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—especially when Malcolm Astor, fellow artist and scion of one of the school’s original families, starts falling for her. Fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols warns her not to get involved with a “Wicky,” but things are finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy it. But Liv’s bliss is cut short when she is viciously murdered. In death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that spans 150 years and many, many lives. Gabe, cursed with the ability to see their ghosts, turns out to be Liv’s only link to the world of the living. Liv must rely on Gabe’s help to prove to Malcolm that she’s still present… lingering with the other spirits. Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham before more lives are lost. Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham before more lives are lost.
Review: Lately, I roll my eyes when I see 'boarding school' on the back cover of a new release book because it has been overdone (to death) in the YA genre. It's a convenient method to get the parental units out of the way so the kids can experience things that they would normally not, if under the same roof -- or at least, without having to explain it. The absentee parent allows the writer a certain freedom and liberty.
With that said, I enjoyed this after death mystery despite the Harry Potter plot formula. It's a quick read suitable for teen readers. It's paranormal (horror) light with a sweet romance and BFF weirdo.
A young girl's life is cut short and covered up to protect the reputation of the school. There is a history, backstory and present day tie-in's that keep the plot moving and interesting. Comedic relief comes in the form of Liv trying to figure out her ghostly body, which lightens the overwhelming dealings of murder and death.
Overall, I liked it. I did. I admit it. The characters were well-developed, possessed unique voices, and functioned in a world that was clearly described and easy to imagine. A few paranormal things remained a bit blurry and I can't help but wish they would have been further managed to give this read the extra little punch, but I can live with the conclusion.
*ARC provided by Soho Teen courtesy of Amazon Vine