Forever - Maggie Stiefvater:
In Shiver, Grace fell in love with a boy with golden eyes, who was a wolf in winter. The book ended with his cure. In Linger, the werewolf virus that had lain dormant in Grace for so many years kicked into life, and we were left staring after her as she shifted and ran off into the night.
Now Grace and her friend Olivia are, for all intents and purposes, missing. Sam, Cole and Isabel know the truth, but who else would believe it? And when Olivia turns up dead, Isabel's father Tom Culpeper makes plans for the extermination of the Mercy Falls wolves. Even when Grace is in her human form, she can't go home, so this book is much more pack-based than its predecessors. I had a sense of the loneliness of living a life that no one else can be told about. Grace can't even let her friends and family know she's alive, and it seems like survival must be impossible. If Tom Culpeper and his cronies killed her while she was in wolf form, her disappearance would never be explained. Sam, Grace and Cole are faced with the near impossible task of moving the wolves out of the woods to a safe place.
This volume is more of a werewolf race-against-time than the love story of the previous two volumes, and I kept turning the pages with a desperation for everything to turn out all right, but a dread of the more likely outcome. Forever is a beautiful end to a simple but exceptional story.
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson
I bought this book after having seen a lot of reviews on other people's blogs, and, I confess, because it has a pretty cover. After her father's death, Amy Curry is charged with bringing the family car from California to their new home in Connecticut, but she won't drive any more. Enter Roger, an old family friend, and the pair decide to make a proper road trip of the journey, taking the scenic route.
I found the plot of Amy and Roger to be fairly standard for a real-issues teenage novel. I'd read too many books with the main character dealing with bereavement and family upheaval (Fixing Delilah, The Sky Is Everywhere, Tiger Eyes, Hold Still, The Truth About Forever to name but a few) for this to really stand out as a story. It was the travel that made this book different. I loved reading about the different places Amy and Roger visited: Yosemite National Park, America's Loneliest Highway, Graceland, Utah and there was a scrapbook effect with photos, ticket stubs, receipts and iPod playlists, which added to the feeling of being a passenger in the car. Along the way, Amy and Roger meet up with some lovely supporting characters, who open their homes and hearts to strangers. When Amy visited Graceland, a trip she'd always been meaning to take with her Elvis-mad father, I found myself close to tears and realised this story had drawn me deeper in than I'd previously thought.