Forever is the last installment in Maggie Stiefvater’s The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. When I heard Scholastic had copies at Book Expo America, I literally screamed with happiness. I got ahold of a copy at the show and kept it as a treasure. But I didn’t read it. Why? I was scared. So I let the book run free to all my friends, until Ellen, my editor from Figment, sent me her copy. So…ta-da! Here is your July review from Kay!
We all know that with Maggie’s books there comes a feeling of angst married with the joy of reading. You get both or nothing. And believe me, you get a truckload of teenage angst delivered right to your front door with Forever.
But seriously, Forever was the book of patience; the book where characters fight their own ghosts. Cole faces his desire to disappear from the face of the earth, Sam confronts his need to stay Sam, Grace struggles to embrace herself openly for the first time no matter what, and Isabel finally stands up for something other than new shoes.
In this book, you get to live Grace’s first spring as a wolf, Sam’s first spring as Sam, Cole’s first spring as a decent human being, and Isabel’s first spring caring about someone other than herself.
Forever begins after a girl’s body shows up mutilated by wolves in the middle of the woods. Isabel’s dad, that dear, stubborn Culpepper, plans to bring the big guns into the woods to take care of the wolf problem once and for all.
Get the big picture? I’m talking about helicopters, guns pointed, and bullets shooting cold-blooded straight into the characters you’ve learned to love over the last 2 years.
So Cole’s evil genius plays a big role in this game. His goal? Be darn awesome. Specifically, try to reverse-engineer the mix that’s allowed Sam to stay Sam. He’s trying to find an actual cure for “wolfism”, experimenting on his body over and over again. But that isn’t enough; the hunt date is coming, so Cole, Sam, Grace, and Isabel need come up with a plan, take action, and learn to trust the unknown. Fast.
Forever is the book of longing, waiting, more longing, and more waiting. You have the chance to be behind the scenes of what makes the characters be the way they are. You wait and hope for Grace to become Grace again. Wait for Sam to take action, wait for Cole to not kill himself doing something stupid, and wait for Isabel to not swear and be helpful for the first time in her life. You read and wait, read and wait—but the wait is well worth it.
Within the book, there are these three brilliant scenes that broke me in half and that I will treasure until the end of my days. Key words are: “If I loved you,” “Dress,” and “Shower.” That’s all I’m saying. These 3 scenes…They made me stare blankly for hours. They were like a good chocolate truffle. So well written, soulful, and worming their way underneath my skin to stay.
I loved every little step of the way. Does it feel slow? Yes, but in a way that builds the feelings of longing,of having no time left, of despair at being at someone else’s mercy.
Now about the ending. When I finished reading, my first instinct was to ask, “Where are the last 15 pages of this book?” I’m still thinking about that today; drawing conclusions in my head of what could have happened. Yes, Forever is one of those books you might want to discuss with people. I have this bittersweet taste in my mouth about how the series ends.
Have you guys read The Time Traveler’s Wife? You know that warm, fuzzy feeling; not quite happy, but with hope? That’s how I feel about the ending of Forever. There’s hope. Just enough hope to close the series, yet not enough to make a happy ending for everyone. Which is perfect, because ladies and gents… I don’t know if you knew this, but life isn’t fair.
Maggie knows what she’s doing;, she knows what she wants her readers to feel and works backwards from there, at least that’s my theory.
I highly recommend that everyone get a hold of Forever. Read it to know what I’m talking about and post comments below when you are ready! We would love to hear what you think!
Kay Fraser is a book designer from Buenos Aires, Argentina, residing in Minneapolis. Her dark secret? She is bilingual. When she’s not designing, reading, writing, over-drinking coffee, or chasing around her two little monsters, she’s on Twitter at @kaymfraser or blogging at designcomma.com.