When we (ok, me and it was only a day ago) last were with Grace and Sam, Sam had just emerged from the woods, human, after having been injected with bacterial meningitis in hopes of killing his wolf. Although that ending was perfect for Shiver, I just knew things were going to go down hill fast in Linger.
Sam is now human. He can go out in frigid temperatures and not worry about shifting. The problem is, he's not sure if he should really believe that it's over. He's hoping, if he wishes hard enough, he'll get to keep his life as a human and stay with Grace.
Mixed in with his longing for a "normal" life are his insecurities about who he is now that he's just human. He misses his family: Beck, Ulric.
Grace also has her own set of issues. First, her parents decide that after years of neglecting her (and catching her and Sam in a compromising position) that they will start ruling with an iron fist. Their first order of business, grounding Grace from seeing Sam.
If that weren't bad enough, Grace hasn't been feeling well. She pretends it's just the flu, but deep down she knows its something more. Something that isn't going away and she's feeling worse, rather than better.
This installment in the Wolves of Mystic Falls series is about coping with change. All of the characters have an issue with dealing with it. We have the obvious with Sam and Grace, but then we have Isabel still reeling from the changes in her family and her guilt over killing her brother (or so she thinks), Cole (one of the new wolves Beck brought in) dealing with being changed into a wolf and finding he's not as good as being as wolf as the others, Grace's parents disregarding the fact that Grace has grown up and having her first meaningful relationship while they were off living their own lives, and finally the Culpeppers unable to move past the death of their son and taking it out on the only thing they blame for it...the wolves.
Linger will grip you, but not in that romantic notion of a girl and her wolf finding love as we had in Shiver. Linger will rip your heart out as we delve deeper into the psyches of the characters and the issues that plague them. When you get to that final chapter, we're left to wonder what catastrophe awaits Sam and Grace in the final installment of the series.
4 1/2 Cocktails.