Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Page Count: 362 pages
Genre: young adult, urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Copy for review provided by Around the World Tours in anticipation of an honest review
50 words or less: Sam and Grace have overcome huge obstacles in order to be together, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. Now they must face the new wolves, old trials, prejudices, and the quandary of how they fit into the bigger picture.
Linger was one of those books that went on my TBR pile as soon as I'd heard about it. I completely adored Shiver and was pleased as punch to discover it would be a trilogy (besides the inevitable book withdrawal while waiting for Linger to be released) and am happy to announce that this book takes all of the strengths of the first book and plays them up beautifully.
After Grace and Sam have defied the odds in the first book, it seems like it should be clear sailing for them both individually and as a couple, but that is definitely not the case here. Sam has to deal with the issues left behind by his mentor and father figure and deal with the arrival of the new, recently turned wolves, especially Cole, who would be Trouble with a capital T even if his drug addiction and impulsive nature were all that lurked beneath the surface. Sam also has to deal with his own past issues, especially about his parents, and those memories are certainly sad and terrifying.
Grace, meanwhile, has to address the fact that her absentee parents have suddenly decided that they want to know what she's up to, the fact that her best friend Olivia has disappeared and she's one of the few people that know where she really is, and support Sam through his transition to life as a human all year round.
Even with all of that going on, the supporting cast, consisting of loose cannon Cole and distant but hurting Isabel, get plenty of attention and I found myself really, really invested in finding out what happens between them. Without giving too much away, each one might be exactly what the other needs to find a place and a sense of self in the face of crushing pain and ennui. The story is told in alternating points of view between Sam, Grace, Cole and Isabel, and I found myself eager to read what was happening in each stage of the story.
This book has the same poetic tone and beautiful writing style as Shiver; the narration ebbs and flows and the emotions and thoughts of each character are crystal clear. There isn't anything that seemed out of place, and instead each chapter felt perfectly crafted and complete. This isn't a rock 'em sock 'em book where the heroine runs around in the basement of the boarding school and is pursued by supernatural hotties at every turn; rather, it's the documentation of the continued blossoming of a love between two people who just want to be together, which is refreshing, refreshing, refreshing.
Sidebar: I LOVED the way the author did not back down from the conflict between Grace and her parents. Grace's parents have been almost completely absent from her life thus far, and have completely taken advantage of Grace's not being a troublemaker to pursue their own lives and passions. When it becomes clear that Grace is ready to do the same, and that by extension their free, live-in housekeeper and cook might be ready to move on, they go batshit, and Grace does not stand for it. She stares them down and, without ever questioning their love for her, articulates really well that they have kind of given up their right to have a legitimate opinion on her life, since they decided a long time ago they didn't really want to be a direct part of it. There's a passage where Grace says her parents have to decide whether they want to be parents or roommates, and her mom basically says wow way to spring that on us before we have to leave for our social engagement that really made me say "dude, you folks have completely missed the point." While I admit that I'm at a complete loss as to why Grace's parents seem to dislike Sam so much (besides the obvious position that it's become apparent that they're losing control of their only child) I think it's a great conversation starter and was one of my favorite subplots of the book.
I could go on and on and gush forever about how awesome this book is, but really what I want you to do is to read and experience both books for yourself. There's one more coming out to round out this trilogy, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing this through to the end, and seriously rooting for a happily-ever-after for all the characters.
Overall Grade: A