Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Synopsis

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication: August 2009
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance, Shifter
Personally purchased title
Locate: amazon | b&n | worldcat
Rated: ★★★

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I started reading Shiver while in the middle of a book lull. Unable to finish any of the books I was/am currently stuck in, I needed a palate cleanser that would be light and breezy and would actually get me from start to finish. Having heard great things about Maggie Stiefvater (though most of it is in relation to her Raven Cycle series), I chose Shiver and am so glad I did! I was easily engaged with the material and found myself turning everything except the Kindle off so I could read distraction free. A day and a half later, book done.

Now, most readers might be thinking Shiver is just another Twilight copycat, swapping vampires for werewolves, and they’re right in a sense. Shiver does have the same star-crossed lovers type format with a teen girl protagonist, a brooding paranormal boy, and oblivious, uninvolved parents. The major difference, however, is that Grace embodies what Bella should have been. Grace is a girl who is easily relatable and independent. She is a quick thinker, able to react logically and calmly in intense life-or-death situations. Grace isn’t the most popular girl in school, nor is she an outcast. She is someone that most teen girls can identify with in a positive manner.

One of the biggest positives that sets Shiver apart from other popular YA novels, is the way it deals with sex. Twilight was all about sex after marriage. Mortal Instruments took six books before Jace and Clary had sex. Harry Potter never really addressed sex at all. Shiver, on the other hand, went there halfway through the book. It isn’t made to be a huge thing. It isn’t made to be shameful or a reward for dealing with substantial troubles and drama. It’s shown as something that just happens when you’re in love. Life continued on. This is an amazing thing to see in a book targeted at a teen audience. Yes, sex can be special and should be done only when both partners feel comfortable and ready, but Shiver shows that it won’t break the world. Grace is still Grace, Sam still Sam. Her friends and family treat her the same way and whatever problems they had before are still there. This is something so refreshing in a genre that is so bogged down by lectures on abstinence and the dangers of premarital sex.

The story itself was predictable, but entertaining. The mythology behind the werewolves is limited, and I would love to see if the following book goes further into it their origins. The twist on werewolves being dependent on the temperature rather than moon cycles is interesting, and works better within the context of Shiver as the shifters are more like regular wolves rather than a new, hybrid species that is stronger or larger. Secondary characters could use some fleshing out as they were relatively flat. This, however, is understandable as we barely saw them. Most of the story was the two character tale of Grace and Sam.

Having only read the first book, I’m giving it a hesitant four stars, waiting to see if the second book will continue to flesh out the small glimpse we saw in Shiver. I will, however, definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a light, fun book. If you take it at face value as a breezy, superficial read, you’ll surely enjoy it.

Quotes & Excerpts

I was wild and tame and pulled into shreds and crushed into being all at once. For once in my human life, my mind didn’t wander to compose a song lyrics or store the moment for later reflection. For once in my life, I was here and nowhere else.
-Chapter Sixteen – Sam 42°F

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About Lulu

Thirty-something year old educator based in New York, Lulu loves books, blogging, gaming, and the three cats with whom she shares her life. Book reviews specialize in all kinds of fantasy, some YA, some romance, and some contemporary, especially in the gothic genre.