Tuesday 19 October 2010


Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, jacket design by Chris Stengel (Scholastic Inc) 
HB RRP $29.99 
ISBN 9780545123280
Recommended for 12+ years
Reviewed by Dawn Meredith

In this stunning sequel to Shiver, the plot crackles, with lives shifting from human to wolf and back again.

While Sam readjusts to his future as a full-time human, Grace struggles to ignore the wild instinct inside her, growing more insistent each day. Then there’s Cole, who would rather live the uncomplicated life of a wolf than deal with the pressures of his rockstar existence. He yearns for the onset of winter, when he transforms into what he considers his better half, his true self.

All the main characters seem to be running away from something – Grace from her parents, Sam from his tragic past, where his parents tried to kill him as he transformed, Cole from his wild, soulless existence as lead singer of Narkotika and Isobel from her grief at the loss of her brother.

Again, parents have hardly any role or input and seem rather superfluous, with the exception of Grace’s father, who roars into life in the latter part of the book when he discovers his ‘perfect’ daughter has been ‘corrupted’ by Sam. Perhaps this is a reflection of how teens see their parents, in which case Stiefvater has it down pat.

The reader’s sympathies are deftly held with Sam and Grace throughout as we follow their mismatched destinies. There is a sense of growing doom that the roles will be reversed and that it is Grace who will answer the call of the wild, so it is no surprise that at the point of bleeding to death, she is saved by the unworthy Cole, who exonerates his selfishness by helping her to transform before her life slips away completely.

It is an interesting book. Characters you care about, and believe in, struggle with their own reality. Somehow Stiefvater weaves truisms of life into this story, which adults can relate to. Sam and Grace have a maturity uncommon to the teens we are shown in movies and TV. They have an urgency to cling to every tiny moment of their life together; every movement, every sound, every chaste kiss, every cuddle. Although their celibacy seems unlikely, I buy into it. I want to. There is an innocence that lies neatly beside the exploration of the link between the softness and emotionality of human existence and the raw, instinctive wolf social order. Stiefvater concludes we are not dissimilar to these primeval hunters – loyal to the pack, linked in non-verbal communication. It’s as though they are our distant cousins, who have retained the essence of the clan fastness we once had. Linger encourages us to find our better selves by learning from the snow white wolf with amber eyes, watching from the edge of the woods.

I look forward to seeing how Stiefvater handles the storyline she has created when the third book is released.

Dawn Meredith writes from the Blue Mountains NSW. You can see photos of her recent writing workshops for kids here: www.dawnmeredithauthor.blogspot.com  


  1. I love that cover! The storyline sounds a good one. Thanks for sharing.

    Nissi Peters

  2. Hi Glynis,

    Shiver and Linger have both had rave reviews and are super popular.



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