Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Thrillers & Suspense
Young Adult / Romance / Contemporary
Liv Burnham thinks nobody knows Morgan Frost like she does, but a terrible accident pushes her down the rabbit hole where Morgan's secrets hide and she'll be lucky to make it out alive....
On a hot summer night, Liv, Morgan, Clay and Nathan are on the way home from a party in Clay's convertible. Best friends dating brothers? It doesn't get better than that. But the joyride ends in sudden impact, a screech of brakes, and shattering glass. On that lonely country road, four lives change forever.
Liv wakes in the hospital. At first she's confused when they call her Morgan, but 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 Morgan's.
Morgan always seemed to have the perfect life. But as Liv tries to fit herself into Morgan's world, she discovers endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety and a dark task to finish...if she doesn't lose her mind first.
Forced to confront the disturbing truths that Morgan kept hidden in life, Liv must navigate a world of long-buried murder, a dangerous love affair—and a romance that feels like a betrayal.
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.
One summer evening, best friends Olivia (Liv) Burnham and Morgan Frost 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 Mr. Frost, Morgan’s father, and Clay, Morgan’s boyfriend. They all call Morgan by 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, has 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 underage 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 conflicted at times and not because the story was boring. I was trying to cut through the cliche of whether this was a YA Romance novel, or a YA Suspense novel, or a combination of a whole bunch of genre's, including a bit of paranormal when Morgan has to decide whether or not she is really Morgan, or Liv, or a combination of the two characters mixed together. Liv (trapped in Morgan’s body) is a very compelling narrator, not the self-centered and overly dramatic teen we’ve come to expect in YA contemporaries.
Liv is a relatable character. Totally out of her depth, in an unimaginable situation, she manages to survive, and do the one thing her best friend asked her to do. 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. She's caring and considerate, but also smart and strategic. I agree with others in that the best parts of this book were when Liv/Morgan had to decide who she really was, and how she is expected to move forward. Then there is the dreaded love triangle.....nope, I'll skip it, but thanks! I will say that there is definitely an edge that stands behind Clay, while wanting to totally dismiss Nathan who just doesn't do anything to help the story along.