Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FOREVER by Maggie Stiefvater Review

Title: FOREVER (Wolves of Mercy Falls #3)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Number of Pages:
Source of Book: Bought the trilogy hardcover boxset when it came out (for going to author signing!)
Author's Website: http://m-stiefvater.livejournal.com/

Goodreads Summary:
The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater
then.
When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.
now.
That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.
forever.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

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First I have to talk about the whole series, as I reread the first two books right before starting FOREVER. I fell in love with Maggie Stiefvater's writing when I read SHIVER, the first book in the trilogy. It was the first book of hers that I read, and I got it because I had received an ARC of LINGER, the second book in the series, at the ALAN Workshop 2009 and it sounded so good that I had to get SHIVER. Of course, the fact that I had heard Maggie speak at the conference, and her personality engaged and entertained me from the start, helped me realize that I needed to read her writing. As soon as I read it, I knew I loved it - and promoted it to all of my students as better than Twilight (and for 8th grade girls, that was a big deal!)

The things that I loved most about the start of the series was the unique mythology of the wolves, the plotting of the building tension of the book, and the beautifully lyrical way in which Maggie writes - along with the sweet honesty of the love between Grace and Sam. However, I've now waited a long time for FOREVER because I read both of the first two in the series back in November 2009! (I did bide my time by reading LAMENT and BALLAD, her faerie books, which are also good,) I was even more thrilled about getting FOREVER when I found out that Maggie was doing her road trip book tour, and one of the stops was in Madison, WI. Definitely worth the hour-and-a-half drive to go see one of my favorite (and one of the most entertaining) young adult authors!!! Since my books had been read so many times by my students, they were starting to fall apart, so I had to buy myself a new set to get signed so I could keep a nice set for myself of the signed ones (and because the art of the covers is so beautiful!).

So...enough about my journey to FOREVER, and on to my thoughts about the book (which will be a little bit shorter than normal because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone!):
I feel as if this is a bittersweet review for me because I've so loved living in the world of The Wolves of Mercy Falls, so I'm sad to leave them, but I feel good about where things were left in the end. However, I do have to say, the end of the book is a little open-ended. Things are all wrapped up, but it's not necessarily a happy ending for all, nor is their entire future certain. The overwhelming feeling I had at the end of this final book was one of peace with each main character's place in the world and satisfaction with the choices they had made to get to where they were. And hope for their futures. There was a sense of each character knowing themselves better by the end - who they wanted to be and who they really were and how they could be happy.

There were twists in this book and with certain characters who acted differently than expected, but in a good way. It's ultimately a love story - a sweet, tragic, complicated, deep, meant-to-be love between Sam and Grace. It's a love between Sam and his adoptive father Beck. It's a love between Cole and his bandmates. It's about these characters fighting for their loved ones and struggling to find a way out of the mess that is the wolf hunt, in order to save those they love - all written in Maggie's beautiful, lyrical writing. There is a subtleness to the story, in the everyday descriptions and events taking place within the bigger context of the plot. There is also a ticking clock in the back of the reader's mind as the hunt gets closer. I have to say that I think Cole is one of my favorite characters, mostly in his interactions with Isabel, but also for the journey he makes to become the person he is at the end. There is a sense of redemption to this story for all of the characters as they face up to their mistakes in the past and figure out a way to face the future head on. The plot keeps moving and kept me turning pages. When I saw Maggie at her signing she said that she started writing in order to make her reader's cry, and you might just shed a few tears over certain characters, and the ending of this beautiful series. If you haven't read any of it yet, go get the books now, and if you haven't read this final one, do so soon!

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