On a hot summer night, a screech of brakes and shattering glass changes two lives forever.
Liv wakes in the hospital, confused when they call her Morgan. She assumes it’s a case of mistaken identity, yet when the bandages come off, it’s not her face in the mirror anymore. It’s her best friend Morgan’s.
Morgan always seemed to have the perfect life, yet Liv must navigate endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety—and a romance that feels like a betrayal. Torn between the boy she loved as Liv and the boy she’s grown to love as Morgan, Liv still has to survive Morgan’s last request.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ann Aguirre has been a clown, a clerk, a savior of stray kittens, and a voice actress, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in Mexico with her family. She writes all kinds of genre fiction, but she has an eternal soft spot for a happily ever after.
I gave this book a 2 star rating because it felt really odd. I never knew what the book was supposed to be, was it a romance? Ghost Story? Mystery/thriller? Every time it started to get dark, it shied away from it and moved quickly back to safe territory. Every little mystery and detail tied up in a sweet little bow. It also had a habit of introducing things in odd places that almost felt like the author had to add it later on and didn't know where, so it doesn't quite fit.
Not sure I would recommend it.
I read an uncorrected advance copy I picked up at a conference.
On a hot summer night, a screech of brakes and shattering glass changes two lives forever.
Liv wakes in the hospital, confused when they call her Morgan. She assumes it’s a case of mistaken identity, yet when the bandages come off, it’s not her face in the mirror anymore. It’s her best friend Morgan’s.
3.5 stars. Like Never and Always had me at the first sentence. It's a mild thriller/mystery that involves a bit of a supernatural twist and some romance. The best thing about this book to me isn't really the mystery aspect of it, but how Liv learns to live her life as Morgan and all the repercussions that involves, including dealing with feelings for two brothers, one that Liv was dating at the time of her 'death' and the other one that Morgan was dating. This would be one of those times a love triangle adds to the story in a good way.
The lack of thrills in this book may disappoint some people since it is billed as a thriller. Normally I would agree with that, especially since it seems like most thrillers aren't nearly as thrilling as they promise to be, but this time around I was able to appreciate other aspects of the book and that was ok. I do feel like there was a sub plot thrown in that should have either been left out or expanded upon because it got lost in the story. I don't want to spoil what it is but it's something we learn about Morgan's father near the end of the book. It felt kind of random and tacked onto the story to me. There also seemed to be some political bias that seeped into the story and I didn't really care for that. I don't get political in my reviews because that's not what they are about, and I also prefer my reading material to not be about that either.
Overall I liked this a lot. Some things about it reminded me of Parallel by Lauren Miller, but this is a lot better.
Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing me with an advance copy of this book.
This was easy to read, at times hard to believe story. But it's well explained at the end, so don't worry.
For a YA novel, it was very well written with stellar character development which for this plot played a major role in getting my 4 stars.
Love, envy-jealousy, teenage uncertainty seemed to all play at least some parts. But the best was the authenticity of her inner journey. Guess it's never what you thought it would be to be in someone else's skin.
Thank you Tor Teen for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.
❯ YA MYSTERY ❯ DARKISH ❯ MIND F*CKINGLY WEIRD ❯ ODD LOVE TRIANGLE ❯ LENGTH OF AUDIO ➸ 10 HOURS, 29 MINUTES ❯ I LISTENED ON OVERDRIVE THROUGH MY LIBRARY
MY RATING➼ 2¾ STARS
The cover is brilliantly done, and the blurb for it seems like a fantastic idea, but the execution…was off. I wanted this perfect explanation for what was going on, even if it was something that dipped into the supernatural, but it just kind of fizzled. Also, sometimes the odd love triangle this had at play felt seriously awkward. While it had its suspenseful moments, and the characters were mostly likable (especially Clay), the story ultimately left me confused and let down. There was this tidbit of a plot twist thrown in at the end of the story that just leaves you feeling like…wtf was that all about?
Emily Bauer's pleasant voice for sure influenced my rating.
MY RATING➼ 2¾ STARS
BREAKDOWN Narration ➸ 4½ STARS Plot ➸ 3.2/5 Characters ➸ 3.7/5 The Feels ➸ 2/5 Pacing ➸ 3.8/5 Addictiveness ➸ 3/5 Theme, Tone or Intensity ➸ 3.3/5 Originality/Believability ➸ 3.5/5 Flow (Writing Style/Ease of Listening) ➸ 3/5 Twisty-ness/Mystery ➸ 3.5/5 Steaminess to Story Ratio ➸ ?/? Ending ➸ 2.5/5 SUMMATION ➸ 2¾ STARS
In the history of real mistaken identity cases, the one about the fatal accident involving two girls and one survivor is probably the most heartbreaking. Most of us have probably heard about the incident or seen the story or some variation resembling it in popular media, but in Ann Aguirre’s new YA thriller Like Never and Always, the scenario is given a disturbing and paranormal twist.
On a hot summer evening, best friends Liv and Morgan are passengers in a car along with their boyfriends, brothers Clay and Nathan Claymore, when an accident changes all their lives forever. Liv wakes up in the hospital, but the visitors by her bedside are not her parents or her boyfriend Nathan but instead Mr. Frost, Morgan’s father, and Clay, Morgan’s boyfriend. They and all the hospital staff are also calling Liv by her best friend’s name, which frightens and confuses her—especially when they break the news that Liv did not survive the crash.
Any hopes that this is just a horrible case of mistaken identity are dashed, however, when they remove Liv’s bandages and it is Morgan’s face starring back at her in the mirror. Not wanting to appear crazy or upset anyone further, Liv decides to go along with it in order to buy some time to figure out what’s going on, but becoming Morgan and stepping into her life is turning out to be more difficult than Liv realized. Her best friend, heiress to her father’s successful tech company, had lived in privilege and luxury, but her life had not been as well put together as anyone thought. Liv also discovers that, despite being popular and beautiful, Morgan Frost was a lonely girl with not a lot of close friends. And underneath that perfect and happy exterior, she was hiding all kinds of dangerous secrets, including an underaged affair with a married man. All of it was part of Morgan’s plan to uncover the truth behind her mother’s mysterious death ten years ago, and now it is up to Liv to finish what her best friend started.
I was of two minds regarding this novel. On the one hand, I loved the premise, as well as the mystery and suspense. On the other, this being a Young Adult novel, it also comes with a heavy dose of romance, as practically required by the genre. Normally, I wouldn’t mind so much, but when soppy romantic drama starts encroaching on my thrillers, that’s when I can get a little cranky. Aguirre had an amazing opportunity here to drum up some real tension behind an interesting conflict, and to be fair, she did a great job exploring the tumultuous relationships behind what I thought was a seriously messed up love triangle involving Liv and the Claymore brothers. But where the story faltered was the timing. I could never tell whether this novel wanted to be a thriller or a romance; the plot would be constantly swinging back and forth between these two genres, and more frustratingly, these shifts always seemed to come about at the worst times. It’s never wise to stop when you have momentum on your side, and yet, so many times it would be interrupted just when the mystery was heating up, and I would get brothers drama when all I wanted was for Liv to get back to investigating Morgan’s mom’s death.
Apart from those complaints though, this book was actually quite good. I enjoyed the premise, as well appreciated the story’s attempt to at least provide an explanation for Liv and Morgan’s body-switching, which in fact turned out to be rather touching. I would even praise this one as an emotionally charged tale of female friendship, which might sound weird at first, considering how one of them is dead, but everything Liv does is because of how much she loves Morgan. After literally living in her best friend’s shoes, Liv begins to understand Morgan as she never did when both girls were still alive and in their own bodies. The story also boldly delved into some difficult and delicate subjects, not shying away from them even when things got dark.
Had the plot stayed on this track a bit better, I might have enjoyed Like Never and Always a lot more. That said, it is by no means a bad book and I still had a great time, but too much mishandling of the romance and wonky pacing ended up dragging the experience down a little. I suppose I would still recommend it, especially if you don’t mind a hefty amount of romantic drama served with your thrills and chills.
I want to thank to Tor Teen and NetGalley for having provided me with this copy in exchange for an honest review
I think the main idea of the book is so interesting and captivating, it was what kept me wanting to know what would happen at the end. On the other hand, and being very honest, I think that it failed in the way in which this idea was executed. Even so, I think I would like to read something more about the author because I liked her writing
After a car accident Liv wakes up in the hospital and feels very confused because everyone calls her Morgan, at the beginning she thinks it's a mistake, but after seeing her face in the mirror she doesn't actually see herself but her best friend Morgan reflected. Liv will have to lead now with the fact that she's trapped in the body of her best friend, and even when everyone sees Morgan as the rich girl of the perfect life, Liv will be immersed in her life and discover dark secrets and crimes, that surrounds her best friend and her family, of which she had no idea. And meanwhile she also have to deal with her best friend's last request
The synopsis doesn't say much actually, but I've tried to put together a little more informative one here , without spoilers of course. The thing is that when I read the synopsis for the first time I felt that this was the perfect book for me, because as you already know, I LOVE mystery, and more when it involves best friends, besides you have to admit that it sounds incredible. And honestly I was very happy when I was approved with the ARC and even though I had some problems with it, I'm glad I gave it a try, I think the author has very good ideas.
I liked, as I said before, the idea that there's an accident and then something supernatural happens, that's always interesting. Liv's trapped in her best friend body, and has to discover how to get out of that situation, find a way to return to normality or even follow her life that way. All these things are super interesting, because as you read the story many questions begin to appear in your head, and obviously you want answers. And here's the thing, I really don't feel that we have answers to all those questions, I think the author deviates a lot the main issue, to other things. In fact, I really would have loved to know why this happened in the first place and after finishing it you never know it for sure, and I hate that, because it makes the story feel incomplete for me. There's, in fact, a moment where our MC begins to think that she's suffering from some mental illness but this never develops, and I think it would have been a VERY interesting.
I didn't like Morgan, I mean the real her, not even a little, I think she was very manipulative and such a liar, I usually enjoy unlikeble characters, but this girl is impossible. I think the fact that Liv defended her all the time made me irritate even more. I love best friends plots, but in this case I think Liv adored Morgan but not the opposite around, you know? Liv begins to find out some secrets that her friend hid from her, that are really painful, things that only a treacherous person would do, and she lets them pass so easily, I'm sorry, but I would be SO angry.
There was a love triangle here, and I have nothing against them, sometimes I even enjoy them, but this time it was awful. The triangle involves Liv (who's now in Morgan's body), Clay (Morgan's boyfriend) and Nathan (Liv's boyfriend/Clay's brother), so you can pretty much get an idea of how complicated this was. I feel that Clay's a lovely person, I loved him as an individual and I feel that in other circumstances they would have made an adorable couple, but everything happens in such a strange and dramatic way that it wasn't to my liking. Nathan on the other hand, I just couldn't stand him.
After finishing reading it I think it's a kind of messy book, if the author would have focused more on the main idea and less on the romance, maybe it would have worked better for me. I think maybe she was scared of going for a darker side with it but I feel that it would have worked well if she had taken a risk. I really enjoyed the interactions with Liv's family, I think that helps me to know how she really was like before all this happened, even so, I would have liked a bigger development of this aspect because we know all about Morgan's life, but not much of Liv's, which would have been interesting.
There's also another aspect in the plot that involves a crime, and it ends up being quite important in the book until becoming a central part, and honestly it was a bit boring and predictable, which I hate to say because I look for the opposite in this kind of books. But, I was not really interested in that aspect really. And the plot twist almost at the end was SUPER convenient
In summary, I think the idea is brilliant but I would have liked to see it more developed, especially because it's a paranormal aspect and it would be nice to have seen something happen with that, it was handled in a very strange way. I think the first 50% of the book is great, quite engaging and leaves you wanting more, but then nothing ends as I would have liked and seems like the author has taken the easy way out and left me with more doubts than I had at the beginning.
*Source* Publisher via NetGalley *Genre* Young Adult / Thrillers & Suspense *Rating* 3.0
Ann Aguirre's Like Never and Always is a dark, romantic, Young Adult suspense novel edged with a bit of paranormal. There's plenty of angst for those who love that sort of thing, mixed with layered secrets, a screwy love triangle, and the underlying story about how well we really know the person we claim to know best. The plot centers on a supernatural soul-switching/body-switching theme achieved a perfect balance between being goosebumps-inducing, fascinating, and singular.
There may be slight spoilers in this review because I don't think I can talk about it without letting something slip. Major spoilers will be blocked.
So Liv wakes up from a horrible accident in the hospital, only she's not in her own body, she's in the body of her best friend Morgan. Liv then finds out that she actually died in the accident, but how the hell did her consciousness end up in Morgan's body? Here begins a book of one giant 'HUH?'. To make matters worse, Liv and Morgan were dating brothers. So while Liv's boyfriend, Nathan, is mourning her death, Liv is over here in Morgan's body falling for Morgan's boyfriend Clay. Yeah, wrap your head around all of that.
On top of this weird situation, you also get some sort of murder mystery along with political games and yeah, this book was all over the place.
But I will admit that it kept me interested if only for the reason that I wanted to find out what the hell was going on. However, here's the kicker, we never really do. We are just given this weird explanation about how their consciousness must be joined and now they share the same body.
And were we supposed to be rooting for her and her best friends boyfriend to get together? Cause, yes, while he was the better of the two guys, Liv spent the entire first half of the book talking about how much she loved Nathan and how sad she is that she can't be with him only to switch it all to his brother in no time. And then the ending??
I literally felt like that John Travolta meme the entire time reading this book ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
I’m on the fence about this book because I really wanted to love it. The synopsis sounded so interesting, but the execution fell short. I'm not actually sure what the genre of this book is, and I got the feeling that the author was afraid of going too dark with the plot and writing on account of keeping it YA. In my opinion the strongest thing about this book are the characters. The writing style is decent and easy to consume, but there are a few odd choices made when it comes to the flow of the plot that frustrated me a little. Again, this synopsis sounded so promising to me, I expected to be blown away. I’m not sure if I recommend this book. It depends on what kind of reader you are. You might enjoy it a lot, I found it meh. Just like the text that appears when you hover over the second star when you leave your rating, for me this book was okay.
I feel very MEH about this book. I could understand Liv's confusion, as she reexamines who she is in Morgan's body, and has to reconcile that with this new life of hers. So the fact that her relationships with people are complicated, it makes sense. But I just was SO annoyed by the love triangle. It completely took me out the story at multiple points, and I wish I could've gotten into the romance. Clay was the actual best. But I just did not really care about any of this, or the main character. And the explanation over what happened was definitely not what I expected? I could suspend my disbelief in a way, but I didn't always like the treatment of mental health here. Plus the whole mystery behind Morgan's secrets wasn't thrilling at all, and some of it felt WAY out in left field, man. Like, all of the shit that happened near the end? It felt like it was there purely for drama's sake, not because it moved the story or the MC in any way. You still don't get all the answers, and in the end, I was left being like that's it?! I don't know, I just think none of this came together that well at all.
Following an accident, Liv wakes up from a coma in her best friend Morgan’s body. Everyone believes Liv died, so “Morgan” gets on with her life. Chaos ensues.
I’m going to keep my review for LIKE NEVER ALWAYS short because this book is a great premise that never fulfills its potential.
Ann Aguirre leaves more questions than it answered. We never know Morgan’s motivations for her choices, was Creepy Jack a serial killer, why her father committed suicide, what happened to Mrs Rhodes, why Liv woke up in Morgan’s body (mental illness, ghost etc).
LIKE NEVER ALWAYS had interesting components than never quite came together.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I absolutely love this book! This gripped me from the first page. I can’t imagine waking up and seeing me as someone else and having to live their life or someone would think I was crazy! I loved this journey and how she grew as a character while living the life of her best friend. From deciding who to be with and wondering if anyone is going to notice that it’s her. So touching when she went into her bedroom and saw her real parents. But she learns things about her best friend that leads her to realize that she is here to help expose dark secrets. This has everything. Murder, awkward romance, betrayal. What a journey! I’m in love with this book! I must read more by her! Thank you!
If you woke up in side your best friend's body, would you be able to live her life the way she did? Do you really want to know THAT much about her and how do you cope with your new situation???
What an interesting concept. With elements of paranormal, this somewhat suspenseful story is less thriller and more contemporary mystery in my opinion. Through Liv, we get to learn more about Morgan and what's really going on in her life. How being a "rich little girl" may not be all it's cracked up to be.
Like most YA novels, we do have a bit of a love triangle going on but luckily that's not the front runner of the story. Instead, we get a story about grief, forgiveness and never judging a book by its cover. Everyone deals with grief in their own way but having to mourn the loss of your body and the loss of the best friend whose body you now reside in takes this to a whole new level!
"Funny how the human body can heal trauma in a matter of weeks whereas scars on the heart and mind can last for years."
I did wonder how Liv felt the first time she had to really deal with being in her best friend's body. That first shower must've been AWKWARD! haha - but all jokes aside... this was a very compelling read. Easily a one sit binge.
If you're looking for a quick read that has a touch of thriller, paranormal, romance and YA, then this is PERFECT for you.
I received a copy of this ebook from Netgalley and Tor Teen in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book. I loved Clay and how kind and sweet he was. I couldn’t read it fast enough to figure out what would happen between Liv and Morgan. There was always this drama going in to that added an extra layer. This was a very pleasant surprise and I would definitely recommend it
Themes: parenting, identity, supernatural, coming back from the dead, grief, coping with loss, support system, privilege of the wealthy, statutory rape, social status, reputation, true friends, romance, responsibility, mental health, rehabilitation, tragic accident, car accident, siblings, parental figures
Engrossing and fast-paced – Like Never & Always is just what I’m looking for in a contemporary thriller. Brimming with mystery, suspense, and excitement, it far surpassed my expectations, I enjoyed every moment of it, and the unique and exciting plot does not at all sacrifice great prose. I found myself rereading several sentences over because of their beauty and depth of meaning. Ann Aguirre is a master writer, not only hooking the reader with the plot, but also with her prose. I will definitely be checking out her other works, and will be on the lookout for her future ones!
Liv (trapped in Morgan’s body) is a very compelling narrator – far to be the self-centered and overly dramatic teen we’ve come to expect in YA contemporaries. She is caring and considerate, but also smart and strategic. I enjoyed that she was fierce and brave without being cruel, but she’s not too proud to show vulnerability. I loved how the author expertly wrote the parts when even Liv started to doubt her identity – was she really Liv? Or was she Morgan who was grieving so much about the loss of her best friend she couldn’t tell who she was anymore?
The plot centered on a supernatural soul-switching/body-switching theme achieved a perfect balance between being goosebumps-inducing, fascinating, and singular. Somehow, it managed to stay thrilling and suspenseful without reaching negative levels of creepy.
Speaking of creepy, the ARC I got actually have a much creepier cover – not sure if that made it to another edition of a final cover (I think it might be the Kindle edition cover?), but here, let me show ya!
To add even more flavor to this already extremely enjoyable read, the romantic aspects of the plot is veeeryy much to my liking. I’m already a fan of the love triangle trope, but the version found in Like Never & Always add lots of spice. Initially, it sounds like the oh-so-common rivalry between brothers, but there’s more where that came from, and pretty soon, you realize there isn’t any chance for the other one at all. Our main love interest is very sexy and is quite the perfect male lead for this kind of story. He’s so swoonworthy, he might even be featured in one of my #SwoonySaturday posts… if only I get to writing those again..
Hmmm, what else do you want to know? I guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out yourself!
Not gonna lie, this book is kind of a hot mess. It absolutely feels like it has no idea what it wants to be, and that's surprising, coming from this author. I've had some hits and misses from Aguirre, but she's always pretty clear when it comes to the focus of a book.
But this book makes me wonder, is it a supernatural book? Is it a mystery book? Is it a trashy YA romance book? Is it some weird "finding yourself" trope book? Who knows. It's all of those things at the same time.
Still, I can't deny, I got hooked on this book pretty easily, and that's practically a godsend for me these days, as I find reading less and less enjoyable, and find YA hard to stomach most of the time. But I like Liv. I liked that she was walking this really precarious line of being two people at once, and I liked trying to guess what was ultimately going on. I found Liv's struggle with starting to fuse into someone else, particularly interesting, and it really stirred the pot as to if Liv was really Liv.
Also, surprisingly, I was kind of amazed by how developed the main love interest was. That just doesn't happen in YA books very frequently. Clay is a really complicated and intriguing character. It's easy to write him off as this brainless stud, but when you peel back the layers, you find a kid who was forced to grow up too quickly, struggling with keeping his brother in line, who really wants to better himself, who treats Liv with respect, who struggles with his self worth and value, and who ACTUALLY HAS A PERSONALITY. Like do I need to scream that to the heavens? Clay has a personality. He's not plot fodder. He's complex and interesting. And his extremely complicated relationship with Liv, sold the book for me.
Of course I have problems with this stupid subplot concerning a pedophile, and how Liv's boyfriend Andrew goes from the perfect guy to convenient plot asshole #1 the moment the author needs to hook Liv and Clay up. I didn't think this book needed to have the subplot at all, and Andrew's character just seems like a wasted idea that could have been cut completely, or developed better.
Also, I am salty about the ending. That wasn't the resolution I was expecting or hoping for. And the book does nothing to clear up the mystery of what's happen. It basically just tells you to live with it.
Still, I can't deny, this book charmed me. I really enjoyed reading it. Liv wasn't bad as a character, Clay stole the show, and some of the other supporting cast were pretty decent. If this had been better plotted out to be a duology, I think the elements of this book that didn't work, could have been properly flushed out. Yet for all the issues I had with this book, the good things were better than the bad. So I'm rating the book up, and I'm hoping for more like this, because seriously, I'm really worried I'm falling out of love with reading. And my heart will break if that happens.
Thanks so much to Tor Teen for providing me with a copy for review! Please forgive me for reviewing it so late. I was really sucked into Like Never and Always. There was something really addicting about it. I felt like I couldn't look away. I really enjoyed the writing style. There was something so easy and interesting about it. The whole body switcheroo thing grabbed me from the start. It was definitely the pull that made me pick this book up at first. In ways, I thought more was going to be done or revealed with that angle. I thought the why of it all was going to be much more important then it actually was. I do wish that we had got to see some of the real Morgan at the beginning, just so we could see what kind of character she was before she was lost. The whole Liv becoming Morgan thing was very interesting. It wasn't like Liv could ever go back to her own body, so she had to deal with her new reality. Does she, or can she become the Liv that she was before the accident? It was just a very interesting journey to go on. I am conflicted, very conflicted about the relationship aspect of this book. I think it's the fact that they are brothers, it just makes everything feel so complicated and a little wrong. Liv before she died is dating and in love with younger brother Nathan, but when Liv is now Morgan, she starts to develop feelings for the older brother Clay. I personally liked Clay more, but it just all felt very scandalous. It does a good job with the romance though. The beginning of this book was full of twists and some red herrings. It was fun trying to figure out just where it was going to go. The direction that it took in the end wasn't the most exciting of avenues, but I was interested. The ending was pretty suspenseful. I was hooked when it came to Like Never and Always. I loved the body switcheroo story line, the twists, the turns, and the romance. It definitely kept me on my toes. I'm going to read more from this author.
I...sort of don't know where to start with this review. This book was everything I thought it would be and nothing like I thought it would be. It took a few turns I wasn't expecting, but it ended up going down the perfect road and delivering a story I didn't know I wanted until I read it.
In other words, I'm a messy tangle of confusion. Just a mess. (so excuse any rambling, because my thoughts feel like they're all over the place.)
At it's heart, this is a book about secrets and lies and the lengths a person will go to to keep those secrets hidden. Frankly put, everyone has secrets. Liv is hiding her true identity from everyone because (a) who would believe her when she's living it and she hardly believes it herself and (b) as Morgan's secrets start coming out, she doesn't know who to trust. Honestly, as a scientist, Liv is surprisingly level headed about her predicament. She analyzes and draws conclusions and does what she has to do to keep everyone thinking she's handling things.
It isn't until she gets deeper and deeper into Morgan's mystery that her handle on things gets shaky.
(Okay, I'm going to be intentionally vague here so as not be all spoilery...) The romance. MAN, I didn't see that coming. It worked. Perfectly. But I wasn't expecting it. It was sad and sweet and surprising and I want to read this book all over again just to see it unfurl. (My fangirl heart is honestly swooning a bit. I loved it. Hard.)
Like I said, this book ended up being the book I didn't know I wanted to read until I read it. So say I came away from it totally satisfied would be an understatement.
I am an Ann Aguirre fan so Like Never and Always was an auto buy, listen-on-release-day read. This one definitely did not disappoint.
One thing I love about Ann is her ability to write across many genres, with romance being a central plot point in her stories. I’ve read her scifi, contemporary, romance, and now thriller-speculative-contemporary and she makes it work, drawing you into the characters. Liv is one of those characters that you grow to love deeply as her story progresses.
See, Liv wakes up in the body of her best friend after a devastating car accident. Like Never and Always is her journey of reconciling the life she lived, the life Morgan lived, and the life she now lives as Morgan - but without Morgan. It’s easy to suspend belief here because the science is not central to the story - the emotional journey is. Ann carries us through all of the stages of grief.
On the flip side, Liv must solve a mystery left by Morgan…and the stakes are high. I found myself unable to take my earbuds out because I wanted so badly to know the future (and past) of Liv and Morgan!
I would recommend this story by audio. Emily Bauer portrays emotions and sucks you right into the story. Her voice felt very natural and I easily settled in.
Fans of Before I Fall and If I Stay (two of my fav books) will love Like Never and Always!
If you've ever wanted to live someone else's life, this is the book for you. For the entirety of their friendship, Liv was in awe of what she assumed was the perfect life. Morgan had her own car, money, and all the freedom that came along with it. What Liv didn't realize was that with all that freedom came a ton of responsibility.
For the most part, Liv was the girl next door. She had loving, involved parents, an annoying younger brother, and your average middle class life. Waking up in Morgan's body changed all of that drastically. Compared to Morgan, her life was boring, but predictable. The deeper she gets into Morgan's secret life, the more Liv comes to understand that boring and predictable have a comfort all their own.
The premise behind Like Never and Always was a good one. I think I may have watched entirely too many soaps with my grandmother as a child, but the whole idea of waking up in someone else's body immediately attracted me to this novel. I'll be honest, I first thought that it was due to a brain injury or some kind of selective amnesia, but I was wrong. While the reason for Liv being in Morgan's body wasn't explained well enough for my curious mind, you are at least given a somewhat decent reason for the swap. The way Liv stumbles into Morgan's secret life is interesting and true to the teens I know. And while the sort-of-maybe love triangle could have been left on the editor's desk, it did work out well in the end. Overall, a well-written young adult thriller suitable for teens or adults.
*Thanks to Netgalley, the author and publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
Wow!! Just Wow!!! I love a good mystery and this is one! Imagine waking up from an accident with your best friends family calling you by her name and learning that everyone thinks you are dead. Trying to figure out that the best friend who you though you knew actually has several hidden secrets. There was so many twists and turns in this book. I honestly had no idea who was the bad guy was in the book.
This was a nice, easy ya mystery read. Two stars were deducted for it being too tidy at the end and for being too unbelievable, buts it's enjoyable for what it is. I would recommend it for a beach read this summer.
This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for honest feedback.
Like Never and Always was a fast-paced contemporary thriller with some eerie paranormal elements. At its heart, this novel is ultimately a story about a girl trying to fulfill her best friend’s last request while also trying to find her place in the world. Like Never and Always keeps you glued to the page, desperate to find out whether the story ends happily or in blood.
After a car accident, Liv wakes up in her best friend’s body. Afraid of telling anyone the truth, Liv must figure out how to navigate life as Morgan, her best friend. However, she soon finds out that Morgan’s life wasn’t as perfect as it seemed from the outside. And that her assumptions about Morgan’s boyfriend may be dead wrong. Caught up in Morgan’s dark secrets, Liv must find a way out while also figuring out who she wants to be now. Of course, it doesn’t help that Lis is also struggling with her growing feelings for Morgan’s boyfriend.
Liv was such a relatable character. Totally out of her depth, in an unimaginable situation, she manages to survive. With no one who truly understands her situation, she is alone in dealing with her grief, both for her best friend and for her own life. Liv was such a strong character, her iron will giving her the strength to persevere. The other characters were incredibly realistic as well. Aguirre did an excellent job exposing each character’s flaws, revealing who they were as opposed to who they pretended to be.
The concept of identity played a large role in Like Never and Always. Some of my favorite parts of the novel were when Liv was questioning herself. Was she actually Liv or was she Morgan, unable to cope with her own reality and convinced she is her dead best friend? Aguirre wrote those parts brilliantly and ultimately allows readers to determine the answer for themselves. Additionally, I thought she did a wonderful job with her portrayal of grief. Each character handles the loss a different way and their reactions felt so raw and honest.
I loved how the mystery was slowly unspooled. There were so many different layers and each reveal made me see the situation from a different perspective. Each reveal uncovers a new part of an incredibly disturbing situation. I would note that there are trigger warnings for rape, stalking, and physical assault. The romance was a nice counterbalance to the darker parts of the storyline. Even as Morgan’s life is coming apart, Liv is beginning to create one of her own. The romantic lead was a wonderful character and I loved the slowly developing relationship between him and Liv.
Like Never and Always was an intriguing read that kept me hooked until the very last page. I would recommend this one if you’re looking for a heavier and darker YA contemporary.
*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.