Review | Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre

On a hot summer night, a screech of brakes and shattering glass changes two lives forever.

Liv wakes in the hospital, confused when they call her Morgan. 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 her best friend Morgan’s.

Morgan always seemed to have the perfect life, yet Liv must navigate endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety—and a romance that feels like a betrayal. Torn between the boy she loved as Liv and the boy she’s grown to love as Morgan, Liv still has to survive Morgan’s last request.

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As soon as I read the synopsis – specifically the portions relating to identity swapping and criminal secrets – I knew that I had to read Like Never and Always. By the end of the second chapter, I was already formulating hypotheses as to how the mistaken identity occurred so I was surprised (and slightly disappointed) when this story played out in an entirely different way than expected.

I haven’t read any of Ann Aguirre’s works before, though Enclave has been on my TBR for what feels like forever. There’s something about her writing that immediately immersed me in the story; perhaps it was the use of first-person narration, which allowed me to more closely identify with our protagonist, Liv. The pacing was excellent and I was able to finish Like Never and Always in a single sitting.

While Like Never and Always provided plenty of intrigues and an unexpected plot twist, the final reveal fell short for me. There were a number of potential plotlines that were mentioned on multiple occasions (i.e. the friendship bracelet) but were never brought to a resolution; rather than serving as red herrings, they felt like portions of a greater and more interesting story that remains untold. The explanation for the mistaken identity also felt underwhelming when compared to the extravagant (and very incorrect) conclusions that I had drawn early on in the reading process.

I really enjoyed Liv as a protagonist. She was resilient, fiercely loyal, and determined to make the most of her new life, which is a far cry from how I would react if I were placed in similar circumstances. I was less enamoured with her romantic endeavours; I can completely understand how her partner is seen as desirable, but the romance itself just didn’t make me feel anything.

Overall, Like Never and Always was a fast-paced, fairly enjoyable read with plenty of twists. I likely won’t read it again, but I will definitely read more from this author.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Macmillan-Tor/Forge via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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