YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for May 23, 2010

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: July 20th 2010
Source: ARC, friend
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
No rating yet but I have a feeling it will be a Gold Star.

Synopsis: In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past…and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves…and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love–the light and the dark, the warm and the cold–in a way you will never forget.

Review: A YA author (I forgot who, sorry) once said that it is harder to write sequels because sequels come with expectations.

That is indeed true. Last year, Shiver captivated me and left me wanting Linger so badly. Thanks to the Book Gods, I managed to get my hands on Linger, early. I shall inform you in advance that I am writing this review having read until page 236 out of 368. My reason for doing this is because I do not want to torture myself with the long wait for Forever hence I am slowly take my time to finish this book. But I think we can safely judge a book after reading more than 3/4 of it right? 🙂 My review will not be spoilerish if you’ve read Shiver. There was no doubt I started this book with a high bar, and now that I’ve read a little over 230 pages, I felt that Stiefvater delivered everything I was expecting.

There are several reasons why I adore Stiefvater’s Mercy Falls series. Firstly, her descriptions of the characters were so they practically came to life in front of me, it was almost as if I was in Minnesota, smelling the musty pine and wolf smell and swooning over Sam Roth. Secondly, Stiefvater’s writing is one of the best out there. It’s evocative, though seemingly effortless, I can tell that every sentence was strategically placed. It leaves us little clues which will slowly come together. It also heightens the ordinary, making something as common as celebrating a birthday, feel special. I do have to warn you that you might fall head-over-heels for Sam, if you haven’t already from the first book.

The third reason is Sam and Grace. Their interactions are so sweet and beautiful and their love is heartachingly real. Sam is sensitive and a refreshing change to those arrogant cocky guys in YA Literature of late. My only teeny tiny complaint was that, at one point, Grace was in danger of becoming one of those frail, timid heroines but luckily Stiefvater managed to get her back together again be the Grace I knew once again.

Fourth, the ‘mystery’ elements. There is no neon sign pointing and saying “LOOK! Here’s a mystery for you to solve!” It’s incorporated into the book nicely and not once appearing out of place. I am dying in suspense not knowing whether my suspicions are true. If it is, I suspect that there will be some sobs at the end of Linger.

To sum up Linger, if you enjoyed Shiver, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Linger as well, but be cautioned that there will be two additional Point Of Views. Isabel and Cole’s perspectives are complete opposites of Grace and Sam’s as they both have that “wild” and “bold” side which is different from the serious attitudes of the latter. At this point, I am still unsure of my feelings for Cole after the stunt he pulled off in the bathroom. We shall see my verdict once I finish the entire book.

If you crave a romance that will tug at your heartstrings and may possibly cause tears, this is for you. And those who love beautiful writing will greedily devour every carefully chosen word, so be assured that lovely descriptions abound.

If you have not read Stiefvater’s Mercy Falls series, do not be fooled into thinking that it is ‘just another sappy werewolf story’ because it’s not. It’s more than that. It’s something extraordinary. More, please!

Here’s a teaser quote (nothing spoilerish):
“What are you wishing for?” Grace interrupted.
Want to know what Sam is wishing for? Follow @YARoundup on Twitter and once they hit 400 followers, they’ll post the full teaser! Yes, I am tweeting for @YARoundup.

Quotes copyright to Scholastic and Maggie Stiefvater. Oh and 58 days to go till Linger releases!

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In My Mailbox (52)

I did not receive anything this week except for a lovely card and bookmarks by a very awesome author. Thank you so much! You know who you are. 🙂 I love getting notes and cards from authors, yes, I do keep them and treasure them!

You can skip ahead and read the rest of my IMM post or you can choose to continue reading this. A recent incident at the library made me terribly upset, I wanted a new arrival book which wasn’t on shelf yet and the librarian told me to wait while she went to get it. But she came out a few minutes later without the book and told me to “Go and check out other books on the shelf. See our new arrivals sections.” WTF, her words didn’t even make sense. Argh! She refused to give me my new book and I had no choice but to reserve it and pick it up from the library another day. Oh the irony. I have a sneaking suspicion that my reserved copy was the same copy I wanted to borrow. This whole paragraph may or may not make sense to you but I just needed to vent, somewhere.

Anyway apart from that librarian, our library is actually pretty cool.

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
Restless souls and empty hearts.

Brooklyn can’t sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca died a year ago, and now their friend Gabe has died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe’s ghost is there, waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn’t Lucca chasing her through her dreams.

Nico can’t stop. He’s always running, trying so hard not to feel the pain of missing Lucca. But when he begins receiving messages from his dead brother, telling him to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they’re being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

(Already read it, I am in love with Lisa Schroeder’s writing. You have to read this book. I’m not kidding. Add it to your To-Buy list ASAP.)

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien
After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.

Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.

Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

(So excited to read this one. I read about 30 pages of it already and I have a feeling I’m going to love this one.)

Sliding on the Edge by C. Lee McKenzie
Something’s wrong.
It’s not a heart-grabbing noise like when somebody jiggles the doorknob to see if it’s locked. It’s not a bitter smell like the electrical short we had last month, when all the breakers popped. No. It’s something in the air, something like a ghost making its way through the room. And it can’t be Monster, not after last night.

Shawna Stone is sixteen going on twenty-five. Already deeply scarred, she has learned to survive with a tough attitude and a thin blade. Her journey is destined to be short. Sliding on the Edge enters the world of a desperate teen and her disillusioned grandmother, each with secrets that stir mutual distrust. As these two unlikely companions struggle to co-exist we are reminded that the human spirit has the capacity to overcome even the deepest suffering.

(Shawna’s voice drew me in from the first page. Cannot wait to read this as well! Sliding on the Edge is a lesser known book and if I like it, I will definitely try to get the word out about it.)

The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand
Veronica Severance feels cut off from the world. Forced to move from the city to rural Oregon with her parents, she is haunted by loneliness and by the chilling sounds of the Santiam, the river that runs through her backyard.

Through the fog of isolation, Ronnie finds herself becoming close with Karen, a young girl who she babysits. But when she discovers Karen’s body on the banks of the Santiam, the victim of a supposed accident, Ronnie feels compelled to uncover the truth.

As she becomes increasingly obsessed with solving Karen’s death, Ronnie is led deeper and deeper into the woods surrounding the river and to the dark secret hidden within its midst.

The River is a darkly atmospheric story of murder, isolation, obsession and dark secrets that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

(The River was quite an interesting read, I enjoyed the plot and the characters but I felt that some elements of the book was not well developed.)

Let me know what you think of these books if you’ve already read them!