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An Unstill Life

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  190 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews

Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years. Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better. Just when she needs them most, her closest frien
Published January 3rd 2014 by Musa Publishing
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Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*** I received a copy of this book for review ***

There are way too many topics thrown into this story... basically drop in all hot button topics into a pot, mix it all up, and throw it all out into the pages of this story. My brain was bogged down with the issues and I still don’t know much about anything else...

I will try to detangle the crazy of my thoughts and write up a bit of a review on my blog though.
Michelle Bledsoe
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I happened to have won An Unstill Life from Kate and all I can say is thank God that I did. I am not a fan of young adult books, but I have to say that this one kept me hooked from page one.

A word of warning, An Unstill Life is a very, very emotional read. I cried a lot because it was so well written. Ms. Larkindale has a way with pulling the reader into to the story and not letting them go.

An Unstill Life is about a 15 year old girl who deals with her sister dying from cancer, a mother who doe
Rebecca McNutt

Faced with a confusing and depressing home life and losing her friends, the main character of this novel finds solace in a nonconformist girl her own age during art class. Soon their friendship becomes something more, but can it withstand the ridicule and bullying of their peers? This novel is a beautiful and genuinely emotional portrayal of two people who stay together no matter what the circumstances, even in times where some people aren't accepting.
Lynda Dickson
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ages 15+
Shelves: young-adult
Livvie is a fifteen-year-old girl with synesthesia (she tastes colors and sees sounds), who lives in the shadows of her friends and her older sister Jules, whose leukemia has just returned with a vengeance. Livvie feels invisible to her friends, the boys at school, and even her mother. Why is it, then, that Bianca, the strange Goth girl in her art class, is the only one who seems to see her? What starts out as bonding over their still life projects, slowly evolves into something more. As Livvie' ...more
Alicia Joseph
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a very well-written story that engages the reader from start to finish. I didn't want to put the book down. I became the characters, and the story, my life, as I read this book.

It realistically depicts the relationships between friend-friend, girlfriend-girlfriend, sister-sister, and mother-daughter by showing how strong the bond between the two can be, while also being very breakable and vulnerable, as well.

The story follows a teenage girl, Livvie, as she struggles with close friendshi
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Livvie, a 15-year-old high school student, is having a tough year. Her sister Julie is sick, her mother seems to hate her, her best friends are suddenly too busy with their boyfriends to spend time with her, and the only person she feels romantically attracted to is . . . a girl. Also, she has synesthesia, a condition that causes her to taste colors and see sounds. This is a young adult story that’s plenty gripping for grownup readers, too. I dumped everything to finish this book. In addition to ...more
Jessica Lucci
I cannot rate this book highly enough. Completely different from other tales in the YA genre, "An Unstill Life" is dynamically engrossing with real, uncondescending narrative and characters which possess multi-dimensional qualities. Readers are invited into Livvie's life as she evolves from a fifteen year old high schooler navigating common pitfalls of the age, to a confident young woman who creates positive change in her life and in her surrounding culture.

We meet Livvie at the end of the summe
Christine Rees
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve never read a book where the main character has synesthesia. That alone was enough for me to want to read An Unstill Life. The concept of tasting colors and seeing sounds is unique and exciting!

An Unstill Life identifies and demonstrates the complicated nature of love, even when we find love easy to fall into. The love for a sibling. The love for family. The romantic love for a partner. There are always complications. An Unstill Life takes two deeply emotional and life-changing experiences,
Sharon Marie Himsl
A well-written, realistic portrayal of a teen girl's struggle to be herself in a world spinning out of control. Livvie's sister Jules is dying and their mother is too mentally unstable to accept what's happening. Livvie's two best friends, who might have been more supportive, are suddenly too boy crazy to be of much help. Livvie finds herself alone and isolated. She doesn't share the same attraction to boys, although her friends keep trying to set her up. When Livvie finds comfort with an unpopu ...more
Bridie Blake
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay wow, I finished An Unstill Life a couple of days ago and needed to take a moment before writing a review. This book will make you feel. It will make you angry, frustrated and cry. That's a true testament to the author. Livvie has so much to deal with in this book and Kate Larkindale handled some very sensitive topics with great care. The relationship between Livvie and Jules was beautiful and their moments together were gut wrenching, and then when you think you're settling in for a sob fes ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
sometimes hard to read but so hard to put down
Stormy Russell
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book!

Loved this book! The conflict was at every turn and the romance was authentic and sweet. I highly recommend it!
Sapir Mizrahi
I'm a sobbing mess.
I can't even remember the last time I cried like this (assuming I ever did).
I think this book broke me.

Please- go read it!
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, young-adult, lgbtq
I received An Unstill Life from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Livvie had felt second best her whole life. Her older sister was a pretty and popular cheerleader. Her best friend Hannah danced ballet, and her other best friend Mel was a track star. Livvie herself was a talented artist, but she didn't place much value on that.

When Livvie's sister cancer returned, their mom dropped everything to focus on treatments for Jules, ignoring Livvie even more than usual. It was understandable
Lexa Cain
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I was blown away by the novel and especially the unique main character. Livvie has synesthesia, an unusual sensory condition where sound can make the person see colors, or seeing colors can make a person smell specific odors. She gets no sympathy from her mother, never measures up to her popular sister’s reputation, and just tries to fly under the radar at school. Only her two best friends support her, but they really prefer a follower to a leader, and Livvie fits that role nicely. Then her sist ...more
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, ya
After reading Kate Larkindale’s debut book, An Unstill Life, she has a new fan, and I’ll be putting her on my auto-buy list. Larkindale has an amazing talent of drawing the reader into the story, and her writing style is mesmerizing, filled with gorgeous descriptions.
Livvie is a rebellious teen who is dealing with some pretty emotional situations, and you can’t help but feel sympathy for her from the get go. The story grabbed hold of me and took me on its emotional roller-coaster to the point w
Suzanne Rooyen
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt-reads
Gah! I hated so many of the characters in this book and my heart broke for Livvie and Bianca.

A beautifully written and poignant story dealing with more than one controversial issue, I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a contemporary issue-driven read.

I only wish there'd been a clearer hint at setting so that I had a better understanding of the context of this story. That said, this story is all about the characters so setting really isn't all that important.

A great LGBT positiv
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This was really good.

Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, scribd
Really good...recommended.
I have loved this book. The story was compelling. Why can't I find adult lesbian novels as good as this one? It's a keeper for a reread later. Fantastic and highly recommended.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it liked it
3 out of 5 Stars

*I received a free copy of this eBook via the author in exchange for an honest review*

“Sometimes things just need to be said. There’s nothing wrong with black and white; it’s the shades of gray that cause problems.”

Ok. I’m just gonna say it: if I had not been asked to read this book, I would not have picked it up to read on my own.

I like to think that I’m a pretty open-minded person. But even as such, I don’t usually go for books that fall into the LGBT genre; it’s just not somet
Ry Herman
There is a lot going on in this book. It's all juggled pretty well for the first two thirds or so -- the romance is delightful, the family story is affecting, and the main character's synesthesia adds an interesting character note. But as the book comes to a conclusion, it has difficulty resolving all the issues that it's brought up. Some things are resolved unrealistically (especially the school dance) and some things end up getting left by the wayside. Still a good book in a lot of ways, but i ...more
Rachel Rust
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book tackles some big topics in such a brave and sensitive way. I loved the main character, Livvie, and really felt like I was right alongside her throughout her (sometimes heartbreaking) journey. Author Kate Larkindale has a way of writing so vividly that it’s as though the world is as real as the one we’re living in. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys strong characters and real, contemporary issues.
Katharine Dale
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful, painful book about learning to be yourself under the most difficult circumstances. I loved Livvie's synesthesia and the way she used it to make art. Her relationship with Bianca grows organically and feels right, especially given the thoughtless way her friends treat her.

Warning though, there are heartbreaking moments in this book, so make sure you keep tissues nearby.
Brooke Banks
-A LOT going on
-Homophobia including friends turning on her.
-Abusive and neglectful parent.
-Sister dying of cancer
-Assisted suicide request
-Unconsenual treatment.
-MC has synthesia, which comes across well
-I am sucker for art!
-WOOT Goth Girl!!

-WTF was that at the end? Like it's not that simple and why bring in an unnamed MI to explain a way a bad parent. They exist without MI's ya know?!

-At least the lesbian parents were cool, tho stereotypical.

-Another prom drama
-Prefer Chasing Ni
Roberta R. (Offbeat YA)
Rated 2.5 really.

Excerpt from my review - originally published at Offbeat YA.

Pros: Honest depiction of first love/sexual orientation awareness. Synesthesia episodes make for a different, creative prose.
Cons: Some convenient (if not often agreeable) occurrences piling up. Inconsistencies with the side characters (they seem to change their opinion/stance too easily). Requires some suspension of disbelief.
WARNING! Underage sex (though not overly graphic). A couple of sexual harassment episodes. A
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Skip to end for the TL;DR people.
The Good:
1) Most of the characters are interesting.

The lead character Olivia's synaesthesia didn't interest me much but her interactions with family, such as her fights with her mother, keep her as a reasonably detailed character. She is one of the few people in the story that seems trustworthy. Mel and Hannah go through their own growth process which while not much enriches the story. They both learn how to deal with Olivia's feelings and how to take their mouth
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: glbt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gblt, ya
I thought this was going to be a great book. The premise seemed fantastic and the reviews all pointed to something special.

This book is anything but special.

I really don't get the love.

First there's the characters. Shallow, one dimensional, flat characters that don't really have much in the way of personalities and who don't show any growth throughout the novel.

And every one of them is a cheap stereotype.

But even the characters could have been overlooked if the story had been worth reading.

Sep 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Loved the random inclusion of synesthesia! Otherwise, well, the MC's life situation was horrid. The book was good, but rather predictable in it's path. It was excellent for the price. 3.5 stars
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Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale has settled in Wellington, New Zealand. A marketing executive, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.

She is the author of contemporary YA novels An Unstill Life and Stumped along with several others that n
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