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Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

WARNING: If you haven't read SHIVER, then you probably shouldn't read this review. Especially since it may contain spoilers!

L i n g e r
Author: Maggie Stiefvater (BlogTwitter)
Release Date: 7/13/10 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 368
Source: Amazon (Bought)
Overall Feelings: Breathtakingly agonizing! Summary: Goodreads
"Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn't cure. His was the good-bye that meant the most...

This is a love story. I never knew there were so many kinds of love or that love could make people do so many different things. I never knew there were so many different ways to say good-bye" (1-2).

I love both of Maggie's novels, Shiver and Linger, but differently. The first of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, Shiver, laid the groundwork, introduced readers to this new, impressive concept of werewolves, staggeringly real characters and friendships, and awe-inspiring love. Where the paranormal aspect of Shiver was a key component in the novel, the overwhelming love between Sam and Grace took precedence, in my opinion, which I absolutely adored.

Linger, on the other hand, follows a different route... While Sam and Grace's love is still bright and vital and true, there were more (realistic) obstacles to be faced (like *cough* Grace's absentminded parents *cough*), fresh characters with dismal pasts introduced, higher stakes, and a better understanding of Maggie's werewolves presented.

I loved melting, sliding into the warmth and brilliance that is Sam and Grace's relationship, once again...they're just a stupendous, moving couple that I can't help but fall for. They have this understanding, this connection, this depth that many YA couples seriously lack. These two... They actually talk with each other, share themselves with each other... They're the kind of couple that sleeps in the same bed just to sleep next to each other, to hear the "steady sound of [one another's] breathing" (164). But, do not misunderstand, neither one of the two are perfect, they do not make this perfect, ideal relationship. In this novel, I was exposed to the insecurities each of them carry around but don't show.
"After [Grace] hung up, I handed the phone back to Rachel. I wasn't sure what was wrong with me. It was only forty-eight hours until I saw her again. That wasn't long. A drop in the bucket in the ocean of time that was our lives together. We had forever now. I had to start believing that.
'Sam?' Rachel asked. 'Do you know you have the saddest sad face ever?'" (148).
Aside from Sam and Grace, there's also Rachel, Isabel, and Cole, among others...

Rachel is one of Grace's very reliable, very fun and entertaining best friends... you know, that character you read in a novel that's bound to make you laugh... Yeah, that's Rachel. She's odd, lively, and spunky, a perfect combo designed to provide the reader with comic relief... in other words, Rach cracked me up, a lot.
"Sam, Grace, & Rachel:
'Hi, The Boy!' she shouted over the music. 'We're making Italian food!'
Still holding a piece of chicken, I turned and made a loud noise in protest. Rachel said, 'My colleague informs me that I spoke too strongly. I am watching Grace make Italian food!'" (65)
In Shiver, readers met Isabel Culpeper, a hurt and neglected, unsympathetic girl who has a bit of history with the wolves of Mercy Falls (don't want to spoil anything)... She's another of Grace's friends, could even possibly be considered one of her close friends, and is more of a prominent character in this novel. She can be the voice of reason amongst the group, the only who doesn't think with her heart and feelings but with her head and she's usually right, as what she says tends to make sense. Isabel begins to take an interest in a brand-new character, Cole St. Clair...

The thing I find fascinating about Cole is he's so...authentic, I guess would be the word. A lot of times when I'm watching a show or reading a novel, I get this character that's been hurt in the past or abused and so forth, and they heal pretty quickly. But with Cole, it was a long while before I got to see some progress in his character, to find signs that he actually cares and he's not just empty space. He's a fantastic addition to this trilogy, and I delighted in his consistent growth and watching him evolve as a character.
Cole & Isabel:
"She paused, then finally said, 'You want to talk? Fine. Talk. Tell me something you've never told anybody else.'
I thought for a moment. 'Turtles have the second-largest brains of any animals on the planet.'
It took Isabel only a second to process this. 'No, they don't.'
'I know. That's why I've never told anybody that before'" (134).
Ironically, Grace's inattentive parents become an obstacle in this novel. They start to take an interest in Sam's comings and goings, the status of Sam and Grace's relationship...But, in Shiver they seemed to not really care about Grace, so they morphed into this giant annoyance that tagged along throughout Linger. Yet, by having parental issues, it made the state of Sam and Grace's relationship, and Grace's relationship with her parents more substantial, more realistic and believable. Honestly, what teenager's parents don't pay at least a small amount of attention to who their children are dating and for how long?

The new wolves, Cole among them, were another huge, unstable dilemma in this book. But, with these extra wolves, I felt like I found out a lot more about the werewolves in this trilogy. I think I got some rather necessary info on how shifting works, and how it is for these humans-turned-wolves. The whole process, and the change involved is fascinating and kept me interested in reading Linger.

*teensy-weensy bit spoilerish*
"This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf, and a girl who became one. I won't let this be my goodbye. I've folded one thousand paper crane memories of me and Grace, and I've made my wish..." (360).

The ending left me in a semi-depressed state. I'm so afraid for everyone in this novel. My one wish is to find that Sam and Grace, including everyone else, but more specifically Sam and Grace, have and live a happy ending in the next novel. I couldn't withstand it if something bad happened to their relationship. But, it would seem so many new hurdles have been added in, I have no idea where Maggie is going to be taking the next novel, Forever, though I'm most definitely going to pick up a copy of the last novel of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy.

Thanks for reading!

Watch out for Forever, the finale of the Wolves of Mercy Falls
 (to-be-released: 7/12/11)


Miss Bookiverse said...

I adored Linger! Your review pretty much covers all my thoughts :D Weren't the papercranes a beautiful idea?
Also Sam & Grace <3 <3 they are the perfect couple (as in a couple I love) and you described them, their relationship and my feelings toward it perfectly. Well done!

A. Knight said...

Yes, the paper cranes were a stupendous idea. It's so funny because when I was in the fourth grade I read the legend pertaining to the wishes and I learned how to make them. I can still to this day actually...

Yes, I totally agree with you. I don't think there is a better YA couple, that is as truly deep as Sam and Grace. Oh, thank you so much for saying so...I wasn't sure if I could captivate the essence of their relationship in words well. *smiles sheepishly*

Also, thanks for following!

Miss Bookiverse said...

Oh you can make them? How cool. I can only fold little ships ^^

Sometimes it's so hard to put good feelings about a book into words, isn't it? I'm always unsure if I managed to or not as well.

Oh you're welcome. You totally deserve more followers. Your reviews are so well crafted and insightful.

A. Knight said...

It's okay because I can't make little ships *smiles*

I know I feel that way too. I wish you'd have some English posts so I can read 'em! ^^

Again, thanks! I hope this blog does reach that point some day! I love writing reviews and I'm so glad you find them so good...o(^_^)o

Miss Bookiverse said...

Hey, just thought I'd let you know: I added a translation tool to my blog (sidebar top-right). The translations aren't perfect but I think you get the general message.
So if you ever want to read any of my blog entries you should try it :)

I love your new design, even though the old one was great, too! I'm having trouble opening the cuts of the reviews and the comment links though o.O That's why I'm writing a comment on an old post. I hope that's just a temporary problem.