Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
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. (courtesy of Goodreads)
I recommend that everyone read Linger, as well as its predecessor Shiver, for one reason alone: Maggie Stiefvater's writing. Every sentence that comes out of Maggie's genius brain manages to physically affect me. If the sentence is happy, I feel warm and fuzzy; if it is sad, I actually feel colder and depressed. Maggie could write an entire book about pancakes or alligators and make them seem hauntingly beautiful.
The writing of both Shiver and Linger evoke winter, regardless of the seasons in which the books actually take place. When I was reading both books, I felt like I was sitting outside in a snow covered forest surrounded by stark, icicle-laden trees on a frigid, cloudless Minnesota winter day - the kind of day where the sun provides no warmth and every intake of breath feels like knives shredding your nostrils. There's something beautiful about the silence and starkness of winter. Both Shiver and Linger carry that feeling throughout the novels.
Linger starts off not long after Shiver finished. Spring has almost arrived. Sam is still adjusting to being human all the time and to his role as leader of the wolves without Beck. Grace is thrilled to have Sam with her all the time. But she is troubled by frequent headaches that seem to be turning into something more serious. Sam and Grace have a serious committed relationship - the physical aspects aren't emphasized as much but they are so connected that they seem like one person.
The book alternates from the points of view of Grace, Sam, Isabel, and Cole. Isabel played a small role in Shiver and now functions as one of the wolves' helpers and secret-keepers. She is an irritating girl, mean and moody, but I understood why she acted the way she did and really sympathized with her. Cole is a new character, one of the wolves that Beck turned the previous year. He seems like a real jerk - selfish and snarky. But seeing the world through his eyes helped me appreciate his demons. Isabel and Cole are a good break from emo-Sam and Grace. In fact, Cole may have been my favorite character.
I'd say the chief criticism of Linger (and Shiver) is its pace. It is slow - definitely not a page-turner. This didn't really bother me. I expected the pace to be slow, and I love the lyrical prose so much that I prefer to savor each word. But if you go into Linger expecting the fast pace of most popular YA novels, you will likely be disappointed. I love the use of poetry in both Shiver and Linger. Shiver had many references to Rilke poems. Linger also quoted Rilke, but I didn't feel as connected to the poetry as I did in Shiver. Linger also features lyrics of songs Sam writes - poetry just as much as Rilke.
I dislike the portrayal of Grace's parents. They are stereotypical YA parents - vacillating between absent and overbearing. I understand why they were portrayed this way, but I wish more books were written with good examples of parents.
All in all, Linger was everything I expected it to be. I wish I could have a little piece of Maggie's writing every day to treasure. I cannot wait for the third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls.
Rating: 4.5 / 5