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” (scholarshiEven 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. ...more
What Else Is There? by Royksopp Here In Me by Saint Saviour Demons by Imagine Dragons Fall For You by Secondhand SerenThe CHASING BEFORE playlist so far:
What Else Is There? by Royksopp Here In Me by Saint Saviour Demons by Imagine Dragons Fall For You by Secondhand Serenade Headlights by Morning Parade Move Along by The All-American Rejects Bedroom Hymns by Florence + the Machine Timshel by Mumford & Sons Don't by Jewel No Direction by Longwave Youth by Daughter Deadlines and Commitments by The Killers Bad Blood by Bastille Hurricane by Ms Mr River by Civil Twilight Lies by Cvrches...more
This reminded me of A Christmas Carol in that a hugely unlikeable character gets to see how she affects others and may have a chance to change for theThis reminded me of A Christmas Carol in that a hugely unlikeable character gets to see how she affects others and may have a chance to change for the better. Was expecting more of an afterlife book, but did enjoy what I got instead....more
There is so much about this story set-up I love: - the totally realistic situation that Holly is forced to grow-up"Love follows you wherever you go."
There is so much about this story set-up I love: - the totally realistic situation that Holly is forced to grow-up before her time and take charge of her sister and ailing grandfather while her single mother works many jobs to make ends meet - the socioeconomic divide that conspires to keep Holly and Jason apart - the sensitive portrayal of an alzheimer's patient (Aldo, Holly's grandfather) and his desire to really be seen - the confusion and sadness Rob feels as his childhood comes to an end - the fact that ghost Rob can communicate with Aldo - Aldo's list of favorites and Jason's desire to recreate them for him as a gift to Holly
While this wasn't as romantic as Davis' THE CLEARING (which I adored), it's very open and honest about the realities of life and love....more
In this inventive tragicomedy, Jana Webster dies in an apparent bowling accident and lands in Dead School, an afterlife way station for teen risers (tIn this inventive tragicomedy, Jana Webster dies in an apparent bowling accident and lands in Dead School, an afterlife way station for teen risers (those on their way up) and sliders (those on their way down). Jana needs to figure out the Dead Rules to facilitate her plan of bringing her boyfriend Michael Haynes to the same plane as her so that they can be together forever.
Jana is the very definition of the smothering girlfriend. Her identity is so completely tied up in being part of Webster & Haynes, she can’t fathom an existence without Michael. She’s so single minded in her plan to kill Michael that she doesn’t care what happens to her – or that her skin gets all tingly when sexy slider Mars touches her.
On the surface, this is a wickedly funny story of Jana’s obsession interspersed with anecdotes of the other students about their deaths (all very bizarre – involving lawn darts, birds and drunken uncles). But there is so much tragedy underneath the hijinks as Jana is revealed as a terminally lonely soul who doesn’t understand her own worth. What Debut Author Russell set up and executed here blows me away and I desperately want to discuss this novel with others. Get in touch!!...more
When her boyfriend Jacob breaks up with her, Brie dies of broken heart - literally. Her afterlife includes a guide named Patrick who is there to helpWhen her boyfriend Jacob breaks up with her, Brie dies of broken heart - literally. Her afterlife includes a guide named Patrick who is there to help her pass through the five stages of grief so she can move on.
YOU GUYS! THIS BOOK! It killed me. Let me count the ways:
I love inventive premises like this - especially when the execution follows through. In this case, sections are divided into the five stages of grief. In the denial part of the story, Brie is this totally corny cheeseball who wants nothing more than to slip back into her old life. In the anger stage, her whole personality shifts to vindictive as she attempts to make Jacob pay for what he did to her. The bargaining section introduces some seriously scary elements to an afterlife that has up to this point seemed relatively harmless. Sadness - whoa. And finally acceptance - where the book's twist kicks in big time and we find out the real significance of the title.
The afterlife setting. I love to see how authors construct their fictional visions of the afterlife. In this case, we see the side of San Francisco that the dead experience. Rothenberg layers her narrative with imaginative world building flourishes, and though I was never 100% sure of the rules for the D&G (dead and gone), this uncertainly didn't detract from the story.
Brie. Full of flaws but also full of affection (for her parents, friends, and her dog Hamloaf), she comes off as a three-dimensional, real person. There are times you want to dance with her, times you want to hug her, and times you want to slap her.
The love story. It's untraditional. But absolutely riveting, heartbreaking and ultimately satisfying. And that's all I'm going to say about that!
Moving to her Aunt Mae’s farm after escaping an abusive relationship, Amy finds herself attracted to a clearing surrounded by a deep fog where she meeMoving to her Aunt Mae’s farm after escaping an abusive relationship, Amy finds herself attracted to a clearing surrounded by a deep fog where she meets Henry. It soon becomes apparent that Henry is stuck in the past – 1944 to be exact – reliving the same summer over and over. Amy and Henry form a bond that puts them both on the path to accepting life as it comes.
I’m a sucker for a good time travel story, and this one – with its simple yet believable logic and undeniably clever storyline – really delivered on its premise. I’m also a sucker for impossible, bittersweet love affairs – the ones that sneak up on me and make me sigh when closing the last page.
The atmosphere Davis creates in THE CLEARING is pitch perfect. It strikes me as a cross between TUCK EVERLASTING and THE OTHERS (the movie starring Nicole Kidman) – though the story itself is quite different. I might have liked to have seen the scenes between Amy and Henry fleshed out a bit more. I do like the restrained nature of the writing – it just that, though their relationship is tender and heartfelt, it never has the chance to soar to the lofty heights you might expect from a book that declares “True Love is Timeless” on the cover.
Still, I am giving it 5 stars because I loved it anyway. ...more
Full review closer to pub date, but I just have to say now I am stunned by how amazing this novel is. Definitely one for my all time favorites list.
AtFull review closer to pub date, but I just have to say now I am stunned by how amazing this novel is. Definitely one for my all time favorites list.
At the beginning, Sam was so unlikeable, I was terrified I wouldn't like the book, but I need not have worried. Sam probably experiences the most growth of any character I've ever encountered, and I love how chaos theory was so seamlessly integrated, giving the story an impressive depth and enough unpredictability to make it edge-of-your-seat, stay-up-all-night perfect.