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Liv, Forever
Cover of Liv, Forever
Liv, Forever
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This debut ghostly romance, set at a sinister boarding school, is "spooky, sexy, strange, and shocking," says Printz and National Book Award finalist E. Lockhart. When Liv Bloom lands an art...
This debut ghostly romance, set at a sinister boarding school, is "spooky, sexy, strange, and shocking," says Printz and National Book Award finalist E. Lockhart. When Liv Bloom lands an art...
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Description-

  • This debut ghostly romance, set at a sinister boarding school, is "spooky, sexy, strange, and shocking," says Printz and National Book Award finalist E. Lockhart.
    When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, she's thrilled. The school's traditions and rituals may be a little strange, but for the first time ever she has her own studio, supplies—everything she could want. Including Malcolm Astor, a legacy student with his own art obsession. Liv's defenses melt, despite warnings from fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols not to get involved with Malcom.

    But her bliss is doomed; weeks after arriving, Liv is viciously murdered. Gabe, the only one who can see her, is now her sole link to the world of the living. Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham.

Excerpts-

  • Chapter 1

    A man in a black suit was waiting for me. He had polished shoes and white gloves, holding a sign that read Wickham Hall. It was written in the same font I'd seen on their website. I'd call it "ye oldy worldy." But that's just me. It's the kind of font you can't really read. The kind that screams to the world, "We're so important, we don't care if you can read our logo." It's the kind of font you'd see on a gravestone in London. Not that I've been to London. But I'm into fonts. It's part of what I do.
    The man looked at me with--well, pity might be a little strong. But it was certainly on the pity spectrum. Perhaps it was just sympathy. He noticed my fingernails and asked if I needed to go to "the powder room."
    "It's not dirt. It's ink," I told him. "It's permanently there." The pity turned to something more like poorly veiled disgust. "No, not like tattoo ink. Like pen ink. I draw things." He nodded his head like he couldn't care less.
    I'd said, "I draw things," as if it were no big deal. Just something I do, like take a shower or go to school. But it's all I do. Or at least it's all I do that matters. I was certain it was the reason I was standing at baggage claim at Boston's Logan Airport headed to the best prep school in the country for my last two years of high school. My grades certainly didn't get me into Wickham Hall. I assumed it was my portfolio. I'd worked on it for months. I knew it was my only hope of getting out.
    The man was surprised by how little I'd packed. One duffle bag for my clothes. And one very heavy suitcase.
    "Shoes?" he asked as he lifted the suitcase with effort from the carousel.
    "No, books, vintage magazines. Ink." For my collages. I brought as much as I could carry. I wasn't going to take any chances with the Wickham Hall school store.
    As he rolled my bags to the car, I got my first taste of humidity. I'd always heard of it, and now it was hitting me in the face, as thick as the paint on a Monet canvas. I'd never been east of the Mississippi. I'd never even been east of the Grand Canyon. Fine, I'd never been east of Las Vegas. I'd hardly been out of Las Vegas. We went to Reno once. That was our biggest family vacation to date. My parents aren't big on vacations. Not because they don't like not working--they love not working--but vacations cost money. And that they never have.
    So you can imagine what I thought when the man approached a limousine. I'm not kidding. A black stretch limousine. With tinted windows. "I was kinda more expecting a good ol' American school bus. You know, the yellow ones?"
    "Not at Wickham Hall."

    AFTER WE LEFT THE Boston area, I tried to roll down my window. But it was locked. I could see in the rearview that the man had noticed, but he didn't offer help. Finally I asked. He obliged. I stretched out across the back seat, lying on my back so I could look straight up toward the sky. The sky and trees became blurry fields of color--blue, white, and green--stacked like a Rothko painting. Except Rothko almost never used green.
    When I sat back up, we were already in New Hampshire, where Live Free or Die is on every license plate. What a state motto. Much better than Nevada's All for Our Country--what does that even mean? Live Free or Die is something I could get behind, and not just because it contains my name (phonetically). It's passionate and romantic. I like all things Romantic. And I don't mean mushy, cheesy romantic. I mean truly Romantic with a capital R. As in Byron, Shelley, Keats, and of course, William Blake.
    Live Free or Die. It made me think of how Modigliani's muse Jeanne...

About the Author-

  • Amy Talkington is an award-winning screenwriter and director living in Los Angeles. Before all that she wrote about music for magazines like Spin, Ray Gun, Interview, and Seventeen (mostly just as a way to get to hang out with rock stars). As a teenager in Dallas, Texas, Amy painted lots of angsty self-portraits, listened to The Velvet Underground and was difficult enough that her parents finally let her go to boarding school on the East Coast. Liv, Forever is her first novel.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 13, 2014
    Think Ghost meets The Sixth Sense, acted by the Brat Pack—this first novel from screenwriter Talkington has the feel of an elevator pitch. Readers who haven’t seen the movies shouldn’t have a problem with the lack of originality; the author’s prose is highly readable, her story is well-paced, and the three protagonists (while not much more than familiar types) are sketched with appealing deftness. Liv, the arty outsider, is accepted to old-money Wickham Hall, a boarding school in the woods of New Hampshire. She naturally gravitates toward Gabe—a strange, moody boy shunned by the rest—but her heart thrills to Malcolm, one of the most popular students. Gabe claims to see ghosts, which pragmatic Liv doubts, until she becomes one. Discovering who killed her drives the final two-thirds of the book. The relentlessly visual focus of the prose (with frequent references to William Blake, Giacometti, Haring, Caspar David Friedrich, and more) reveals Talkington’s personal vision, but it’s a vision that readers without a significant cultural vocabulary will find it difficult to fully share in. Ages 14–up. Agent: Blair Kohan, United Talent Agency.

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2014
    A ghost story set at a posh boarding school hits plenty of buttons for school-conspiracy and romance fans. Sixteen-year-old Liv has had a difficult life in a series of foster homes. Now adopted, she still seeks escape and thinks she's found it when she wins a scholarship to attend New Hampshire's uber-exclusive Wickham Hall. Upon arrival, she immediately realizes that, as a scholarship student, she won't fit in with the bluebloods that have populated the school for generations. As usual for the genre, the school has an elite secret society, the Victors. It also has ghosts, spirits of various girls who were murdered on campus over a span of many decades. When the same fate befalls her, Liv begins, as a ghost, to investigate the mystery of the deaths, which somehow may be tied to the Victors. Through her friend Gabe, who can hear ghosts, she finds a means to communicate with her new heartthrob, Malcolm; he's a Victor, but he appears to love her. Can the trio fully trust one another, and can Liv not only solve the mystery, but convince the police as well? While the narrator-as-ghost adds an interesting twist, the book remains primarily a mystery surrounding the school's secret society. The romance elements come across as bittersweet, of course, considering the fact that Liv's dead. Average, but satisfying enough for paranormal fans still engaged by the genre. (Paranormal mystery. 12-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2014

    Gr 7 Up-Olivia Bloom never expected to attend the distinguished Wickham Hall, an exclusive East Coast prep school populated by the progeny of the country's wealthiest and most powerful people. A scholarship student, she's instantly shunned by the majority of the student body, except for Gabe, another scholarship student, and Malcolm, campus golden boy and member of the secretive Victors. Although Malcolm is immediately attracted to Liv, his friends despise her and her kind. When Liv is murdered, her death is ruled a suicide, a lie perpetuated by the Victors, but Liv knows better: she exists as a ghost, and with the help of Gabe, who can see and hear spirits, she plans to bring the truth of her death-and the deaths of countless other female Wickham students-to light. Talkington crafts an interesting mix of paranormal fiction, mystery, and romance in her debut novel, and while the story could have been overwhelmed by the multiple genres, it holds up surprisingly well. Liv is a likable outsider whose lack of understanding of the school's traditions should resonate with readers who've ever felt like they don't quite fit in, giving the character credibility. Although years in foster care have made her guard her emotions, she's a romantic at heart, and Talkington plays that up. What is bothersome is the insta-love that Liv and Malcolm feel, especially since Malcolm's character lacks substantial development to warrant Liv's strong feelings. Overall, this is a light, suspenseful read that will have broad appeal.-Audrey Sumser, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Mayfield, OH

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    March 15, 2014
    Grades 7-10 A foster kid and small-town girl, Liv seems an unlikely candidate for the prestigious Wickham boarding school. But her talent for art has gotten her a scholarship, and captures the attention of legacy student Malcolm. Yet soon enough, Liv is dead, and it's left to Gabe, the kid who can see the school's ghosts, to join with Malcolm and figure out what's happened not just to Liv but to girls who have died throughout the school's history. Reporting Liv's death is not a spoiler, since it's on the flap copy, but it comes about halfway into the book, which makes the narrative flow a bit awkwardas do the interjected stories of several of the other late coeds. On the plus side, this has a snappy mystery at its center, and the growing friendship between preppy Malcolm and nerdy Gabe (aided by the presence of Liv, quite vivacious in death) makes for a fast-paced story.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

  • Tonya Hurley, New York Times bestselling author of the Ghost Girl series "Amy Talkington paints an unforgettable tale that is both spine-chilling and heartwarming. Readers will die for Liv."
  • Publishers Weekly "Think Ghost meets The Sixth Sense, acted by the Brat Pack . . . relentlessly visual."
  • Jill Greenberg, fine artist and celebrity photographer "Liv and Malcolm are the ultimate star-crossed artists--bound by a love of Banksy and Bon Iver, but separated by death."

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