Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press
Ever since her brother Jack was presumed to be killed by them, Isabel Culpepper’s father has had it in for the wolves of Mercy Falls. Of course Isabel knows that the wolves aren’t really wolves at all, but humans who spend time in wolf form, and that they didn’t kill Jack so much as turn him. Luckily Sam is human again these days, as is Cole most of the time, but Grace is finally turning, and has been a wolf all winter. Frankly, Sam has enough to worry about as a suspect in Grace’s disappearance, without worrying about Mr. Culpepper getting together a hunt and directly threatening her life, and the life of the rest of the pack.
There are some really interesting threads of story going on in Forever, particularly in Cole’s development. He is a much more multifaceted character than he was in Linger, especially as he begins to care for Grace and Sam – or at least for what they have together. By this point, Cole and Isabel really get to tell a great amount of the story, especially with Grace spending so much of her time as a wolf.
I think it was the fact that Grace was narrating out of a wolf’s brain so often that made me less enthused about Forever than about Shiver and Linger. Of course I love Sam, how could anyone not? And Isabel and Cole are certainly fascinating and relatively well-developed secondary characters, but it seems that Grace is the anchor of the series for me. With her a relatively small part of the book, narration-wise, I had much less emotional investment in this portion of the story. Luckily it was still strongly-written with an engaging plot, but it just didn’t do quite as much for me as the first three.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the third book in the series, I do recommend the Wolves of Mercy Falls series as a whole. Although secrets are kept and parents defied, the relationship between Grace and Sam is built on familiarity, respect, and affection, and it is much more romantic than certain relationships between certain klutzy girls and sparkly vampires, and much more the type of relationship I would like to read about myself and share with teens
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