I originally rated this 2.5 stars but I have since decided that a 2-star rating better reflects my feelings.
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Liv might be in love with a serial killer. The fact that she can talk to the dead doesn't seem to be helping much, as the dead are as uncooperative as the living.
As she plunges into the mystery, she finds more and more evidence leading back to Adam, the main suspect with a beautiful smile, whom she happens to be hiding in a casket.
Not only that, Liv's best friend, Gabriel, seems to have some secrets of his own. But he couldn't be involved, could he? After all, there are some lines you cross that you can't come back from.
I was really excited to read this after finishing Wandering Wild earlier this week. This synopsis made me so interested in the book and the idea of being in love with a serial killer. I know that there are many real-life stories out there of men and women falling in love with people who have been convicted for crimes, often murder, but I don't think I've ever read a book about that before. Especially not a YA book.
Firstly, I have to talk about the fact that there's a picture above each chapter heading. It's the same picture, but it's a really nice touch that I appreciated. When I first saw it, I ran to my sister to show her, and then ran to my dad to show him. Neither of them were that impressed, but I liked that there was something above each chapter heading that made things a little less boring.
The first few chapters hooked me and had me wanting to keep reading, even though it was past 2AM. I was really enjoying the set-up and the mystery that was presented to me. There were a couple of moments when I was a little confused about what Liv, the protagonist, was doing and thinking, but the plot itself was still interesting enough to make me forget about that.
However, I'm sad to say that it didn't last very long. A little past the 1/3 mark, I began to realize how annoyed I was with Liv. I found her reasoning and her actions to be irritating, her paranormal abilities were interesting in the beginning, but slowly grew boring for me, and perhaps the most annoying thing to me was her crush.
Which leads me to talk about the romance for a little bit. Okay, right off the bat, I thought that Liv was in love with Gabriel, her best friend. I was wrong, she's in love with Adam. Adam happens to be the main suspect of all the murders that are going around town, but it's okay, because Liv had this massive crush on him that came out of a single conversation they had on her first day of school. They had zero interaction after that conversation, but Liv somehow managed to develop a humongous crush on a guy she talked to once and barely knew at all. Great. It quickly got to the point where I was so completely done with the romance that I just wanted the book to end. It frustrated me so much and I didn't understand why Liv liked Adam so much when he seemed so sub-par. In fact, knowing that he was Liv's love interest let me down so much. Their entire romance felt stupid to me, and in a way that made me want to give them both a 2 hour lecture on their stupidity.
The mystery element was fairly strong in the beginning, but honestly, the only reason why Liv decided to solve the mystery is because of her massive crush on Adam. And the mystery soon got pushed aside to explore the romantic and paranormal elements of the plot. I felt like those two sub-plots ended up overtaking the actual plot itself and really annoyed me. I didn't care about the romance, so I was annoyed that it had more focus than finding out who the killer was. The paranormal elements were so repetitive and felt really cliché, which only served to bore me.
I didn't actually understand what was going on with the paranormal side of things. Liv can talk to dead bodies, which she accidentally found out about and decides to tell no one that she's been having conversations with dead bodies. She doesn't even tell Gabriel, her best friend. Then she decides to use this ability to solve the mystery, but that doesn't really work because she doesn't really know what she's doing. Still, she runs around trying to talk to dead bodies and doesn't seem to get anywhere at all. Oh, by the way, we never fully find out why she got those abilities, whether or not she can extend full control over them, or what the heck is really going on with them.
I think it's pretty clear by now that I have a lot of frustrations with this book, which is really sad because I wanted to like it. I've just found that YA mysteries seem so...bad when I think about the adult mysteries I've read. Heck, even Nancy Drew and the Famous Five have better plots and reveals than most YA mysteries, and those are often written to be Middle Grade. I'm really disappointed that all the YA mysteries I've read so far have let me down incredibly and failed to keep my attention or surprise me at all.
I didn't care about the ending or what was going to happen after the halfway point. All I wanted to do was get the book over and done with because I was so annoyed. For the most part, I skim read the second half of the book, barely paying attention to what I felt was nonsensical drama. The reveal didn't surprise me, nor did it make any sense to me. I felt that the killer didn't actually have a reason for the murders, and was simply made to be the killer because the author didn't know what to do. After giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that the killer not only didn't really have a motive, but also didn't really fit. I still don't know or understand why they killed the people they did.
There were several moments when I was confused as to what point of view this was supposed to be told in. Most of it was in 3rd person past tense, but there would be several instances where the author suddenly slipped into 1st person past tense or 1st person present tense. And coming from someone who also writes, I didn't understand how that could be missed and how an editor wouldn't catch that mistake. The whole thing made me wonder that point of view the book was actually supposed to be in and why the author was slipping in and out of 3rd person past tense.
I've seen several other reviews talking about how this book deals with bullying in a really good way, but I disagree. Bullying was talked about quite heavily throughout the book, but not in a way that actually made it seem like someone could overcome it. I didn't see any helpful advice for people who are being bullied, nor did I think that the characters themselves learned how to deal with it.
Ultimately, I think it's pretty safe to say that I didn't end up enjoying this book.
Oh my gosh, Liv was so annoying. She kept going in circles around the same thing until someone brought up a totally obvious point or raised a question that should have been thought of in the beginning. Her infatuation with Adam bored me so much that I almost fell asleep while reading. I didn't feel like she had any character development throughout the book and for the most part, Liv was just there as the way to tell the story.
I don't like Adam. He's stupid. He makes bad decisions. I never know what he's actually trying to do. If I knew him in real life, I'd give him a massive lecture about figuring out what the heck he wants and what kind of person he wants to be.
Gabriel is my favorite character in the book. I like him best out of everything the book contains. Give me a book about Gabriel and I'll be happy. Just don't put Liv in there because I don't think she deserves him as a best friend.
2 stars. If the synopsis interests you and you're not put off by my review, I'd say it's worth giving a shot. I'd just warn you not to expect too much. I've seen several reviews from people who really like this book, which makes me the minority, but it doesn't change how I feel about this. Would I go out and recommend this to my friends or people I know? Nope, I think there are much better books out there that are more worth both my time and theirs.
Thank you to NetGalley for hosting this on your site. Thank you also to ChiZine Publications for approving my request to read this in exchange for an honest review.
*SPOILERS* DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE BOOK OR WANT TO BE SPOILED
OKAY SO, LIV'S CRUSH ON ADAM RESULTS FROM ONE CONVERSATION THEY HAVE ON HER FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. HE ASKS FOR A PEN AND THEY MAKE SOME SMALL TALK. ALL THIS REMINDS ME OF IS MEAN GIRLS. THEY DON'T TALK AT ALL AFTER THAT, BUT LIV DEVELOPS A CRUSH ON HIM BECAUSE OF THAT ONE CONVERSATION. DOES SHE KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HIM? NO, SHE JUST THINKS HE'S CUTE. THAT'S LITERALLY IT. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO HER ATTRACTION TOWARD HIM.
FOR A MOMENT, LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW ADAM HAD A GIRLFRIEND AND SUPPOSEDLY STILL LIKED LIV. WHILE HE WAS DATING SOMEONE ELSE. AND THAT ALL IT TOOK WAS ONE PERSON LYING TO HIM TO MAKE HIM HOOK UP WITH SOMEONE ELSE AND END UP IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM. THEN HE TALKS ABOUT HOW HE NEVER ACTUALLY LIKED HIS GIRLFRIEND AND ALL THAT STUFF, BUT STILL, HE DATED HER. AND NOW HE WANTS LIV AND HE HAS THIS STRONG ATTRACTION TO HER THAT ALSO MAKES ZERO SENSE.
IN SHORT, LIV AND ADAM MAKE ZERO SENSE.
ALSO, I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW IT WASN'T SO BLATANTLY OBVIOUS THAT GABRIEL HAS FEELINGS FOR LIV!!!! THERE WAS PRACTICALLY A NEON SIGN FLASHING ABOVE HIS HEAD, BUT STILL, LIV IS COMPLETELY HEAD-OVER-HEELS FOR ADAM AND DISREGARDING THE GUY WHO STOOD BY HER FOR YEARS AND WAS HER ONLY FRIEND. ALL IT TOOK WAS FOR ADAM TO PAY SOME ATTENTION TO LIV AND SHE WOULD IMMEDIATELY PICK ADAM OVER GABRIEL.
I FELT SO BAD FOR GABRIEL THE ENTIRE TIME AND ALL I WANTED WAS FOR HIM TO FORGET ABOUT LIV SO THAT I CAN HAVE HIM. HONESTLY, IF I HAD A GUY TREAT ME THE WAY GABRIEL DOES, I'D BE SO ATTRACTED TO HIM.
OH! LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW FELIX IS THE MURDERER! FIRSTLY, THAT MADE NO SENSE BECAUSE SHE KILLED HER BOYFRIEND BECAUSE HE WAS SCREWING ADAM'S GIRLFRIEND. OKAY, WHY NOT JUST FREAKING BREAK UP WITH HIM???? WHY'D SHE HAVE TO JUMP TO THE EXTREME IMMEDIATELY AND KILL HIM? WHAT THE HELL GOOD DID THAT DO? AND KILLING ADAM'S GIRLFRIEND, I MEAN, THAT MADE A LITTLE MORE SENSE, BUT HONESTLY, FELIX STILL COULD HAVE CHOSEN TO ACT DIFFERENTLY INSTEAD OF JUMPING STRAIGHT TO MURDER. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THE HECK SHE KILLED EDDY, OR WHY SHE ENDED UP MURDERING ADAM AFTER PINNING EVERYTHING ON HIM. SHE COULD HAVE JUST LEFT EVIDENCE THAT MADE HIM LOOK LIKE THE KILLER, TOLD THE POLICE THAT SHE FOUND HIM, AND LANDED HIM A LIFETIME IN PRISON. BUT NO, SHE GOES AND KILLS HIM.
LIV'S POWER MAKE NO SENSE. WE DON'T KNOW HOW OR WHY SHE GOT THEM, SHE CLEARLY CAN'T CONTROL IT, AND NOTHING SHE DOES WITH IT IS ACTUALLY USEFUL. IN THE END, SHE SOMEHOW KEEPS A LINK OPEN TO ADAM AND HE CAN COME BACK AND KISS HER AS A GHOST OR SOMETHING. FREAKING STUPID.
FOR MOST OF THE BOOK, LIV DRONES ON AND ON ABOUT ADAM RANDOMLY KISSING HER, WHICH HE NEVER EXPLAINS WHY HE DID THAT. ALL OF LIV'S THOUGHTS ULTIMATELY GO BACK TO ADAM AND THAT STUPID KISS THEY HAD IN FRONT OF A DYING BODY. I HONESTLY DON'T GET THE ATTRACTION LIV HAD FOR ADAM. MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE BOTH STUPID.