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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater


Reading level: Young Adult
368 pages
Scholastic Press (July 20, 2010)

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past...and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves...and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love--the light and the dark, the warm and the cold--in a way you will never forget.

"I don't want to be alone tonight, " Grace said.
Something in my heart twinged. I closed my eyes for a moment and opened them again. I thought about sneaking over myself; I thought about telling her to sneak out. I imagined lying in my bedroom beneath my paper cranes, with the warm shape of her tucked against me, not having to worry about hiding in the morning, just having her with me on our terms and I ached and ached some more with the force of wanting it. I echoed, "I miss you, too."- page 148 ARC version

Like Sam's introspective, emotional lyrics, the love story in Linger flows with a melody all of it's own. As the book begins, we find that Sam is still mending, torn between conflicting loyalties to the pack and with his own desire to lead a normal life with Grace. He wants to plan for the future, but he's afraid of dark history and new found responsibilities inherited from Beck.

Maggie Stiefvater writes with such intensity and beauty, it often takes my breath away. Sam Roth, the boy with the eyes of a wolf but the heart of a lamb is so special to me. It always amazes me just how much love Sam is capable of. Especially when you consider all the pain he's had to endure in his short life. I appreciated how Maggie Stiefvater chose to unfold the narrative through the four alternating viewpoints. In addition to Sam and Grace, this time around there was tortured rock star Cole and the multi-layered Isabel. A lot of authors would've left the reader confused by using so many different point of views, but in my opinion, Stiefvater pulled it off. I loved how each character's viewpoint seemed to overlap with the previous one, giving us a fresh perspective on the events of a prior scene. I thought it was a smart move not to center the book solely around Sam and Grace's romance. Their passion for one another is so all encompassing, it would've become stifling for the reader.

The plot of Linger is impossibly complex. The first line of the prologue reads, "This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one." But it's also about so much more. Cole's situation was the most riveting for me. Here's a person so desperate to escape the pain of his human life, that he'd happily stay a wolf forever if he could only make it happen. I was riveted by Cole's volatility; you never knew what he was going to do next. He always surprised me though, and at times when I least expected it, he was even soulful. There was a painful scene involving a deer that still brings tears to my eyes to reflect upon. It haunted me as Cole haunted my thoughts for days after. I hope in the next installment he learns to find a greater sense of peace and hope for the future. I also enjoyed his relationship with Isabel. Who wouldn't be drawn to the idea of a suffering, rock star has-been and the only woman who can reach through to him? Isabel's grudging attraction to Cole, and the way she pushed Sam to act made me rally to her side more so than the last book. Grace, who has many less than stellar moments in my opinion, has never been one of my favorite characters. I detested her parents even more in Linger though; I thought they had no right to tell her what to do after so many years of ignoring her well being.

While the middle of Linger dragged for me a bit, the end left me reeling and desperate for a resolution. I can't wait to read the next installment, Forever. Grace and Sam balance one another out and the thought of them being separated is too painful to comprehend.

About Maggie Stiefvater-

All of Maggie Stiefvater's life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you're a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she's tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She's made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.

Visit Maggie on her Official Website, Facebook, Twitter and Live Journal.
Purchase Linger at Amazon.com.

Read my reviews of Shiver and Ballad.


Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great review. Left you reeling? wow. I want to read it even more now.

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Stiefvater weaves a great tale. And the ending does leave you wanting!

Teens Read & Write

Alyssa Udall said...

Great review! I enjoyed your evaluation of the characters. Cole is my new favorite, too! However, I still have a huge soft-spot for Sam, one of my favorite male main characters of all time. Isabelle was also enjoyable to read in "Linger!" I hope that these character's POVs continue on in "Forever." :)
- Alyssa of Redhead Heroines
Book Review of "Linger" by Maggie Stiefvater