It’s time for something completely different—a YA novel exploring sexuality and new romance (plus a little mortality thrown into the mix!). I’m participating in the YA Reads Blog Tour of An Unstill Life, which was released on July 12, 2017.
To start, here’s the publisher’s synopsis of the book:
When your whole world is falling apart, what are the chances you’ll find love in the most unexpected of places?
Livvie feels like she’s losing everything: her two best friends have abandoned her for their boyfriends, her mother continues to ignore her, while her sister, Jules, is sick again and getting worse by the day. Add in the request Jules has made of her and Livvie feels like she’s losing her mind, too.
Her only escape is in the art room, where she discovers not only a refuge from her life, but also a kindred soul in Bianca, the school “freak”. Livvie’s always felt invisible, at school and at home, but with Bianca, she finally feels like someone sees the real Livvie. As the relationship deepens and it comes time to take the romance public, will Livvie be able to take that step?
Livvie’s about to find out if she has what it takes to make the tough decisions and stand up for herself—for the first time in her life.
The Livvie and Bianca characters in this book are wonderful. Their relationship seems to grow naturally as they get closer to each other through their art. Livvie is a character you want to protect and guide, and I was happy when Bianca came in to fill that role.
Livvie also grows a lot throughout the book. She is challenged in many ways—in deciding whether to move forward with a relationship with Bianca, then in making that relationship public and dealing with the reactions of her friends and others, and also in her life at home. Her sister is sick and needs Livvie’s support, and Livvie’s mother doesn’t seem to notice Livvie exists.
In addition to dealing with a sick sister and questioning her sexual identity, Livvie also has synesthesia. Thanks to David Baldacci (Amos Decker books), I knew that this was the condition where a person sees or hears color in everything. But I found this aspect of the book to be really distracting. Perhaps this is natural—I assume seeing or hearing color in everything WOULD be really distracting to a person who has synesthesia. I just think I would have enjoyed the book just as much without the synesthesia aspect.
A little about author Kate Larkindale:
Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand. A marketing executive, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.
Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.
She has written fourteen contemporary YA novels, a few of which other people are allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance. She is currently working on a new YA novel and ghostwriting an autobiography.
Have you read any great books lately?