Remember how I described Shiver as bittersweet? Well, Linger is a sobfest. Excuse me while I go grab a new box of tissues, because this is like the teenaged paranormal version of Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember (kinda sorta not really).
Linger is a continuation of Grace and Sam’s story from Shiver. As their relationship continues to deepen, Grace and Sam run into more obstacles in the form of Grace’s parents – who firmly oppose their relationship – and the new werewolves that just joined the Mercy Falls pack. Unbeknownst to Sam, Grace’s health is deteriorating for some reason, and stranger things have been happening to the new wolves that Sam’s never seen before. Cole, one of the new wolves, wants to become a wolf (and stay a wolf) as soon as he can so that he can forget his past. When he meets Isabelle, who is still raw from the recent loss of her brother, they’re instantly attracted to each other… but problems arise as personal wounds are torn open and Isabelle’s trigger-friendly dad starts to take up his hunting hobby again.
I loved Grace and Sam’s relationship in Shiver, and I still love it in Linger. These two are just so tender and lovesick, and basically anything that Sam does for Grace has me crooning “awww” as though I’m watching a sappy romance movie. It feels like seventy years’ worth of love, rather than just seventeen years’ worth, it’s that sweet. And, oh, the PINING. There’s a lot of yearning and pining and teenage angst, since Grace’s parents don’t really like Sam now and often forbid him from seeing her. Romeo and Juliet, anyone?
However, I’m slightly uncomfortable with the way Grace’s parents are portrayed in Linger versus the previous book, just because it seems like they do a complete one-eighty; they were conveniently absent in Shiver, and now they’re trying to act like overprotective parents again, which frustrates Grace (but probably frustrates me more). I don’t really understand the behavior change, except that it adds to the overall angst-level in Grace and Sam’s relationship.
Moving on to Cole and Isabelle: Isabelle was previously a not-so-nice character, but with her development in Linger, she has become my second favorite character in the series (after Sam, obviously). Isabelle is still very domineering and stubborn, but because Stiefvater has incorporated Cole and Isabelle’s first-person narratives, Isabelle’s more vulnerable, human side shows through. Cole is the arrogant bad boy who thinks he’s all that, so Cole and Isabelle’s relationship has a lot of tension and sparks flying all over. I mean, Cole was already naked the first time they met, so this is definitely a fast-moving relationship. However, it lacks the magic that is Grace-and-Sam, so maybe Colsabelle will be shipped more in the final book? crosses fingers
The storyline itself is kind of the reverse of that in Shiver, in that everything is okay at the beginning, but starts unraveling very quickly. The pacing is on the slow side… or, for the masochistically inclined, this means that it’s perfectly torturous. Linger ends in a gentle cliffhanger that has me grabbing for the sequel, hoping for an end to my sweet misery.
Stiefvater’s writing in Linger is just as beautiful as it was in Shiver, and I really enjoyed how the minor characters from the first book are now being brought into the limelight. But this book’s given me the blues, and I’m rooting for a happy ending to the trilogy!