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Liv, The Friendly Ghost

The mystery in Amy Talkington's Liv, Forever involves a spooky conspiracy and a prestigious boarding school. It's elementary, dear readers, why this is a match made in heaven.

Liv, The Friendly Ghost

BOOK REPORT for Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

Cover Story: A YA Exorcist Remake
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Show Me Your Story
Bonus Factor: Ghosts
Relationship Status: I’d Be OK With You Haunting Me

Cover Story: A YA Exorcist Remake

I do not like this cover. I do not like the way the girl on the cover is floating. I do not like how the girl’s odd dress is making it look like her head’s on backwards.

OK, fine. I actually like this cover. It’s just the right amount of eerie. But it really does make me a little make me a little uncomfortable.

The Deal:

Olivia “Liv” Bloom has been accepted to the prestigious Wickham Hall prep school on an art scholarship. She sees the school, which is located in Northern New Hampshire, as a world away from her adopted parents and their home in Utah, and she’s excited to get to work on her art in her very own studio, with all of the supplies she could ever want at her fingertips. When Liv is murdered, however, six weeks into the semester, she finds herself stuck between life and death—and part of a deadly school conspiracy.

BFF Charm: Yay

Liv is “an outsider.” She’s an artist who wears vintage sundresses at a school full of people who wear suits and cocktail dresses. She doesn’t understand terms like “prefects,” “coxswains” or “Head of the Charles,” which her fellow students speak about with ease.* She reminds me a lot of my best friend from high school, who never really cared what other people thought of her, and was more than content to march to the beat of her own drummer. Even in death, Liv still goes against the grain. I’m a big fan.

*One bone to pick: Liv likely would have read Harry Potter, so she’d totally know what a prefect was. But I can’t fault her for the coxswain or Head of the Charles issues. I only know about these things because I went to a university in the northeast.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Liv experiences a bit of instalove with an unexpected guy. Thankfully, it’s a sweet kind of relationship, two kindred odd souls meeting unexpectedly rather than a two hot people being thrust together into an unbelievably perfect match. Amy Talkington makes it feel like a real “love at first sight” situation—there was confusion on Liv’s part and a bit of mistrust on mine, thinking he might be part of the conspiracy, that adds to the realism of the relationship. The plot of the book makes it a little impossible for Liv and her guy to have a happily ever after, but their story is still very sweet.

Talky Talk: Show Me Your Story

Talkington has a background in screenwriting and music journalism that’s somewhat apparent in Liv, Forever. This style of writing adds a bit of punch to the story, and it’s particularly noticeable in Talkington’s character descriptions. For example:

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 than the others'. Not disapproving or shocked. It almost looked like wonder. I noticed his shirt was partially untucked. And his teeth were not perfect; one buckled ever so slightly in front of the other.

In addition, Talkington has broken up Liv’s story with short stories from other girls. They’re all written in distinct and different personalities, and although, at the start of the book, it’s not apparent who these girls are, their vignettes add to the mystery and allow readers to start investigating outside of the main plot.

Bonus Factor: Ghosts

The ghosts in Liv, Forever are certainly spooky, but they also each have their own personalities. I’m not a huge horror fan, so it’s nice to read about ghosts who aren’t beings made of pure evil and have no real interest in wanting to possess your body and do sketchy or hurtful things while they’re inside your meat suit.

Casting Call:

Kat Dennings as Liv

Relationship Status: I’d Be OK With You Haunting Me

I don’t usually like ghost stories, Book, but when you started mixing yours with a boarding school conspiracy, I was hooked. Somebody set up the Ouija Board and bust out the candles—I’m ready to commune with your spirits (if you know what I mean).

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Soho Press. I received neither Cadbury Mini Eggs nor money for this review. Liv, Forever will be available March 11.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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