Waiting On Wednesday (48)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 23rd, 2014


Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.


A book within a book?! Book-ception?! A new Scott Westerfield novel?! A college-going YA writer who lives in New York?! *stumbles off in a fit of incoherent mumbling*


Waiting On Wednesday is Hosted by Breaking The Spine.

Review: Liv, Forever

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington
Publisher: Soho Teen
Page Count: 280



When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want.

Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride.

But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.

Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.



Mystical boarding school environment? Check. Sinister murder mystery? Check. Years and years of rich backstory told in creepy prose? Check. When it came to concept and setting, Liv, Forever definitely delivered. I really admire Talkington's creativity and the risk she took in having her main character be the murder victim - and a ghost for most of the novel. But, as I scribbled down notes while I read and frowned at a number of the book's passages, I realized that the synopsis I'd signed up for when turning that first page was...failing me.

So, why didn't I click with this read? Unfortunately, Liv Bloom and I just couldn't get along.


Source: Reaction Gifs

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Liv's was the voice of this tale, as she was a scholarship student now residing in Wickham Hall, an elite boarding school that seemed to blanch at the sight of anything that wasn't an heir or heiress to millions. Liv told us this with the upmost monotony, taking breaks from the self-deprecation and sighing to fill us in on where we were. That is, of course, until the dashing Malcolm Astor picked her out from the crowd and just knew she was special, then proceeded to waltz with her in front of the entire school. These moments: Liv giggling, acting awkwardly around her other peers, ensuring us that art was her passion by dropping an art reference in every paragraph, yet not reflecting on her life before Wickham at all, made up a good portion of the novel.

(On a scale from 1 to Bella Swan, how slowly do you let your plot unravel?)

And that there was my main issue with this book. I enjoyed the plot when it came, loved that the murder mystery in this one was entwined with a sinister society and a century's worth of scandal and secrecy. But I just couldn't engage.

It was so odd to read the passages told by the other girl ghosts in this story, separated by italics, as they were all so moody and intricate. In those few pages, I connected more with these girls than I ever could with Liv. The latter's fixation with a boy she'd only known for a month and narration void of her true voice held me back from enjoying her story.

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Aside from my disconnect with Liv, there weren't many others to like in this novel. Malcolm went from being the popular guy with potential to your typical whiny teenage boy, rife with one-liners that I swear I've heard in more than one teen drama. Something along the lines of, No one knows who I really am!

In fact, the only character I adored in this novel was treated so terribly that I spent a lot of my reading totally pissed off. My dear brainy sidekick Gabe, who was treated like a mental patient for the first half of the novel then the "monkey in the middle" for the second half, deserved way more than his character got. It killed me that Liv used him to (no surprise) further her relationship with Malcolm for most of the book rather than developing an actual friendship with him.

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I have nothing much to say other than I'm awaiting the day in which "insta-love" is banned from YA literature.

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All in all, Talkington's cool concept and eery plot were overshadowed by all of the unlikely dialogue and dreaded insta-love. Though, it does gain points for turning me back onto ghost stories and murder mysteries.

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He dropped the blade at my feet, looked right into my dying eyes, and said, "Fac fortia et patere." Perhaps he did not know I was an honors student in Latin, but I knew exactly what it meant: "Do brave deeds and endure."

Interview: Amy Talkington - Author of Liv, Forever

Friday, March 14, 2014


Hi, Amy! It’s a pleasure to have you on the blog today. To start off, can you describe Liv, Forever in just one word?

Freedom

If you could spend an afternoon with any one of your characters, who would it be and why?

Gabe. I think he has secrets that even I don’t know. Maybe if I spent an afternoon with him he’d share them with me!

At what moment did you know that you’d be writing Liv, Forever? Was it something in particular that gave you the idea or had it been a long time coming?

Well, first, I just had this character I wanted to write: Liv. Secondly, I’ve been interested in ghosts for a long time so... I started to wonder what kind of a ghost story Liv might be a part of. And, finally, when I was thinking about all this, the Occupy movement was happening and I was really struck by the great divide in our country—between the 99% and the 1%. I wanted to tap into that. The story kind of evolved from there.

You wrote the script of Avalon High, an awesome adaptation of the popular young adult retelling of King Arthur, for the Disney Channel. Tell us, would you rather find out you were the incarnation of the Arthurian Lady of the Lake…or haunt the halls of Wickham like Liv does in your novel?

Well, that’s a tough one because Liv dies. It’s hard to choose the character that you know will die! Both Liv and Allie are strong female protagonists but I think I like Liv better (but, then again, I would because she’s 100% mine!).

If Liv, Forever was becoming a movie, who would be in your dream cast?

We are already working on a movie version! It’s just the very beginning of the process and I know there will be a new crop of wonderful actors by the time we’re actually casting, but here’s one possible dream cast as of now:

Elle Fanning as Liv, Ansel Elgort as Malcolm and Ezra Miller as Gabe. That’d be pretty awesome!

Do you have any upcoming projects? What can we look forward to from your writing?

By day I’m a screenwriter so I have a bunch of projects in various phases of development. I’m currently developing Liv, Forever into a feature screenplay. I’m also working on one other feature script and two television projects. Book-wise, I have a very clear idea of a next book for Liv… hopefully I’ll get to write it!

If you want to know all the latest on Liv, Forever follow me on Twitter @amytalkington and Tumblr.
Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington
Publisher: Soho Teen
Page Count: 280



When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want.

Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride.

But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.

Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.


Waiting On Wednesday (47)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This Is How It Ends by Jen Nadol
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 7th, 2014


This is how it begins...five friends partying in the woods. A discovery that shows a disturbing vision to each. For Riley, seeing himself in bed with his long-time crush is a tantalizing reminder of all he can't have. Because Sarah is dating his best friend, and Riley's not about to betray his trust.

Then, one of the visions comes true...making one of Riley's friends the prime suspect in a gruesome murder. The others are determined to prove the police wrong, but Riley can't shake the hope that the visions were more than hallucinations. And that despite the cost, maybe he's seen how it ends.



Why aren't there more murder mysteries in teen lit? Now's the time to take those teen screams and put them in book form - because I have a feeling that they'll be just as addictive. I'm so excited to see if This Is How It Ends keeps me awake at night when I finally dig into it! Waiting On Wednesday is Hosted by Breaking The Spine.