Like Never and Always

img_20180905_1154362img_20180905_115816Sixteen-year-old Olivia (Liv) and seventeen-year-old Morgan are best friends driving home in a convertible late at night with their boyfriends, brothers Nathan and Clay.  Neither of the girls is wearing a seat belt (since they’re only driving five miles after all!), but an oncoming car slams into them, killing Liv, throwing Morgan into a nearby field, and leaving the boys shaken and bruised but alive.  It is Liv though who wakes up in Morgan’s body in the hospital.  What’s a girl to do? She can’t explain it herself (giving half a thought–well, actually four sentences–to any religious explanation) so how can she hope to convince anyone around her that she’s actually Liv? They’d brand her as delusional and ship her off to a mental facility ASAP.

Liv/Morgan decides to play it out until she finds some kind of resolution. (Liv, the ace science student, seems to have confidence that she will be able to do this.) For the rest of the book she juggles the families, friends, memories, lifestyles, school lives and relationships of two people while trying to discover the truth about her (Morgan’s) mother’s mysterious death. At the same time she’s trying to manage those two totally irresistible brothers who are desperately, madly in love with her.  Thrown into this potboiler mix is an illicit relationship between Morgan and her mother’s former politician lover, an unrevealed pregnancy that may have led to Morgan’s mother’s death, a weird sudden revelation that perhaps Morgan’s father is a serial killer–the drama is INTENSE.

Having tinkered earlier in the book with the idea of “soul transference,” by book’s end Liv/Morgan has devised a theory of personality hybridization:

“If you extrapolate that there are two levels of consciousness, a spirit, a soul or whatever you want to call it, plus the biological matter that carries imprinted data, it could be argued that I’m half Morgan, half Liv.  Instead of dying, I brought Liv’s life experiences with her in the form of energy, akin to a wireless transmission.  But I’ve installed them on Morgan’s physical being.  A reasonable analogy might be that I’m running Linux on a partitioned Windows computer, and while it’s functional, there’s bound to be some data corruption in the exchange, which is why I’m remembering things that Morgan knew.”

So there you have it.

Teenagers will no doubt find this a gripping tale.  Besides the sex and lustful romance there are familiar scenes of high school life they will recognize.  There is violence, excessive drinking, sexual predation, lots of offensive language and not infrequent, prejorative references to Jesus Christ.


Categories: Crime, Death and Grieving, Dysfunctional Relationships, Grief, Navigating through High School, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships

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