Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

As spring leisurely breaks winter's strong hold on the small town of Mercy Falls, Sam slowly begins to accept the fact that he is not going to turn back into a wolf. At times he's still unable to believe that he's been given this unexpected gift of constant humanity but with Grace by his side, he's willing to accept it. Alternately, the once unflappable, practical Grace is feeling more and more restless with the arrival of spring. On top of the strange symptoms she's been experiencing, Grace's previously non-involved parents have become increasingly more and more resistant to Sam's steady presence in her life. Which is the last thing either want to deal with as Beck's new wolves begin to return to their human form - full of confusion and uncontrollable instincts; ultimately requiring direction and protection from Sam.

Even though I adore Maggie Stiefvater's books and her unusually beautiful writing, I resisted picking up her latest, Linger, out of sheer perversity. Really, let me explain. Hands-down, Shiver had one of the loveliest endings I've read in quite some time and I just wasn't ready to watch life unravel for Sam and Grace as I knew it ultimately would. Eventually I gave in. And I'm glad I did. Maggie Stiefvater is truly an amazingly talented writer. Her words flow so easily from the pages, full of incredible imagery and sensory descriptions so strong I found myself thinking about particular scenes from Linger - in detail - days after finishing the book. I also quickly fell in love with the additional narrative voices of Isabel Culpeper and Cole, one of Beck's new wolves. Isabel was a stand-out character from Shiver and her straight-forward approach to life could not be more refreshing. Undeniably, Ms. Stiefvater is unparalleled at her craft but I did find myself bothered by a couple of aspects of the novel.

Which leads me to the list of... Things that Bothered Me in Linger:

1. Another Absurdly Talented Musician. I get it that Maggie Stiefvater herself is something of a musical genius (I am not, so I will simply bow down to her prowess) but do we really need yet another dreamy boy with a passion for all things music? And then the fact that Cole and Sam never even once discuss their shared interest in music (highly improbably in my experience with musicians) is incredibly suspect. Can we not just find another interest for our characters? Which leads me to...

2. Cole. While I love me a bad-boy rocker, I have issues with certain aspects of his character. The bad-boy part I'm totally on board with - especially the whole: I'm jaded, where's my next big high? persona. Love that. It's the tortured genius thing I don't really believe. That whole explanation seemed rushed and basically wound up as a convenient plot solution. Hopefully this is addressed more in Forever, because I really, really like Cole - I just don't think he's been fully developed yet.

3. NARKOTIKA. Can someone please explain to me why in heavens name Cole's band is called NARKOTIKA?! And WHY is it always written in caps? I feel like I should be yelling it every time I read it. (Gee, I guess I'm supposed to.)

4. Crappy Parents. Yet again. And this award doesn't just go to Grace's parental units (Hello! Can you not tell your daughter is sick here?). The Culpepers, Cole's smarty-pants family, and even Sam's adopted father, Beck, all seem to be gunning for this coveted title. I know Grace tends to envy Sam's upbringing, but Beck has always seemed a little off to me with his whole "let me bite and create more unstable werewolves" thing.

Harsh, right? I know. But it's not to say that I didn't like Linger. Really, I did. It just isn't my favorite although guaranteed I'll be tracking down Forever (which, HELLO! has a gorgeous new cover) once it's released next year to find out how it all ends for Sam, Grace, Isabel, and Cole.

series reading order:
~ Shiver - my review
~ Linger
~ Forever (July 2011)

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Angieville review
Presenting Lenore review
Not Enough Bookshelves review
The Compulsive Reader review
YA Highway review

book source: ARC tour


Amber said...

I just finished Shiver this last weekend! I saw the cover in Barnes and Noble the other day and recognized it from your blog, so I bought it. Guess I'll have to be making another trip soon to get Linger, huh? Love you!

Chachic said...

Hey, I feel the same way about Shiver! I really liked the ending so I haven't picked up Linger even though I've seen it around in the bookstores. Maybe I should wait until Forever comes out before I read Linger so I don't have to wait. Hmm...

Nomes said...

oh - i have linger sitting on my bedside table (alongside a bunch of books i want to read but havent started yet). i really should read it - not sure why i am procrastinating.

i love your review though. i'll probably feel the same way about your points. i know what you mean about musicians - they always talk music talk whenever they're around each other. and LOL at wanting to yell out that band name. Capitals does that to me too!

Michelle said...

Ambie! So happy to see you surfacing here!! And I'm glad to hear you liked SHIVER - I think you'll enjoy LINGER too then.

Chachic - I like your plan. Perhaps I should have also done likewise since I'll have to wait months now. *sigh*

Nomes - I hear you on the never-ending TBR pile :) Also yes. Capitals. I always think someone is yelling at me and I get all anxious and worried.

Melissa said...

I put off reading Shiver for some of the same reasons -- well, it was mostly the hype, and I didn't believe anything could be as good as the hype. I was wonderfully surprised that it (gasp) was, and more so. Even with the quibbles, I'm glad Linger's just as good.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I kind of agree with you! Shiver was a really nice read, but Linger disappointed a little. For me though, it was mostly due to the too numerous point of view through the chapters. I still can't wait to read Forever though, it has an amazing cover!

Anonymous said...

I skimmed this because I haven't read it yet, but it is refreshing to read about things that btohered you about the book!

Liviania said...

Yeah, it did bother me that Sam and Cole never discussed music. It did enforce their uncomfotableness with each other, that they couldn't discover and talk about something so fundamental, but it was odd.

Michelle said...

Melissa - It's so hard to know which ones are going to stand up to their reputation or not. I'd recommend these ones though. Great writing.

Kay - agreed. Although I'm curious if the trend will hold and the text will be red? I don't know if my eyes can handle that...

irisonbooks - Thanks! I'd be interested to hear your thoughts once you do get around to this one.

Liviania - Yes! Ditto to that. Hopefully, that'll be addressed in FOREVER.