Reading Linger is somewhat like playing ring-a-round the rosie. It starts quiet, with a deceptive slowness. It accelerates but not so much that you realize it right away. It hits full tilt, the circle breaks apart and you’re left watching the world spin, breathless and dizzy, wanting more.
At the end of Shiver, Sam was human. Fragile, but wonderfully, almost inexplicably human again. When Linger opens, he is still coming to understand what it is to be human all the time, to not fear the push of cold air. He’s healing, though pieces of him are still broken from the past. He finds solace in two things–his music and Grace.
Grace loves having in her life. She misses her friend Olivia, doesn’t always know how to handle icy Isabel Culpeper, and is increasingly furious with her once absentee parents. They don’t want her throwing her life away with Sam, don’t even want her near Sam. The new restrictions are suffocating her even more than the headaches that begin to frequent her days. Grace is forced away from Sam as the wolves cause problems in Mercy Falls once more. One of the new wolves Sam’s adopted father brought in toward the end of Shiver is turning human again far before any of the others. Another of the new wolves cannot keep himself human. Isabel’s father has not forgotten what happened to his son. Danger is closing in again.
Told in four perspectives, Linger is a fascinating revelation of Grace, Sam, Isabel and Cole’s souls. Their troubles, their triumphs, their fragility are unveiled in a tender, lyrical honesty that holds no punches. They all undergo transformation, and I’m not talking solely about the physical sort seen in the wolves. What they appear to be on the surface is different than what lies beneath. The only regret I felt at the close of Linger was that I now have to wait a long time for the conclusion in Forever.