It’s the brink of spring, and Sam is still adjusting to his new life as a non-imaginary creature. Every time he walks outdoors with Grace and anticipates the nausea of changing that doesn’t come, he’s amazed. Sam could definitely become accustomed to this, but that doesn’t mean he misses Beck or avoids Beck’s empty house, which is headquarters for the wolves after they’ve changed back into their human selves for the summer, any less. Having a real future – a blank canvas to fill- is both exciting and daunting as Sam continues to find it necessary to convince himself of his own cure. Meanwhile, Grace’s life has never been fuller. Instead of doing her homework alone at her house while her parents work or party late into the night, she has a constant companion and her best friend year round at her side. To her chagrin, however, Sam’s ubiquity at the Brisbane home has only made her parents relationship towards him cooler. Most worrying of all is that Grace isn’t feeling herself, which as life goes on isn’t something her proficiency in lying can always cover-up. Thank goodness for Isabel, who’s still numb from her brother’s death but irrevocably connected to Sam and Grace’s lives, committed to voicing the unsaid and looking out for the wolves that are still out there. She also feels a reluctant yet instant connection to the new wolf, Cole, whose troubled past makes him more in need of saving than herself. Sam, Grace, Isabel, and Cole’s lives all come to a head as Grace’s future becomes more and more unknown and love may be all that lingers.
With the ending of Shiver being sudden but perfect, I had some anxieties about the necessity of a sequel and how naturally Grace and Sam’s story could continue when their lives and relationship already seemed to be resolved. In hindsight my doubts are baffling to me considering I’ve read and loved everything Maggie Stiefvater has written. Nonetheless an early and very vague plotbite on Stiefvater’s blog worried me even more as I questioned Grace’s inferred situation and how it could plausibly originate. Well, there’s nothing long or complex about my quickly allayed concerns. It took a only a few pages of Maggie’s lovely, assured writing and the warm, multidimensional characters. The further I read the more assured I became that the plot would not be forced or predictable and that the characters new and old would shine. I loved Cole in particular, and I’m glad we get to know and understand snobby Isabel better. I wanted to know everything about NARKOTIKA and Cole’s family and see Isabel open up. I adored Sam, possibly more than I did in Shiver. He’s sensitive and intellectual and a bit of a poet yet still very much a seventeen-year-old with a future he didn’t think he had and all the uncertainty and unmade decisions with it. I would’ve liked a little more from Grace’s viewpoint, though I think it wasn’t possible within the plot to do so. She is so different than me but I found her logic and pragmatism very relatable. Grace is still a girl, who needs and loves a guy named Sam, more than ever. I breezed through Sam, Grace, Isabel, and Cole’s story entranced by the alternating viewpoints until the gripping, do-or-die conclusion. I’ve learned my lesson this time. I can trust you Maggie Stiefvater, completely. There are definitely no reservations in my mind for FOREVER, which I will undoubtedly gobble up when it comes out next year.
Reading Order: Shiver, Linger
And in case you missed it, the awesome book trailer that Maggie made and the green prettiness waiting inside on July 20th: