Laura's Reviews > Linger

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
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's review
Aug 31, 2010

it was amazing

I was really looking forward to reading this book. It is nice to look forward to a book so much (and "Mockingjay" arrived today in the post!).
I have a penchant for sad things, so I enjoy this series very much, but I can understand if some readers find Sam and Grace too entangled in their sadness, their feeling of a doomed love. Here they reminded me a lot of Romeo and Juliet, particularly since the night when Grace started feeling really sick. The book starts with Sam adjusting to not being a wolf anymore, puzzling over his identity (a key aspect of his character, the reason why he prefers to be human) and his future. This is actually quite realistic. He keeps loving Grace as much as ever, but he is thinking about other things too, like the new wolves and his possible responsibilities towards them as Beck's substitute.
Grace is very much in love too. Did she express it so much in "Shiver"? I can't recall. She finds pretty early on that she is getting sick, and this makes her love for Sam more poignant, more desperate, as it happened to Sam in "Shiver". I felt that as lovers they seemed to have jumped many stages towards a more marital status: I missed more hints of the desire they feel for each other, the sex that gets them in trouble. They did not seem as young as Grace's mum insisted on seeing them.
Grace's parents are very disturbing characters. When their daughter confronts them over their absences and lack of care over the years, they don't even feel guilty. The mum waves Grace off, eager to go to her events as soon as possible. Her dad's attitude to Sam in the hospital is very extreme. Still, they made me think of my own first -inadequate, yes- boyfriend and my own parents: like Grace, I am an only child. I think this is a very important message for parents: a talent for letting go, for allowing children to make their own choices, particularly with regard to a partner. The separation of Grace and Sam in their circumstances is the tragedy of the book. Grace and her red coffee pot. Grace envying her parents their comings and goings together as a married couple. Very Romeo and Juliet, again.
I found the writer was very consistent in her presentation of the personality of the characters. Sam is the dreamy type; Grace is resourceful, but feels beaten here. In "Shiver" Grace finds the solution; in "Linger" Sam will not even talk about Grace's illness: it falls to their friends to find a solution. I liked the way Isabel confronted him about this at the end of the book.
I must confess I sympathise with Sam, though: earnest, sensitive, even if some readers find him almost feminine. I like his soppy songs, I like his German poetry. His world has been very small, centred around his wolves, his love for Grace, his self-study, his music, his summer job in a bookshop. He is bound to be introspective, unusual. What happened to him as a child was just too terrible. How could he be a normal guy?
Cole and Isabel, also damaged, are a beautiful contrast to intense Sam and -in this book- fragile Grace. I really enjoyed these characters and their budding story together too. The fact that Cole and Sam are both musicians can be very interesting for "Forever".
A very very sad book, but I do hope for a happy ending in the last part of the trilogy next summer.
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