Special $7.89 (Regular price: $9.99)
Publisher: Harper Teen
Reviewer: Melissa on January 20, 2011
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
“In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees.” Ever since Clara Gardner learned that she was an angel-blood, she’s been waiting to understand her “purpose.” She might be faster, smarter, and stronger than human beings, but that doesn’t mean that understanding the-who-what-where-and-when of her vision will be a walk in the park. Her visions depict a raging forest fire and an attractive stranger, and they draw her to a new school in a new state. There she meets Christian, the literal man of her dreams, but just when things seem to be getting easier, they get harder all over again. Just when she’s supposed to understand what she’s meant to do and who she’s meant to be, her attraction to another guy makes her question everything. When the sparks ignite into the fiery blaze of her destiny, will Clara be ready to face it?
I haven’t read many angel books, despite my frequent forays into the paranormal teen fiction genre. The few that I have read focused on the dark side of the angels on earth, and while they were enjoyable to me, they didn’t appeal to everyone who’s read them. By contrast, I’ve only heard good things about Cynthia Hand‘s debut YA novel. Sometimes the hype about a new book can be overwhelming, but I for one have to agree with the majority on this one. Unearthly is a moving portrait about one girl’s struggle to make sense of her feelings of love and her sense of duty, which I think will appeal both to teen girls and adults alike.
It’s not that Hand’s characterization of Clara is the only thing worth speaking about; I really enjoyed the plot and the novel’s pacing as well. In fact, there is only one way that I could accurately describe this novel — it’s unputdownable. Whereas a lot of paranormal novels depict a character coming to terms with who she is and all the angst associated with it, Hand made a great decision when she started the novel two years after Clara learns just how special she is. Don’t expect to get weighed down by that business because it just isn’t there. While Clara does have to learn a lot (about Christian, her purpose, how to fly, etc.) in a relatively short period of time, it never feels like merely a knowledge dump; it, like the main character herself, feels real.
So, you’re wondering how could a supernatural tale truly have the believability of a contemporary YA novel? First, despite her supernatural powers, Clara doesn’t want people to look at her life she’s a god of some sort. She may know why she was sent to earth, but that doesn’t mean that she wants to draw attention to herself or to rub it anyone’s face. Second, she has a slight rebellious streak, which many teens and adults who once were teens will understand as her developing sense of self. Finally, she’s not infalliable. Her purpose may have been revealed to her, but that doesn’t mean she blindly follows the rules, which means that sometimes, she’s far from perfect. She acts the way any normal teen would act, but it just so happens to be angel-blood.
Clara is just so refreshingly real that readers of all ages will not only get into her character, but also they’ll get into Unearthly.
Buy Unearthly today and save 21% off the regular price!
Buy The Jumbee
Special $15.06 (Regular price: $17.99)
Publisher: Dial Books
Reviewer: Melissa on November 26, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Determined to step out from the shadow of her late father, a famed actor, Esti Legard convinces her mother to move them to Cariba to attend a theater school. However, on an island where superstition rules, it doesn’t seem like she can get away from the darkness. While practicing her lines in the dark theater, an alluring voice – known only as Alan – becomes her drama tutor, in broad daylight, she struggles with her attraction to the local bad boy, Rafe. When shocking accidents and mysterious illnesses begin happening on the set of Romeo And Juliet, however, the islanders are convinced that not only is the theater haunted by a jumbee, but also that Esti has fallen under his spell. Is Alan really a ghost? What will it cost her and her loved ones to learn the truth in Pamela Keyes debut novel, The Jumbee?
For those of you who have previously read or seen a version of The Phantom of the Opera performed on the stage before, take a moment to remember it and you might have some idea of what to expect from this novel. Although updated with a different setting and context – the main character is an actor, not a musician, I’m not surprised that it’s being haralded as a modern take on this tale with a Carribbean twist. Whether it was from the heady sea air that you can almost taste while you read TheJumbee or the frequent references to the Shakespearean oeuvre that play a role in the narrative, I, for one, fell in love with this novel very early on, and I have a feeling that those who like Shakespeare and paranormal romance novels will find that this one has a magnetic pull that will definitely draw you in.
Reading Keyes’ novel made me fall in love with Shakespeare’s signature iambic pentameter style all over again, in part because Esti and Alan have such reverence for his plays. While their love for Shakespearean language and their ability to bring the emotions of the plays to life helped me see Shakespeare again, as if for the first time, it had significance to the characters as well. Their mutual appreciation and understanding of the plays brings them together in a way that Esti can’t experience with anyone else, least of all her other potentially, significant other, Rafe.
Esti’s relationship with Alan is mostly intellectual because of the knowledge they share and the his refusal to allow her to see or touch him. With Rafe, on the other hand, readers can expect to find that Esti has both a physical attraction and a history: they were childhood friends and she goes by a nickname that he gave her years ago. The fact that she cares for and experiences her attraction to each of the potential boyfriends in a different way explains a lot of the push and pull factors that draw her at times in one direction and at others, another.
Other than the language and convincingly complicated romance plot, my favorite aspect of this novel was the intensely suspenseful and mysterious supernatural plot. Keyes does a great job of using the islanders’ superstition and Alan’s self-imposed physical distance between himself and Esti to consistently cast doubt on whether the voice that only she can hear in the theater is really there or if it’s just the presence of a jumbee, a type of ghost said to haunt Cariba by the locals. Whatever is the truth, it is immediately apparent that Alan jumbee or not) would do anything – and I mean anything – to help further Esti’s career at the expense of others. But would he also endanger Esti herself?
Keyes consistently builds the passion and the suspense, so keep in mind that you might not be able to rest until you’ve finished just “one more chapter.” If that doesn’t bother you (and if you read as many YA novels as I do, then I’m sure it wouldn’t), then check out this novel cause I have a feeling that you’ll like it as much as I did.
Buy The Jumbee today!
Buy Of Bees And Mist
Special $9.99 (Regular price: $15.00)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Reviewer: Melissa on November 24, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Of Bees And Mist is the beautiful and enchanting first novel of Erick Setiawan, an American immigrant who was born in Indonesia to Chinese parents. Writing in the tradition of magic realism, he tells the story of three generations of women, but focuses much of his attention on Meridia and the mythical town where spirits and spells, demons and witchcraft, and prophets and fortune tellers are a reality day after day. Meridia grows up in a very lonely home until she meets and falls in love with Daniel at the age of 16. She thinks that her life will be very different when she marries him and moves into her mother-in-laws home, but she soon realizes that even this “happy” home has dark secrets that she never imagined possible.
It’s rare that I read and review adult novels on YABookShelf.com, but I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to check out this one and to share my thoughts about it with you today. So many of the novels that receive large followings within the YA community feature ghosts and monsters, like vampires and werewolves, and while OfBeesAndMist doesn’t feature these creatures, the haunted houses and Indonesian demons that pop up again and again will certainly appeal to the teen audience. When accompanied by the magically-infused moments, such as staircases that grow and shrink at random, mist that batters visitors of Meridia’s childhood home, and bees that have the power to persuade others of falsehoods, this novel will definitely entertain readers of all ages. For myself, however, it is the mixture of magic and mystery with an amazing story of the familial ties that both bring together individuals and bind them to one another.
Strong female characters and the conflicts they have with one another are at the center of this family saga, and perhaps this is one of the clearest reasons why it spoke to me. From Meridia’s beginning as a young girl who believes that she’s invisible because she doesn’t get any attention, she later grows into a woman, who doesn’t need the attention of others, but instead can and does fend for herself whenever the opportunity presents itself. She overcomes the constricting presence of her mother-in-law, but it isn’t like Eva is only the selfish and in some ways, evil, woman that is presented to us. One of the things that makes Setiawan’s novel a full and engrossing tale is that both the good and bad characters face odds that demonstrate their humanity and show how and why they deserve our pity at times. It is by his talent for breathing life into these characters that the author permits readers to not only come along for the ride, but also to feel the depth of emotions that this family must go through before the conclusion.
Despite the fact that there are some adult scenes presented in these pages, I believe that both teens and the young at heart will equally enjoy this magical tale of one family and the ties that bind them together. And of course, Of Bees And Mist‘s beautiful cover will have you – and anyone you read it around – in awe as well. Pick it up today for yourself or as a gift.
Buy Of Bees And Mist today!
Some of you may remember the post I did a few weeks ago about a special Nightshade package that I received in my mailbox. Another package related to the mystery that Shay Doran and a bunch of other bloggers and readers are trying to solve on the Facebook page arrived not that long ago. Like the first one, the return address didn’t give a name, but there wasn’t any need for a USB key filled with video information. Not only was there a written message personalized to me about the package in question, but also I’d seen enough of the clues on the FB page myself to know exactly where this was going.
In case you haven’t been following the prequel mystery, then you should know that Shay was exploring a library in his uncle’s home that was, technically, off limits. Of course, just like Bluebeard’s wife, Shay couldn’t resist the temptation of seeing for himself what lay behind the locked doors, and neither myself nor the rest of the fans could blame him. Inside the library, he saw some things that freaked him out, but he also found some books with clues highlighted in them.
Today, I’m here to tell me that I received one of the books from the library, have examined the clues, and think I’ve come up with what they mean. However, I (and Shay) could always use a little help from my blog, Facebook, and Twitter friends to help get Shay on the right track. And who knows, if you become one of Shay’s friends, you might find yourself mentioned in the prequel that Andrea Cremer is writing!
Take a look at the images below:
Can you make any sense of them? I think that it says, “Maries the son of Efron and Logan Bane.” Sounds like it supposed to mean Marries the son of Efron and Logan Bane. What do you think? Having trouble deciphering the images? Well check out the Facebook page now to see larger versions of the pictures!
Special $14.24 (Regular price: $18.99)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Reviewer: Melissa on October 6, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Whether you read Hush, Hush last year when it first came out, last month like I did, or have just recently put it on your TBR pile, I bet that you’re anticipating the follow-up, Crescendo just as much as I was. Why would I say that? Nora has everything she wanted: a great relationship with Patch and a guardian angel all wrapped up into one. While she might think that her life is perfect now, she gets stuck with an unfortunate lab partner in Chemistry, Patch starts pulling away from her, and she starts having strange nightmares about the past, including how her dad was killed. As Nora begins to dig deeper into her dad’s death and the mystery reaches a fever pitch, she begins to wonder if her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with it, and if so, can she uncover the truth before it’s too late again?
When I finished the first book in the Hush, Hush series, I immediately picked up my copy of Crescendo. If I described Hush,Hush as unputtdownable, then the sequel was something akin to addictive for me. I stayed up late into the night reading it and got up early to finish it off in under 24 hours. The problems that some readers (not me) had with the first novel in the series – the manipulative relationship between Patch and Nora – are no longer as much of an issue. While at some points I found Nora a little whiny for my taste, this too seemed realistic to me given the new circumstances that she’s facing. (Feel free to argue with me otherwise if you think differently.)
Becca Fitzpatrick is now known for creating a plot that twists and turns at the drop of the hat, and she continues to shock and awe readers this time around. On a positive note, I didn’t suspect the path Crescendo was taking, and I think you’ll agree that the identity of the villain is considerably less predictable than it was in Hush, Hush. The suspense continually builds up higher and higher, ending in one of the most dramatic and unexpected ways possible, and since it was recently announced, I think it’s safe to say that there will be at least one additional novel in this series. Look for Tempest in the Fall of 2011.
One of the other great things about this book is that some of the mysteries which were only hinted at in the first novel, like Harrison Grey’s murder and the long time rivalry between Marcie and Nora, come to the forefront. You might not have had the answers you wanted before, but you’ll get closure and enlightenment on these questions at the same time as other issues pop up that will have you scratching your head.
Crescendo is everything fans of the Hush, Hush series were looking for and more. Look for it in stores everywhere October 19, 2010.
Buy Crescendo today!
Buy Hush, Hush
Special $11.99 (Regular price: $17.99)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Reviewer: Melissa on September 11, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Nora Grey is an overachieving teen, who has always focused on school and her GPA over boys. However, when Patch becomes her biology partner, she is at once attracted to his dark hair, dark complexion and black eyes that seem to see right through her without ever leaving any hints of who he might be, and uncomfortable by his hold over her. After a few terrifying encounters, she begins to find him wherever she goes. Coincidence? Maybe not. Should she trust Patch or should she run screaming in the opposite direction? Nora can’t decide, and when she tries to seek some answers, she realizes that she’s in the midst of something more unsettling than anything she’s ever felt, an ancient battle between the Immortal and the Fallen. In Hush, Hush one wrong move could cost a lot more than Nora can afford.
Since I finished reading Hush,Hush, I’ve been scouring the Internet to see what other people thought about it as I heard through a Twitter friend that it was a really controversial novel. In some instances, the cover drew people in, but parts of the story was something that at times aggravated and in some instances bored some readers. On the other side, there were those who loved not only the concept of the novel – a romance between a fallen angel and a human – but also Becca Fitzpatrick‘s execution of it. Patch, of course, drew a lot of positive attention and fiery blushes. Personally, I really enjoyed reading this paranormal YA novel and find myself thinking that maybe there are more angel books that I ought to be checking out (such as the ones that I mentioned as being in my mailbox on Monday).
Some people have said that if you liked Twilight, then this book might suit you, but I can’t really say that because I haven’t read Stephanie Meyer’s vampire series. What I can say is that I identified with Nora’s attraction to someone that she wasn’t sure about, that she wasn’t sure if she could trust. Sometimes the guy that your parents would be least likely to welcome with open arms is the one that you run to first as a teen. Moreover, I don’t think that Nora would be the first girl to ignore her instincts when it comes to someone she’s attracted to, so whether everyone agrees or not, I have to admit that I believed it. Not only was I intrigued in the story and the mystery of it from the very beginning, but also I just couldn’t put it down. You could say that I was drawn to it just as strongly as Nora was to Patch.
Now, while I think there is a lot to love about this novel, and I can’t wait to read and review Crescendo, the next book in this series, there were a couple of sticky points. First, I was actually able to pull apart who the villain was approximately half way through, though I didn’t understand all of the circumstances until much later. Of course, it didn’t stop me from reading further – it just made me all the more interested. While I loved the book and how it ended up, I’ll also admit that I was a little uncomfortable by Nora’s choice toward the end. At the same time, I think it was the best thing that Nora could do, given the circumstances, which is why I think it was the best way that Fitzpatrick could have ended this book. For those of you who haven’t read Hush, Hush yet, I don’t want to spoil the ending, so sorry for the cryptic talk, but when you do pick it up, I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean.
Even with these uncertain aspects, I appreciated the arc of Hush, Hush because it, ultimately, redeems some characters and has a magnetic pull that will drew me in and kept me reading. If you haven’t read Becca Fitzpatrick’s debut novel yet, then you have to check it out soon if you want to read it before the sequel’s October 19th release. Just sayin’.
Buy Hush, Hush today!
Special $10.49 (Regular price: $17.99)
Publisher: Dial Books
Reviewer: Melissa on September 8, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Phoebe Rothschild met Mallory in the seventh grade at a time when she is first beginning to develop a sense of self and independence. At a time when she is willing to ditch the catty group of friends that she’d always hung around with, Mallory’s presence allows her to see a way out and she takes it without ever looking back. Over the course of four years, they become inseparable…almost like sisters, but when it seems like nothing can break apart the bond they share, someone else – Mallory’s mysterious older brother Ryland – comes between them and makes her question not only her best friend, but also herself. What is it that makes Phoebe so attracted to them…does she just see something special in them or are they faeries who want something from her and are doing everything in their power to get it from her? If you have an interest in the paranormal but prefer when it makes you think, then Extraordinary will draw you in and make you question your own place in the world.
Extraordinary is an extraordinary example of the fact that YA paranormal novels can, and in some cases should, go beyond the typical limits of the genre to the truly literary. While some novels just throw the supernatural into a real life setting and add various obstacles to bring readers a long for the ride, Nancy Werlin proves that paranormal books don’t have to be guilty pleasures consumed only when no one is looking. In fact, by reading this novel, you’ll see that the thoroughly entertaining can cause teen readers to deal with their own feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy as Phoebe does the same. By providing an example of someone who takes the plunge herself, Phoebe might very well be a positive influence on her young adult fans and a breath of fresh air to adult readers as well.
From the crisp and vibrant look of the actual book cover to the structure which weaves back and forth between Mallory and Ryland conversing with the Faeries Queen, the otherworldly aspect of this novel is consistently brought to the foreground. You won’t be able to forget that there is something magical at work here, but unlike the soliloquies which all the reader and/or listener to know what is about to happen before the main character, Werlin manages to cloak her novel in a layer of mystery that continues to surprise to the very end. You won’t get any spoilers here, but I can promise that this read was well worth the effort for me and might end with you thinking the same thing. While I normally devour new books, this novel begs to be savored and enjoyed, so I found myself purposefully reading at a slower pace than normal.
If I had to choose something that I didn’t really like about the novel, however, I think that I could manage this as well. While my review is overwhelmingly positive, I didn’t like how Phoebe reacts when she realizes that Mallory and Ryland are faeries and that they’d been controlling her. While the reaction is understandable, I would have believed it more had we seen glimpses of this reaction earlier on in the novel. Despite this small point, I still think that Extraordinary should be one of your must reads for September.
Buy Extraordinary today!
Buy Romeo & Juliet & Vampires
Special $6.74 (Regular price: $8.99)
Publisher: Harper Teen
Reviewer: Melissa on September 1, 2010
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
William Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet is probably one of his most widely read plays among a teen audience. Its themes of family feuds, truelove, revenge, and tragic ends, which are pivotal to the play’s action are all easily understood by young adults; they reflect the dramatic ways in which teens view their own first experiences with love and loss. Thus, Claudia Gabel‘s decision to adapt this romantic tragedy to the monster mashup genre is not surprising. For the August 31, 2010 release of Romeo & Juliet & Vampires, readers can expect a fun read, which will, hopefully, motivate teens to check out Shakespeare’s version again with new eyes.
When I first heard about the novel Gabel was releasing, I wanted to check it out to see the ins and outs of the adaptation process. While many people instantly dismiss the mashup genre, I’ve argued on YABookShelf.com more than once that there can be something worth checking out in these monstrously-infused versions of classic novels and plays. I mean what was Shakespeare himself but a mashup artist par excellence, who only wrote one original play, The Tempest, which is often considered to be the least successful of his oeuvre. When I heard that Romeo&Juliet&Vampires was set to cast the Capulets as a long line of blood-sucking vampires and the Montagues as a gifted family of vampire slayers, I thought that Gabel was definitely on to something.
Having only read one monster mashup novel so far, Jane Slayre by Sherri Browning Erwin, and being a consummate lover of all things Shakespeare, I had really high expectations for this novel. In many respects, Gabel has done a great job making this beloved play recognizable in a new setting – Translyvania – and with characters who have slightly different motivations and raison d’etre from those of the original. Moreover, while I personally find a lot to love in the original, I can understand where the dark element of immortality and the secret vampire initiation rite would make this more exciting to a teen audience. Even I can admit that it was a fun read, especially as I got closer to the 80 page mark and beyond.
However, the more I read, the more I realized that transforming a play written in iambic pentameter into a prose novel is difficult. While Gabel, without a doubt, has made a valiant effort, there are some aspects of this novel, which didn’t meet my expectations. First, one of the major differences between plays and novels is that the former are high on dialogue and brief scene descriptions, but more sparse on description and first person point of view, except in the odd soliloquy or aside. For this reason, I found that the first 70 pages or so dragged a little, feeling longer than was necessary. Second, while most of the time, Gabel resisted the urge to use Shakespeare’s Rennaissance English with some slight modern modifications, which I really appreciated, there was at least one instance where she did update one of the famous lines with less than satisfactory results. I’m referring to the novel’s prologue in which the chorus’ lines are modernized in this way, “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-cross’d lovers were fated to find out,” which may not bother a teen reader, but for someone like myself, who has read heavily from the Shakespearen oeuvre, this half-Renaissance, half-contemporary line wasn’t my cup of tea. Personally, I would have much preferred that this line would have been delivered in a fully modernized format.
Of course, these faults occur early on in Romeo & Juliet & Vampires, so as I continued reading, I was able to not only get passed them, but also really get into the paranormal twist on Romeo And Juliet. It is definitely a fun, new take on the classic play and is sure to entertain both bookworms and reluctant readers alike. Who knows, Gabel may make a Shakespearean student out of the most resistant to his iambic pentameter genius.
Buy Romeo & Juliet & Vampires today!
Buy If I Stay
Special $7.49 (Regular price: $8.99)
Reviewer: Melissa on July 28, 2010
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Mia is a 17 year old, who has everything that she could ever want or need: a great boyfriend named Adam, parents who understand her, a brother who looks up to her, and a virtuoso talent for playing classical music. In fact, the biggest choice that she has to make is whether she should follow her dreams of musical grandeur to New York City and Julliard or if you should stick around her hometown to be near her family, friends and boyfriend. Would she be able to make that decision? Who knows because in an instant, the need to respond to a simpler, lower level need becomes so much more important. Sounds like an example of contemporary YA? I thought so too until I realized that Gayle Forman‘s Mia spends the vast majority of the novel “living” an out of body experience and presenting her memories in emotion-filled flashbacks.
How much do I love If I Stay? I love this book way more than I can show you, so I might as well tell you. First, I really loved the easy, happy relationship that Mia and her family has with each other. How often do you read a YA novel in which the main character’s parents seem to understand their child’s needs so well? Even more rarely, how often does the main character actually want to spend time with her parents? I certainly didn’t have the type of relationship that Mia had with her parents, but I definitely admire it.
While the familial relationship that Forman depicts in her debut novel, IfIStay, is powerful and compelling, I have to admit that my love for each of the characters, including Adam, Mia, Kim and Mia’s family goes beyond admiring how well they get along together. Reading this novel, I couldn’t help but think how much I really would love to be friends with them all in reality. I even said to some people on Goodreads that they’re the type of characters you wish you could just hang out with. I’m not sure how often that happens to you, but for me, it’s rare. Sure, I get wrapped up in novels all the time – I feel their joys and pain almost as if they were my own. With this novel, however, my feelings were much stronger. Forman and her characters drew me into their lives and wouldn’t let me go, even after I finished the final page. I couldn’t help but root for them and ponder their experiences as if I had the same limitations. If the reactions of the few people I’ve recommended it to are any indication, then I think you will too.
You’ll find yourself teary-eyed or outright crying in public, but don’t think that this novel is all sadness. In other moments, you’ll find yourself laughing, feeling your heart swell with the swoon-worthy moments, or hoping that the conflicts which come up along the way are resolved. Through it all, the budding romance between Adam and Mia builds and blossoms in ways that are familiar, yet still original because it isn’t perfect – it actually feels real. In short, this novel will bring you the fullest range of human emotions that one teen girl can feel, and it’ll feel like you’re right there along with her.
Believe me when I say, you’ll love If I Stay and you won’t be able to shake the events of the novel from your head for quite some time. Do yourself a favor – add this novel to your to be read pile, go out and purchase it, read it and then if you have a site, review it. Once you’ve read it, you won’t be able to help yourself – you’ll NEED to add the sequel, Where She Went, to your reading list as well. However, you don’t need to take me word alone. Check out the two powerful trailers used to promote the book too!
Buy If I Stay today!
Special $13.49 (Regular price: $17.99)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Reviewer: Melissa on July 24, 2010
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
In Shiver , Grace Brisbane and Sam Roth fall in love and by the end, feel like everything is going their way. Now, in the follow-up novel, Linger, things aren’t going so well. First and foremost, Grace’s parents have started to become uncomfortable with the growing relationship and closeness between these two young lovers. For Sam’s part, he’s now the leader of the wolf pack as a full-time human, and thus, he has to deal with the new wolves, like Cole and Victor, and all the problems that come with this responsibility. Rather than the back and forth alternating voices between only Sam and Grace, you’ll have an inside look at what Isabel and Cole think as well, which makes the voices of the novel a lot more complicated. If you liked the first novel in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, then you’ll want to read this book! (BTW…if you haven’t read Shiver, then go out and read it….now.)
I’m someone who grew up on fairy tales and therefore, Shiver was a perfect novel for me. I loved the way Maggie Stiefvater developed the relationship between Grace and Sam and felt that her parent’s reaction to him was really realistic and fair. In Linger, you’ll find a very different type of novel. Sure, the two lovers are still in a romantic and committed relationship, but the reaction of her parents changes and with these changes, so to does the way in which all four of these characters interact. The author has admitted that her novels are very angst-ridden, but this one was much more so than the first novel. This argument-filled story line made it more difficult for me to get into the novel than I did with the previous one.
Of course, the angst isn’t the only part that made it harder for me to read this novel. While the obstacle of Mr. and Mrs. Brisbane’s feelings make “life” a lot harder for the two young lovers, the possibility that Grace might not be able to stay in a human form anymore after 10 years of a seemingly “cured” state brings a heaviness that wasn’t there in the first novel. Read this book, but expect that it’ll be a difficult, that it’ll make you cry, that you’ll wish you could do something to change the circumstances that the characters face.
One thing that I really liked about reading Linger was the author’s ability to make our sympathies change toward Cole and Isabel throughout the novel. I’ll admit it – I wasn’t a big fan of Isabel in the first novel, and early on in this one, I didn’t like Cole and his selfish behavior. All of his life, he’s been trying to lose himself and all of her life she’s been a privileged, whiny character, or so I thought. Both of these characters learn and grow a lot over the course of the second novel, and in so doing, they made me (and Sam) sympathize with their plight. Isabel shows herself to be a strong and courageous female role model, who says what she thinks when it needs to be said by someone. Cole, on the other hand, proves to be a valuable asset to the wolf pack through his understanding of scientific experimentation (don’t worry Maggie wouldn’t write a geeky science nerd – he’s also the lead member of a very successful band called NARKOTICA with smoldering good looks). Together, they help solidify and “team” of perspectives and help avoid some of the problems with which this book begins.
I know that some people like Linger better than Shiver, but for me, finishing it was heartbreaking. Of course, it just made me want to pine for the release of Forever, the last book in the series, which is set to be released in July 2011 (oh…the agony). I want my happy ending and hope that Maggie Stiefvater delivers by the end of the series.
If you’re Canadian, don’t forget to enter my It’s A Wolves Of Mercy Falls Giveaway and buy Linger today!