I must have bought this one before I read the first Ruby Red book by the same author, which was probably a good thing. I didn’t like Ruby Red at all, I most likely wouldn’t have picked something up by the same author. But the UK cover of this book is shiny and silver and very pretty and has been on my shelf for a while so I figured what the hell. I’d give it a shot and if I hated it, I hated it and would then know that this author is really not to my taste.
As it turned out I was pleasantly surprised by how much I really enjoyed this book. I read the first 50 pages or so, I liked the premise. The characters were okay, though the tone of the novel seemed to be pretty young, not quite towards the older end of YA, the main character is only 15, though some of the themes hinted at seemed to be a little mature for middle grade. It tell the story of Liv and her younger sister Mia who are moving to London with their mother, who’s job requires her to move around a lot, except now she’s taken a prestigious new job which means a little more stability. Dad has been out of the picture for several years now. So Liv, Mia and their au pair, Lottie, are off to London. Only when they arrive things are not as they seem, they’re moving somewhere different, and Mom has been seeing someone, a wealthy man Earnest, who has two teenage children a little older than Liv.
Liv and Mia are not thrilled about this. On top of that they are now starting a new school, a very posh one. Complete with its own Gossip Girl type blog of school scandals, romances and secrets by someone anonymous who calls themselves Secret. Liv and Mia love mysteries, so they’re intrigued to find out who’s behind the blog. Which is only really a side plot. The main plot involves Liv discovering she can walk through dreams. She meets four handsome boys in her dream doing some weird sort of ritual thing. Dismissing it as a weird dream, Liv is stunned when she finds all these boys go to her new school and one of them is Earnest’s son and going to become her step brother.
I was a little worried that this was going to be very Raven Boy like, one girl becomes involved with four handsome boys who each have something different and remarkable about them. Thankfully, it was nothing like that. It was fun, as Liv continues to find herself going through different dreams and getting to know these boys. There’s very little world building explaining how Liv can walk through different dreams, but I found that it was one of those rare cases where the book is so well written, the characters and the plot itself is so much fun and so enjoyable, that lack of world building doesn’t really matter.
The dialogue was witty and bantery and delightful. It’s not all smooth sailing fun as Liv finds out there is a fairly serious side when she gets to know the boys a little more and finds out there’s a ritual involving releasing some sort of demon that makes wishes come true – for a price. One of the boy’s previous girlfriend has been involved and something really bad has happened. They need Liv to help complete the ritual.
Liv might not have been the brightest blub in the box, but I did find I really liked her as a main character. She had a strong, believable voice and a good personality. She gets a romance of her own (which turned out differently than I thought it would and was actually quite pleased about – there were some reading between the lines hints of something possibly happening between Liv and the stepbrother to be, but thankfully, it didn’t appear to go down that road.)
It had a few dark and dramatic moments towards the end, and most interestingly, the identity of Secret who writes the school gossip blog, was never revealed. Hints were dropped of possibilities (I have my suspicions) but I have a feeling this question won’t be answered until the end of the trilogy.
Different, and a lot of fun, I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the next one.