Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Bought from Amazon.com
Cover: I love everything about this cover.The white spaces tell as much of a story as the green and I love looking at the simple colors. This cover is simply gorgeous and looks great next to Shiver.
First Sentence: "This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one."
The Mini-Review: No word is wastes in this spectacular sequel to Shiver that will have you rooting for each character and will leave you breathless long after the conclusion.
The Book Summary:
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human.
For Grace, Sam and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces-- wolf and human-- with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what linger. But will it be enough?
Linger told me exactly what to expect with its first sentence, and yet, I had no idea where this book was spiraling towards. Each words leads you further out into the woods-- full of uncertainty-- and for once, I was honestly wondering if I'd be able to find my way back with these characters that I grew to love in the first novel. Lovingly familiar and breathtakingly foreign, this sequel will leave you with the feeling of coming home years later and finding out the world has continued without your presence.
I always held a soft spot in my heart for Sam and Grace. I loved that they seemed to break the mold for gender types-- Sam's the over emotional one who feels things deeply while Grace is the calm and collected rock. So walking back into their world felt like putting back on my favorite sweater for the winter.
I feared I was going to grow tired of Sam now that his werewolf problem was gone and I couldn't handle him whining about wanting to be a werewolf now that he wasn't one. I was so happy that Stiefvater took it the other direction and really focused on Sam relishing in his humanness. Seeing the world through his eyes-- so grateful for the gift he was given and terrified of it being revoked-- is one of the most interesting things about the book. I really enjoyed his growth throughout the novel, the problems he struggled with and how he didn't have all the answers in the end. It made him real. Chapter Eight in which Sam walks out into the frosty winter and just describes it was not only some of the best writing in a book full of amazing writing but it also did wonders for building his character:
"I leaped off the sidewalk, into the bank of graying snow. I was drunk with the reality of my human body. A lifetime of winters, of skullcaps, of collars turned against the cold, of noses turning red, of staying up late on New Year's Eve." --Pg. 55Sam was grateful and it was something I wasn't expecting but was pleasantly surprised to find.
Grace was a little more blah in this novel but that was part of the story. She was consumed by becoming something not herself and the fact that her personality was wasting away was the interesting part of her chapters. Her words literally oozed lethargy and even though she never put a name to what was happening to her, I could feel it. The only thing I wished is that she didn't try to keep being "strong" for Sam and they talked about what was happening. As Isabel said, they talked about everything else. But had she not been, then she would have lost all her Graceness. There were images in her passages-- mainly a red coffee maker-- that I will cling to every time I look at this novel which makes me feel closer to her.
Cole was a great addition to this cast of characters. His story was opposite of Grace's and was a perfect contrast to the Sam & Grace plot. He was dead at the beginning and I loved watching him slowly come out of his funk. I really liked his and Isabel's relationship (for lack of a better word) and how intuitive he was. Seeing Sam & Grace from his outsider perspective really solidified what Grace and Sam were saying in their chapters. I've read a few reviews that said they weren't wild about Cole but he ended up being one of my favorite character because he wasn't instantly "fixed" even at the end of the novel. We got a hint of it but there was still much more to come.
Isabel was my favorite character. She brought a harsh honesty to novel, cutting through the complicated layers to what needed to be done not because that was who she is (well, partly because that is who she is) but because of what she'd experienced in the first book. Even through her grief she was able to recognize that the only thing she could do was to try to slap some sense into the rest of the character to do what had to be done. Hers and Cole's (not) relationship was so fascinating and added an entirely different flavor to the story.
I couldn't figure out where this story was going, even though the plot was staring me right in the face. I am choosing to believe that this isn't lazy reading but rather exceptional writing. Stiefvater did an amazing job of giving all the clues without being obvious and then guiding the reader into figuring out how they fit together, even if the reader hates the way they fit together.
Stiefvater's writing is something all to her own. There were too many times to count when I found myself mentally taking not of this sentence or that to keep with me. This entire novel is one long sentence to remember. Her words truly are like chocolate for the eyes-- rich and delicious. For me, the proof is in Chapter Twenty-Eight, when Cole kills that deer. It disturbed me long after I'd put the book down for the night, finding it's way into my head. I could hear the scream. Stiefvater set it up and then knocked down the trap likening Grace's scream to that very scene.
I could go on and on, the sign of a truly wonderful book. Linger takes it's time guiding you through the plot, quietly slipping you the pieces to a much larger story, making you feel each character inside out and giving you memorable passages like the sky gives you snowflakes. Breathtaking, beautiful and entrancing to its last word.