Even though our main character Liv is murdered halfway in, LIV, FOREVER turns out to be quite a fun and moving novel.
Liv is a new “scolly” (scholarship) student at the prestigious Wickham Hall, admitted due to her promising art portfolio. Though most of the students ignore her, Liv becomes friends with Gabe, a fellow “scolly” who claims that ghosts are talking to him (and the reader knows he’s right thanks to the passages where the ghosts – all female “scollys” – tell us how they died in gruesome ways).
Liv also catches the eye of Malcolm, a legacy student who is a member of the creepy Wickham secret society. Though their relationship is an egregious case of instalove, I can forgive it because it’s delightfully swoony. For example, Malcolm leads Liv on a campus tour complete with a playlist to go along with the various locations, beginning with Bright Eyes’ “First Day of My Life”. Also, they use each other’s bodies as art canvases. So what if Malcolm is unrealistically perfect? This is a paranormal ghost story, guys.
When Liv dies, Gabe has to convince Malcolm to help him solve the mystery of Liv’s murder, a murder they suspect is connected to his secret society and to all the other ghosts. Hijinks ensue.
Author Talkington uses Liv’s artistic training to great effect to shape her voice. Metaphors including art references abound, and while those readers with less knowledge of art might find their inclusion pretentious, it really helped me to connect to Liv. For example, Liv describes Malcolm’s eyes as “Yves Klein blue” and that gave me an instant mental picture. Or this passage when Liv talks about her feelings for Malcolm:
I was dying inside. Brain exploding like a Pollock. Heart melting like one of Dalí’s clocks.
What an original way to describe an intense crush. I love it! And I loved this book. I might have even been misty-eyed by the end.
LIV, FOREVER is out in hardcover now. Find out more about it at the author’s website.
FTC disclosure: Amazon Vine