Linger is the second book in the series following Shiver, which I haven’t had the chance to read yet. The story follows a group of four teens whose lives are changed and shaped by their connection to a local werewolf pack. I wondered if this would be another YA book about love struck supernatural teens. Although the pages contain plenty of angst, I found the story touching on many levels.
I don’t want to spoil anything for a reader, but I will tell you what I felt both as a person who loves the genre and as a mom.
First, as a mom, I wanted to scream and cry many times. All four main characters deal with deep family issues—three of them with parents I wanted to slap upside the head. One set of parents have no room in their life for a child and act as though their only role in parenting is to throw down an occasional rule. Another set of absentee parents are so caught up in their narcissistic lives that they have no emotion to spare their child. And that is only the beginning.
The book strengthened my desire to remain close to my daughters and to make certain I don’t pursue my own goals at the expense of those I love. Children need their parents no matter what age they are. Perhaps many teens who feel isolated from their parents will connect to these characters.
I did not like that two of the characters were so desperately in love that they spent every night in each other’s arms. I must point out that I didn’t mind the intense depiction of first love—it can feel that way. While I sympathized with both characters’ need for each other’s comforting presence and appreciated the lack of overt sexual scenes between the two, I still don’t want a boy sneaking in my house to spoon with my daughter all night, nor do I want her to read about such things in a book and think, “Hey, what a great idea.”
There were a few almost-steamy scenes between two other characters. I appreciated the choices one of those characters made when faced with the temptation to give into desire, and I agreed with his reasoning. But I still imagined my daughter missing the reasons to abstain and thinking, “Hmm, that sounds like a good idea to me.” (And to be honest, I didn’t like the idea of my tween/preteen/early teen daughter reading something that depicted desire quite that well.) That being said, I think the dialog and thoughts in those few scenes would make a nice stepping stone for an open discussion.
I remember a few curse words, but nothing more than most PG movies include. Overall, I would give it a PG-13 rating for sexuality and some slightly gruesome scenes that involve blood and tragic actions by mislead characters. I read the bulk of the book in a few hours, so it kept me engaged. I felt emotional ties to the characters and enjoyed Stiefvater’s writing style. And I’m still mad at several of the secondary characters. I mean, really. I’m sad to think that there are real people like that. But there are.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.