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"Once upon a time, there was a girl named Grace Brisbane. There was nothing particularly special about her, except that she was good with numbers, and very good at lying, and she made her home in between the pages of books. She loved all the wolves behind her house, but she loved one of them most of all. And this one loved her back. He loved her back so hard that even the things that weren't special about her became special: the way she tapped her pencil on her teeth, the off-tune songs she sang in the shower, how when she kissed him he knew it meant forever."

In SHIVER, human Grace fell profoundly and passionately in love with Sam, the wolf/boy who lived behind her home in tiny Mercy Falls, Minnesota, and with whom she's had a connection since childhood. But their love seemed doomed, as Sam was destined to spend less and less time as a human until he no longer changed from his wolf form at all, even at the height of summer. That is, until the pair stumbled upon a cure that enabled Sam to stay human forever. Voila --- happy ending. Right?

Not so fast. At the opening of LINGER, Sam is charmed by being human even through the cold Minnesota winter, and he and Grace revel in the love they've found. But trouble lurks in the woods that encircle the small town. The new wolves recruited by Beck, Sam's mentor, seem unstable and unpredictable. The cops are asking questions about Olivia, Grace's friend, who has disappeared. Sam and Grace know that Olivia is spending her first winter as wolf, but they can't very well reveal that to the authorities. And then there's the dead wolf that Grace discovers on the edge of the woods. What killed him? And why does his smell linger on her? Is there a connection between the wolf's mysterious death and Grace's debilitating headaches and fevers? Might Grace and Sam lose each other just when they thought they were out of the woods?

As in her bestselling SHIVER, Maggie Stiefvater combines romantic tension, fantasy elements, and gorgeously lyrical writing to create a superb love story that just happens to feature werewolves. Readers will revel in Grace and Sam's genuine love and affection for each other, even as they shudder to recognize the forces --- from hunters to vicious wolves to bloodthirsty hunters to overprotective parents --- that threaten to tear the pair apart. Rilke's words, "We are not permitted to linger, even with what is most intimate," hold painful poignancy for Sam, in particular, as he grows simultaneously to question his true desires and to realize just how fragile his new life is.

Stiefvater's writing is refreshingly grounded but lyrical, its imagery suffused with the colors and scents of the natural world, without the Gothic melodrama that often characterizes some other novels of this genre. Steeped in suspense and soaked in romance, LINGER starts with a happy ending and ends with a cliffhanger that will leave readers panting for FOREVER, the trilogy's concluding volume, due to be published in 2011.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on July 13, 2010

by Maggie Stiefvater

  • Publication Date: July 13, 2010
  • Genres: Romance, Supernatural
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • ISBN-10: 0545123283
  • ISBN-13: 9780545123280