Forever

cover art of forever*I purchased Foreverby Maggie Stiefvater from Bookingham Palace in Salmon Arm

I think the truest testament to how engrossed I was in this novel is that I didn’t notice the text was in red ink until about halfway through. When I’m really into a story I forget about the physical object in my hand and the individual words and it all just flows like a movie in my mind, only more intimate, like I’m experiencing it. This is how Forever felt for me, although I have to say after a few hours that red text hurt my eyes.

When I reviewed Linger (the 2nd installment in the trilogy) I expressed some disappointment with how the series was progressing but Stiefvater made up for that disappointment by coming through with a fantastic finish.

“I was a radio tuned to all stations at the same time, so many thoughts inside me that none of them counted” (107)

The characters were incredibly relatable, with genuine reactions to the events in their lives, and distinct voices as the narrative shifted. I never had trouble telling who the narrator of a particular chapter was even though it jumps around and I tend to skip over the name above the chapter when I’m really into the action.

I’d always had trouble with Grace, relating more to Sam but I think Grace’s character development blossomed as she struggled with her new identity in this novel.

It’s funny that Cole and Isabel’s relationship began as purely sexual attraction, and Sam and Grace shared a bed for months without going there, but their sexual chemistry was far more compelling.

“She fisted a handful of my T-shirt; the action woke me up instantly and guiltily made me think of at least four things that were not bedtime stories or selfless ways to comfort a grieving girl” (185)

The tension in Sam’s point of view when he’s having feelings for her despite the horrible circumstances and feeling guilty that when they are in danger he’s distracted by how close he is to touching her was really well written. There’s a section where he’s fantasizing about the life he wishes he could have with her, and I loved the first half where he was imagining her studying next to him as he reads, and the simple joy he gets from being in a room for her.

There was quite a bit of action in the novel, with people being torn apart by wolves and the big hunt looming made it suspenseful, however my favourite parts were the introspective moments. Each of the characters struggles with being defined by their history, there is a beautiful balance of their personalities being shaped by their upbringing, and defying what’s done to them. Sam is suspected of being a terrible person because of how he was abused. Someone asks how he could be anything but a monster having been treated as he was by his biological parents, and he wonders himself if Beck has raised him to be monstrous. Grace’s neglectful parents have instilled in her a sense of independence. Cole’s drug abuse and suicidal tendencies and Isabel’s confrontational, cold nature are equally explored.

Being a bookworm myself I enjoyed the various take’s on Beck’s library. All of the narrators view it differently but I prefered Grace’s interpretation.

“a cave of words that I’d made myself” (170)

If you haven’t read this series or if you’ve only read the first installment, I’d say Forever makes it worth the read.I doubt the movie will do it justice.

 

 

 

 

 

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End of 2010 Survey!

The Perpetual Page Turner is hosting this survey. Go to her blog to link to the responses by tons of bloggers.

White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)1. Best book of 2010? This is hard! Since there are so many great books I’m going to interpret this as: best YA book published in 2010 to narrow it down. Holly Black’s White Cat was pretty incredible. It has action, mystery and suspense, not to mention character depth and all around awesomeness. I’m picking this book because it’s not just something I loved myself, it’s one that I confidently recommended to my younger brother, my mother and my friends. It is very rare that I think a book would appeal to all of them but Holly Black’s writing will be appreciated by a variety of audiences.

Dateable Rules, The: A Guide to the Sexes2. Worst book of 2010? I’m not usually a book basher, but there was this really terrible book I picked up at work. Dateable Rules, The: A Guide to the Sexes was really awful. At first I thought it looked pretty cool, but um no on closer inspection it’s incredibly sexist and makes me angry. According to this book men need to “conquer” and be in power in the relationship, and women need to “learn to shut up”. The fact that I disagreed with the religious nonsense just added to my general dislike of the book.

linger cover art3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010?  I was most disappointed with Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I loved Shiver so much that I over-anticipated the sequel. It’s not that it was terrible, it just didn’t live up to the hype in my mind. I’ll still read the next book in the series but my expectations have gone down a few notches.

Generation Dead (Generation Dead, #1)4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010? I was most surprised by Generation Dead. I forced myself to read a zombie book (I’m quite squeamish) because I was TRYING to have a zombie night at the library for teens (no one showed up but that’s a different story). I was pleasantly surprised by Daniel Waters! His book is a beautiful social commentary about discrimination, and I found myself loving the zombies and their friends. The book I was dreading turned out to my one of my favourites, and I’ve been recommending it a lot.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010? I have a hard time answering this because I recommend things every day, at work, to friends, on the blog…I’be probably promoted Scaredy Squirrel the most but that’s not YA. My recommendations really depend on how I’m recommending it to.

The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset
6. Best series you discovered in 2010? The Hunger Games trilogy! I can’t believe I resisted reading it for so long. Everyone kept telling me to read it and I was like “kids killing each other? Ick!”  because I thought it was just violence for violence’s sake. Once I realized that Collins is critiquing violence, reality tv, and oppressive governments, I was all in. I love dystopia and social commentary. Plus there’s tons of suspenseful action, Katniss kicks butt and Peeta is a sweetie, how could you not love the series?

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010? Suzanne Collins, Daniel Waters, Gemma Malley, Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black, Kim Harrison, Simone Elkeles….

8. Most hilarious read of 2010?  The Feegles in The Wintersmith had me laughing pretty hard.

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010?  The Hunger Games trilogy. I read it in 4 days and it would have been less if I didn’t have to wait to get the next book.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010? I think it was Linger but I mentioned earlier how that worked out.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010?


nightshade cover links to reviewRules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry, #2)Sisters Red cover art

12. Most memorable character in 2010?  I was most struck by Cassel from White Cat, Chloe from the Summoning and Haymitch from Hunger Games but so many more characters touched me this year

 13. Most beautifully written book in 2010? I love the Scottish and formal language of The Forest Laird. Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch Three Times was pretty poetic.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010? Most books have a pretty big impact on me, I don’t think I can choose.

 
15. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read?  The Hunger GamesI’ve already explained why

 Book Blogging in 2010 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010? To be honest I just started really following any blogs in 2010. Jan 2010 my friend Erin opened my eyes to book blogs and I’ve been eating them up ever since. Some of my favourites are The Green Bean Teen Queen, Forever Young Adult, The Story Siren, Pure Imagination, and YA Bliss. I’ve also been reading Mark Reads  every day and he’s a good one to follow for a specific book but he has less variety.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010?  I liked reviewing The Resistance, Generation Dead, and Sisters Red (I have a lot of trouble deciding)

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?  I wrote a post about why sometimes reading formulaic books is reassuring. I unfortunately haven’t had enough people commenting to work up a good discussion between people. It’s something I’d like to have next year.

 4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog? I really enjoy the discussions on the Forever Young Adult blog. They manage to be hilarious but bring up serious issues at the same time. For example their post about resolutions that makes some good points about changes I’d like to see in YA writing/publishing but is laugh out loud funny.

 

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? The Ontario Library Association Super Conference was amazing. It was my first conference and I was thrilled just to be on the expo floor getting autographed books, fighting stormtroopers and learning about new technology. That I got to go to informative sessions beyond that blew my mind. I can’t wait for more conferences.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2010? This is all really new to me and I’m pretty easily excited, so I have trouble picking a specific moment.

7. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Um I’m gonna go with book trailers, I don’t think I knew about them in 2009 and they are a great way to promote books. I also love my new Kobo.

Lingering feelings for Sam

I eagerly awaited getting Linger by Maggie Stiefvater from the library (there were a lot of holds) after really enjoying Shiver . I can’t say it filled the big shoes of its predecessor.

At first I found the 4 perspectives to be too much. I just wanted Sam and Grace, and Isabel and Cole were getting in the way of where I expected the story to go. As the book went on I was grateful to have Cole’s storyline happening because not enough was happening in the Sam and Grace one.

There was a section in the book where it seemed all the narrators were just saying “Grace is sick, I suspect it has to do with the wolves” in their own way, and I was getting bored with it. I felt like her illness was dragged out longer than it needed to be. To be fair I have been really sick this week and the last thing I felt like reading about was someone being sick, it only made me hyper-aware of my own problems.

Cole’s guilt about his mistakes with Victor, Isabelle’s guilt over her brother’s death and Sam’s confrontation with his past were all interesting but depressing. I was glad to see Grace finally express herself to her parents, but I don’t think she handled it very well.

The only thing that kept me really into the book was Sam, or rather the way Stiefvater writes in Sam’s POV. I love the lyrics he writes, the poetic way he speaks, and the way he somehow seems innocent and jaded at the same time. I found Grace’s chapters dry but Sam’s were so full of life that I kept reading looking forward to the snippets of lyrics. I wish the book came with a soundtrack.

Overall I was a bit disappointed, but there were parts I liked and I enjoyed the ending.

Gave me goosebumps

shiverShiver by Maggie Stiefvater was awesome. I may have been watching too much HIMYM because I say awesome a lot lately, but seriously it was a great book and here’s why:

  • It dealt with neglectful and abusive parents, doing a pretty great job at showing the child’s POV
  • The awkwardness of Grace’s evolving friendships with Olivia and Rachel was well written, touching on something a lot people face when they reach a certain age
  • The werwolf lore was different from any I am familiar with, and really interesting
  • It spoke to the nerd in me, with lines like “Books are more real when you read them outside” and fantastic descriptions of the book store and the candy shop (my 2 favourite places 😉 )
  • It was an easy read but with sophisticated language

I’m on the waiting list for Linger at the library