Maggie Stiefvater is back with a sequel to last year's Shiver. No spoilers as the book isn't even out in the stores yet but I will tell you that this story is different from the last one. It doesn't have the quietness and the feeling of going with the flow and just being happy in the moment. It has the feeling of anticipation coursing all through it, anticipation of something you don't particularly look forward to but that is going to happen regardless because that's how life is, things happen. It also sets the scene for mystery, so I'm betting your gray cells will get a workout trying to answer all the why's before the last installment is on the shelves.
The characters have more depth to them, they aren't children any more, even if they were already 17-going-on-30. They're young adults making their decisions and choosing their path, even if they have to face the fact that they may be burning bridges in the process. The secondary characters are also multi-dimensional and interesting and they make the reader care about them. They also provide a nice contrasting backdrop for the leads.
What puts these books on my list of favorites is that so much of the story is real, the people, the situations, the consequences. If everything worked out perfectly for everyone all the time it would've been fake and Maggie doesn't write fake. What Maggie does write is real people living real lives with all their beauty and all their ugliness and she's not afraid to put it all out there. Writers who are afraid write rubbish and this is not rubbish, very far from it.
This is the kind of book I'm glad is out there for the young readers. They'll have a chance to read about real tenderness and caring and appreciation and devotion and relationships that aren't flashy and won't end up on the front pages of the social gossip columns or on TV but will make all the difference in the world in the lives of two people.
A word of caution - you will laugh some and you will cry some, so get the tissues ready.