The second book in the Mercy Falls trilogy is nearly as moving as the first.

The second book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series begins as Sam remains a human enjoying his time with Grace as much as he can. In Linger, we hear much more often from Sam than Grace, as well as from Isabel and a newcomer, Cole, who turns out to not only be one of the wolves Beck had changed in book one, Shiver—but he’s not without his problems.

Grace’s “missing” friend who is really a turned wolf, managing the new wolves Beck infected—including two rock stars—and dealing with Grace’s dubious parents are all on Sam’s plate this year, as is the fact that brilliant Grace is ready for college while he is still getting used to the idea of living as a human for the rest of his life.

Another contention to deal with in this book is Isabel’s father, who wants to kill as many of the wolves as possible after the death of his son. But the main issue in the book is really Grace’s mysterious illness, which is burning her up and eventually bleeding her out.The book is still quite moving and well written, and there are still lots of mystery, romance, and a bit of horror to keep fans entertained. But I was disappointed with the level of romance here. The tenderness between Sam—whom, I still believe, might be based on Supernatural’s Sam Winchester due to his soulfulness and gorgeousness—and Grace still remains, but Sam just doesn’t seem as worried about Grace as he should be. You won’t find the horrible mental and physical abuse you’ll unfortunately find in so many other YA romances these days, thank God, but Sam’s avoidance of that—plus his reluctance to be responsible for the new wolves—made me think a little less of him. It just seemed out of character, even though I know he was doing some self-preservation as well as wanting to wish both away.

In the end, there is a big twist that leads into the third book, which I’m now reading. So far it’s very intriguing, and the tone remains constant as ever—poetic and dreamlike without being too far out of reality, with plenty of realism and real issues woven in. Once I’m finished with this series, I plan on reading everything by this writer’s gorgeous voice, and I would recommend all that I’ve read so far to anyone interested in lovely writing and supernatural, yet natural prose.