

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616953225
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 245,615
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Lexile: HL630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

A man in a black suit was waiting for me. He had polished shoes and white gloves, holding a sign that read Wickham Hall. It was written in the same font I’d seen on their website. I’d call it “ye oldy worldy.” But that’s just me. It’s the kind of font you can’t really read. The kind that screams to the world, “We’re so important, we don’t care if you can read our logo.” It’s the kind of font you’d see on a gravestone in London. Not that I’ve been to London. But I’m into fonts. It’s part of what I do.
     The man looked at me with—well, pity might be a little strong. But it was certainly on the pity spectrum. Perhaps it was just sympathy. He noticed my fingernails and asked if I needed to go to “the powder room.”
     “It’s not dirt. It’s ink,” I told him. “It’s permanently there.” The pity turned to something more like poorly veiled disgust. “No, not like tattoo ink. Like pen ink. I draw things.” He nodded his head like he couldn’t care less.
     I’d said, “I draw things,” as if it were no big deal. Just something I do, like take a shower or go to school. But it’s all I do. Or at least it’s all I do that matters. I was certain it was the reason I was standing at baggage claim at Boston’s Logan Airport headed to the best prep school in the country for my last two years of high school. My grades certainly didn’t get me into Wickham Hall. I assumed it was my portfolio. I’d worked on it for months. I knew it was my only hope of getting out.
     The man was surprised by how little I’d packed. One duffle bag for my clothes. And one very heavy suitcase.
     “Shoes?” he asked as he lifted the suitcase with effort from the carousel.
     “No, books, vintage magazines. Ink.” For my collages. I brought as much as I could carry. I wasn’t going to take any chances with the Wickham Hall school store.
     As he rolled my bags to the car, I got my first taste of humidity. I’d always heard of it, and now it was hitting me in the face, as thick as the paint on a Monet canvas. I’d never been east of the Mississippi. I’d never even been east of the Grand Canyon. Fine, I’d never been east of Las Vegas. I’d hardly been out of Las Vegas. We went to Reno once. That was our biggest family vacation to date. My parents aren’t big on vacations. Not because they don’t like not working—they love not working—but vacations cost money. And that they never have.
     So you can imagine what I thought when the man approached a limousine. I’m not kidding. A black stretch limousine. With tinted windows. “I was kinda more expecting a good ol’ American school bus. You know, the yellow ones?”
     “Not at Wickham Hall.”

AFTER WE LEFT THE Boston area, I tried to roll down my window. But it was locked. I could see in the rearview that the man had noticed, but he didn’t offer help. Finally I asked. He obliged. I stretched out across the back seat, lying on my back so I could look straight up toward the sky. The sky and trees became blurry fields of color—blue, white, and green—stacked like a Rothko painting. Except Rothko almost never used  green.
      When I sat back up, we were already in New Hampshire, where Live Free or Die is on every license plate. What a state motto. Much better than Nevada’s All for Our Country—what does that even mean? Live Free or Die is something I could get behind, and not just because it contains my name (phonetically). It’s passionate and romantic. I like all things Romantic. And I don’t mean mushy, cheesy romantic. I mean truly Romantic with a capital R. As in Byron, Shelley, Keats, and of course, William Blake.
     Live Free or Die. It made me think of how Modigliani’s muse Jeanne Hébuterne jumped to her death while pregnant with their second child the day after he died from tuberculosis. Or how the Dada artist René Crevel gassed himself the day before the Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture planned to censor his work.
     There are countless stories from days past, but it’s hard to imagine someone actually dying for freedom or even for love these days—in this country at least. Everyone I know is way too apathetic to consider it. My parents rarely bother to vote. Even the guys at school who talked about joining the army, all they care about is job security. No one says he wants to do it for his country or for freedom. But maybe that’s because they think it’d sound lame. It wouldn’t sound lame to me.
     Would I die for freedom? For love? I liked to think I had that in me, but how can you die for love if you’ve never felt it? And I don’t just mean I’d never had a boyfriend. I mean I’d possibly never felt love at all. The social worker said it was a protective mechanism. Maybe it was. I had four different foster families before I was finally adopted. I was practically bred not to love.
     Or maybe it’s just that I got matched with the wrong family. It could happen, couldn’t it? Just ending up with the wrong parents, the same way you could end up with the wrong guy on an Internet date.
     Headed to the far north finger of the state, we passed through Manchester then Concord, and after several more hours, penetrating deeper and deeper into woods that were more dense than I’d seen before, we approached a tall stone wall. I recognized it immediately from the website. It’s something they tout: fully enclosed within a wall built in 1781. I think it originally had something to do with the Revolutionary War. We drove along the perimeter for some time. It was so much bigger than I’d imagined. I wanted to say something to the man, but to be honest, he kind of scared me. So I saved it. Instead, I pulled out my moleskin notebook and ink.

WE WERE RUNNING LATE. The man made sure I was aware it was not his fault but rather due to my plane’s delay.
     “Tardiness is not tolerated at Wickham Hall,” he snipped. He told me he’d take me straight to Main to join the transfer tour. I asked him if I could skip it. But he said no, it was required—then shut the window between us, ending the conversation.
     I looked at my reflection in the tinted glass. Just a trace of me but enough to see the unfortunate circles under my eyes and a silhouette of my dark, tangled hair. The locket I always wore around my neck glimmered like a disco ball as the light came and went. I started to raise the back of my sleeve to wipe the shine off my nose, but we turned and the gates opened as we passed a security booth. My focus shifted from my reflection.
     A stretch of perfectly manicured gardens unfurled as far as I could see. I’ve always questioned the so-called perfection of surfaces. If you looked close enough, there was always a flaw. And sure enough, in the distance beyond those gardens, the jagged outline of an old cemetery crowned a plump green hill. That was more like it. Out the other window was a cluster of big Colonial buildings. We’d studied Mount Vernon in history class, and they looked just like four Mount Vernons—each imposing and symmetrical, painted white with black shutters and capped with a pointed cupola.
     Then we passed a spectacular Victorian mansion, its gingerbread trim delicately elaborate. And another one. And another. Signs out front announced these were faculty housing. I wanted to ask him to stop, but then I saw the Art Center. This one I’d studied of course. It was the reason I wanted to come to Wickham Hall. Designed by Rem Koolhaas, it was, according to the website, their only modern building. The school had called it a “perfect celebration of art.” They were right about that, at least. To me it looked like an explosion of everything I loved. I couldn’t wait to go there, unpack my suitcase, and actually have a studio.
     Up until now, I’d worked in my room. I had to cover my floor with painters’ drop cloths because our apartment had wall-to-wall carpet. My mother said if I got a single drop of paint on it, I’d have to pay for it myself. When it wasn’t too hot, I’d work in the alley or in a park nearby. But it was almost always too hot.
     I’d just spotted a Gothic chapel in the distance when the limousine stopped in front of the main building. The man came around and opened my door before I thought of it. He waved me toward a small gathering of students at the top of the stairs.
     “Your things will be waiting in your dorm: Skellenger,” he said, then closed the door and drove away.
      There was a small group of five or six students halfway up the steps of Main, following a girl with straight blonde hair. They were all dressed similarly in what the school website called “class dress”—dress shirt, tie and sport coat for guys and, for girls, a knee-length skirt and a blazer.
     I called out to the blonde. No response. I ran up the stairs.
     “Olivia Bloom. You’re late,” she snapped once I’d caught up. Not exactly the warm greeting one might have hoped for when coming clear across the country to attend a new school.
     “Sorry, my plane was delayed.”
     “Well, we’re on a tight schedule.” Then she got back to her tour, perturbed to have been interrupted. “Where was I?”
     One of the fawning male transfers said, “Presidents.”
     “Yes, as I was saying, two of the most illustrious presidents of the United States lived in those rooms,” she said, gesturing up to the windows of Main. Then she motioned over to the Mount Vernons. “And two others lived over there. Google it if you don’t already know. The point is: Wickham Hall has a rich history, renowned alumni, and a powerful network that extends around the entire world.” She spoke as though delivering a soliloquy for an unseen camera. “Now, come along. We have a lot to see.”
     She turned her back on us and scaled the stairs. From behind, I couldn’t help but stare at her hair. I’d never seen such straight hair cut in such a straight line. Surely some blog would proclaim this the perfect bob. But to me it looked like a piece of tracing paper wrapped around a head.
     We entered the lobby of Main, a stately, masculine sitting room with a hand-carved fireplace and massive pewter chandelier. It looked like the kind of place where cigars were smoked . . . or pipes—definitely pipes. Strangely, there were no students lounging in the deep leather chairs. I realized I hadn’t yet seen a single student on the campus aside from our small group.
     Perfect Hair led us through the lobby to a small door and then down a spiral staircase that was so narrow we had to walk single file. I was last, so by the time I reached the bottom of what seemed like hundreds of steps, I’d missed the beginning of her speech. Not that I really cared.
     “And you may or may not have heard the frivolous rumors that Wickham Hall is haunted. Students have passed ghost tales down from generation to generation, mostly as a means of diversion. And non-Wickies like to snicker about our ghosts because, frankly, there is nothing about us in the real world they can snicker at.”
     “Wickies?” I asked.
     “Yes, Wickies,” she replied, completely without humor, then turned to lead us down the dark hallway. I lingered back and looked around. I paused at an arched doorway and looked inside—a small nook—as she continued. “We call these the catacombs.  They connect all six of the original academic buildings. And, as you can see, they are not, in fact, haunted.”
     Right then, the lights went out. Pitch black. The group had moved several yards ahead, but I could hear our guide trying to remain calm. I laughed quietly—because it was as if a ghost were protesting its nonexistence (not that I believed in ghosts)—but, right then, I felt it. I turned quickly to look. It felt like someone had opened one of those giant freezer doors at the grocery store—that cold burst of air. Except here there were no doors. No windows.
     “Hello?” I called. I waved my arms.
     The guide assumed I was talking to her. “Is that Olivia? We’re up here! Please don’t get separated from the group!”
     I moved toward her shrill voice and the general rumble rising from the group of nervous transfers. “Everyone follow me,” she barked. “Stay close!”
     Just as I caught up with the group, there came a long and anguished howl. A textbook howl, really. One of the transfers screamed and grabbed me. Their chatter got louder. The panic was palpable. The guide had to yell to be heard. “Everyone calm down! Please! I’m leading us out the fastest way!”
     We started up some steps, rough and uneven underfoot, as if they were stone. And I could smell the dankness. While the other transfers whimpered and whispered, I still felt calm. We were inside a protected fortress, after all. What could happen? I had no idea I’d be so calm in the face of fear. I just listened to each pulse of my blood, surprised I could actually hear it pound in my ears. And I felt my heart banging through my chest like in an old Loony Tunes cartoon.
     As we mounted the stairs, a faraway shriek rose eerily from somewhere deep in the catacombs. One of the guys pushed me aside to save his own life. Nice. We all moved to get out of there as fast as possible, piling on top of one another.
     “This way!” the guide yelled, sounding quite overcome herself. We came around a bend to blinding bright lights and thundering noise. Oxford shirts. Blazers. Laughing faces. Perfect teeth. Lots of them. Kind of like those paintings by Yue Minjun—everyone laughing hugely and wearing the same clothes—except all these people weren’t Chinese. In fact, none of them were.
     I looked up and saw Gothic arches. To my left were some men and women, all delighted, and a pulpit. We were in a chapel. On stage. In front of the entire school. One of the men onstage approached a microphone, stifling a chuckle. “Welcome! Welcome transfers to Wickham Hall! Did you get a fright?”
     I looked to my fellow transfers. They were all quick to smile and play along, pretending that was absolutely the most charming greeting they’d ever received. I stood in disbelief. Disoriented, but mostly shocked.
     The man at the microphone, wearing a stiff blue suit, went on. “I’m Headmaster Thorton. We always welcome our new transfers with a grand prank. And, thanks to our star thespian Abigail Steers, we got ’em good!”
     Our guide, apparently named Abigail, stepped forward and took a bow. And then another one. The students cheered, and I noticed some adults I had to presume were faculty members also clapping and cheering for her.
     “So that was supposed to be funny?” I didn’t plan to say it. The words just fell out of my mouth. It wasn’t accusatory. It was a sincere question. I was truly grasping to understand what was going on. The headmaster went silent, and I knew he had heard me. Everything went silent, and everyone was looking at me. Accusing me. Or so it seemed. I’m sure it wasn’t that bad, but I’m not the type to stand onstage and make accusations. I’m the type who hides in her closet, drawing. For an instant it all felt very dramatic.
     But the headmaster ignored me, turned away as if I’d said nothing, and looked out to the student body, continuing his well-oiled speech. “As I was saying, welcome. You, transfers, are the chosen few, carefully selected to fill the scarce open spots at Wickham Hall. You will spend your remaining years in preparatory school getting the best education this country has to offer. But, be forewarned, we are an institution of traditions. Big and small. From our beloved Headmaster Holidays to our secret societies, we are founded on a tradition of excellence, of high performance, of, dare I say, perfection.”
      That’s when I noticed him. He was standing next to the headmaster, still looking at me, even though the others had turned away. Dirty blond. His expression was different from the others. Not disapproving or shocked. It almost looked like wonder. I noticed his shirt was partially untucked. And his teeth were not perfect, either; one buckled ever so slightly in front of the other. Our eyes met, and I quickly looked away. But I could feel his gaze linger. I desperately willed my face not to flush, my lips not to purse. Suddenly I was aware of every single muscle in my face. I even think I invented some. I tried to focus on the headmaster’s words.
     “As you all know, this is Wickham Hall’s sesquicentennial. We’re celebrating one and a half centuries as the country’s premier secondary school. We celebrate Wickham Hall’s birthday every year with Fall Festival, but this year, we have a very special alumni celebration planned.”
     He kept talking, but I no longer heard him. I looked up at the Gothic ceiling, but all I saw were those mesmerizingly imperfect teeth.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2014

    I loved this book--sex appeal plus a mystery, plus a huge spooky

    I loved this book--sex appeal plus a mystery, plus a huge spooky factor. What's not to love?!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2014

    I never know what to expect when there are ghosts and mystery in

    I never know what to expect when there are ghosts and mystery involved in books, but I certainly didn't expect to love Liv, Forever as much as I did. It was a dark but fun and heartwarming read - one that I will surely revisit in the future.

    Liv is a very likable main character. She's honest and spunky, and her love for art is just contagious. So I really pitied her when she was killed because, getting into Wickham Hall and a step further away from her old foster care life, she had only been starting to feel like her life was beginning. I did question one line of her thinking, though: if you were a ghost, wouldn't one of your first thoughts be to talk to other ghosts in the vicinity? To get over your fear of them because, hey, you're one of them now, and to ask if they any inkling of who killed you?

    Good thing Liv had Gabe, the only platonic relationship she made during her short life in Wickham Hall. Gabe could see and hear ghosts, and although this gift/curse did nothing but adorably scare him, it sure came in handy when Liv died because he was her only link to the living world. Being dead, Liv was surprisingly short on abilities, so she needed help if she were to solve the mystery behind hers and the many other deaths in her new school. And then there was Malcolm, the golden boy who didn't quite love his easy, privileged life. Malcolm and Liv fell in love in the little time they spent together, and, honestly, at first I rolled my eyes at them. I didn't think they could be real, you know? The boy seemed too good to be true, so for the most part I kept suspecting him of being part of something horrible and I just wanted to scream at Liv to not trust him. But in due time, their relationship grew on me and pinched at my heart because he couldn't even hear her. The feels. The pain.

    I had a hard time putting this book down when I had to because the mystery behind the killings at Wickham Hall was morbidly fascinating. Everyone was a suspect in my eyes, and I enjoyed watching Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm working together to uncover the identity of Liv's killer. They were a weird bunch, indeed - a dead girl, an outcast, and the popular guy - but that dynamic only made them more interesting. I was so nervous that the author would escalate things to love triangle levels, but thankfully, that didn't happen.

    Liv, Forever is like a captivating painting: every line will keep you looking until you realize you've seen it all. Art lovers will appreciate the plentiful art references in this book, but prepare your heart for the bittersweet ending - more bitter than sweet, really, but inevitable and satisfying, nonetheless.

    MY FAVORITE PART was Liv and Malcolm drawing together on the glass :c

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Disclosure: I received a review copy form the publicist in excha

    Disclosure: I received a review copy form the publicist in exchange for a honest review.

    Liv, Forever was one of my most anticipated books out this year, and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint!
     When I first heard of Liv, Forever I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis and excited by the cover.
     I am a sucker for boarding school novels...and this one is with ghosts! Double win.
    I thought I knew what to expect when starting Liv, Forever…but there was so much more to the synopsis!
     Liv, Forever was a beautifully written, haunting, chilling and heartfelt story that enthralled me from the first page.

    Olivia ‘Liv’ Bloom, a child of the foster care system just won a two-year scholarship to the most prestigious school in the world, Wickham Hall.
     Liv can’t wait to see the opportunities that await her and the prospects to strengthen her talents as an artist.
     But right off the bat Liv knows she won’t fit in. She has always been one to keep to herself and it doesn’t help that 99% of the students are rich; their parents an alumni or a legacy.
     Regardless of being an outcast, Liv is thrilled to get away from her foster parents and the life she left behind.
     Things start to look up when Liv catches the eyes of the most popular and handsome boy in school, Malcolm.
    Over the first few weeks of school Liv is living on a high, enjoying Malcolm’s company and learning what it means to love…but things come to an abrupt end when Liv is murder.
     And her only hope of finding her murderer is Wickham’s outcast Gabe.
    Together Gabe and Liv convinces Malcolm that she is still around; and as the three piece clues together they find out Liv’s death is more sinister than they
    thought and that it ties directly back to the school and its members.

    Liv wasn’t the first girl to be murdered at Wickham Hall. The book opens up with a chapter narrated by one of the murdered victim of Wickham;
    and throughout the book readers get to hear each murdered girl tell her side of the story (there are 7 girls) on how she died which is seamlessly woven with
     Liv’s chapters narrated before and after her death. Talkington doesn’t waste any time with the story as Liv is murdered early on in the book,
     creating an eerie suspenseful tone that makes up the entire book till the very end. I’ve read a lot of paranormal and star-crossed lovers’ books but Liv, Forever is unlike anything I’ve ever read.
    Talkington takes the two overused ideas and breathes new life into it; creating something refreshing and unique.
    I read many books and seen many movies that either had ghosts in them or featured a ghost and I can say Talkington’s ghosts are very imaginative.
    Talkington explains in great detail on why the ghosts in her book act a certain way, and like everything in life there are certain rules
    and boundaries that the ghosts have to abide by. As for the star-cross lover aspects, Malcolm and Liv may be from two different worlds
     but yet they are implicitly the same…especially for their love and appreciation for art. I was happy to see that the two didn’t fall into the
     YA love trend (well Malcolm did drop the L-WORD super fast but not Liv). They were both attracted and curious of one another but
     their relationship didn’t grow and blossom till after Liv’s death. That in itself, the relationship of these two characters is something I’ve never seen/read before.
    It was strange and beautiful; so well thought out
     and written that it made me root for their relationship even when I knew how impossible it was.

    Liv was a good-okay character. That might sound odd, as she is the main protagonist and narrator of the book but
     I never felt like I knew her or got to connect with her before or after her death. I mean sure, readers knew she was lonely,
    a great artist and had a tough childhood but it was all the just basic information. Readers briefly learn the 5 W’s of Liv’s life in the
     first couple chapters but the rest of the book was dedicated to finding Liv’s killer and learning about Wickham Hall and
     its mysterious traditions. I learned and connected with Malcolm and Gabe more than Liv, which probably makes sense
     since the two are the proactive ones in finding Liv’s murderer. From the start I knew who Malcolm and Gabe were, why they acted the
     way they do and their history but Liv really stuck to the idea that she was a nobody, and that she was invisible to everyone…
    and therefore she was (she was killed precisely for that reason, because no one would have cared/noticed she died). 

    Liv, Forever is Talkington’s debut novel, and it was an amazing first novel.
     Although, the way Ms. Talkington writes you’d think she’s a seasoned author! I love everything about this book;
    the charming and sweet romance, gothic setting, spooky ghosts, wonderful characters and exceptional world building.
    This is by far the best book I’ve read so far this year! I haven’t read such a memorable and gratifying book in a long time
     till I read this book. Liv, Forever is a perfect balance of genres; it has romance, suspense/thriller,
    mystery, paranormal and horror…a little something for everyone. I highly recommend this book to everyone;
    because I truly believe it can be enjoyed by both teens and adult (maybe some tweens but I thought it was pretty creepy at times…
    I got Goosebumps while reading this book at night lol). The book is fairly short, less than 300 pages but I thought it was
     the perfect length and pace. Each chapter was packed with action and suspense, so there was never a dull moment.
     I’m not sure if there will be a sequel or not but if there is, I’d be the first in line to read/buy it!
    I will be keeping my eyes out for Talkington’s future books, definitely a writer/book not to be missed!

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  • Posted March 12, 2014

    First great book I've read this year!

    I knew going into this haunting book by Amy Talkington that it was sure to be a thriller. I was not prepared to be afraid to read this book alone at night. There are so many intruiging things about this story that had me hooked. I genuinely felt for Liv, Malcolm and Gabe because they are written empathetically solid. Liv and Malcolm had and intimate sentiment of their feelings for each that was hands down beautiful and most important, original. That’s what I loved about the book; all the beautiful, scary and thrilling moments are weaved together perfectly to provide readers with a truly unforgettable story.

    This book needs to be shared because I believe it will entertain a large group of readers. While reading I thought of movies like The Skulls, Stir of Echoes and the book series by Elizabeth Chandler, Kissed by an Angel. The ghosts are beyond creepy yet interesting enough to be captivated by each of their stories. Oh that’s the other kicker in Liv Forever, readers will get to hear from each Wickham ghost that Gabe can see. Talkington writes each story so well that I had scary visuals of each, which was great.

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  • Posted March 11, 2014

    This a very well written story that, unfortunately, starts out j

    This a very well written story that, unfortunately, starts out just like all the other boarding school novels I’ve read lately. A scholarship student goes to a boarding school, isn’t liked by many, falls in love with the school hottie, and… is killed… finds out there is some bad mojo with the secret society within the school… realizes there are ghosts around… and basically fits the mold for the “boarding school” YA novel. It reminds me a little of a mash up of Poor Little Dead Girls, And We Stay, and Deceived. Now don’t get me wrong, those are all good books, but I really wanted something different with this one, and even though these books are all different, there’s enough similarities that it just didn’t pique my interest all that much in the beginning.

    Now, Liv, Forever focuses on Liv’s death, whereas the other novels I’ve read focus more so on attempted murders, so that was a nice change, especially as Liv’s ghost comes back to haunt Gabe as they try to figure out what happened. And, while the first half of the novel fits the mold for this type of novel nicely, the last half of the book is where is begins to branch out and become a different story, which in turn caught my interest. If you’ve never read a novel that takes place in a boarding school before, then I’d definitely recommend this as a good starting point. I enjoyed the aspects of the ghosts, and I liked Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm as characters. I also especially enjoyed the stories of each ghost’s death, told in first person, as if readers are drawn into the story to put the pieces together. However, I felt the beginning dragged on a bit and it just seemed too much like déjà vu for me as a reader, especially with the similarities to novels that have come before it, so even though I enjoyed some aspects, it doesn’t stand out in my mind, personally, all that much.

    Soho Teen has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Edelweiss.

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