October 8, 2019

Like Never And Always

Liv Burnham is riding with her date in a car, heading home. In the back seat, her best friend Morgan is canoodling with her date’s scary but handsome older brother. The car swerves; there’s a terrible accident. She wakes up in the hospital, in Morgan’s body.

This enactment of multiple childish fantasies (you’ll be sorry/you’d be happier if I was someone else/I wish I was part of my friend’s family and not this disaster) is a lovely setup for a problem novel, which Aguirre pulls off with style and without more mystic nonsense than the premise absolutely requires. Liv is smarter than Morgan, which is both an opportunity and a challenge. Liv liked science, and Morgan liked art and fashion: who, now, are her friends? If she dates Morgan’s boyfriend, is she cheating on Liv’s? Morgan is rich but her single-parent father is distant; is it her duty to resent him, or is that yet another betrayal? The book’s framework is sometimes flimsy, but there’s some plain, fine writing here.