Author: Maggie Stiefvater
No. of Pages: 392
First Released: 2009
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “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.”
Comments and Critique: I have been trying my hardest to branch out from my beloved vampires to other monster novels. I tackled the Fae in Wicked Lovely and went toe-to-toe with zombies in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It was only a matter of time before I read a book about werewolves. Shiver was definitely the right choice.
What to say that hasn’t already been said about this book? Sam and Grace have a poignancy to their relationship that I have not necessarily found in other star-crossed lovers novels. The fact that part of the story was told from Sam’s point of view definitely helped create this feeling, as the reader could see their connection through his eyes. The fact that Sam is a wolf and not a werewolf was intriguing and also made a statement about their relationship. Wolves are beautiful, dangerous, and heartbreaking in with their howls. The same beauty, danger, and pathos crept into Grace and Sam’s relationship. The fact that the wolves eventually lose their humanity was depressing enough to leave the reader anxious to find out whether Grace and Sam would ever get a happy ending. It is a combination that works very well together.
As much as I enjoyed the novel, and I really did enjoy it, there were a few issues I had with Shiver. The first one is the lack of adult supervision. Why do most YA novels have a conspicuous lack of parents or show the kids taking care of the parents rather than the other way around? Is this truly a reflection of society or is there another reason? Would the story change dramatically if the parents were actually around? Am I just antiquated in my thought process?
Also, I cannot help but compare Shiver to Twilight. You know I have to do so. The similarities are there, besides the obvious fact that they both involve wolves and not the more traditional werewolves that are part man, part wolf. Sam and Grace spend an inordinate amount of time in her bedroom being chaste. A lot of the dialogue also happens in Grace’s car. There is also the constant threat of danger that comes with Sam’s nature. For those who have read Twilight, does the silver Volvo or old truck sound familiar? How about the fact that Edward and Bella spend most of their time in her bedroom at night? I’m not saying that there is an exact match but enough similarities that I could not ignore.
However, that did not stop me from loving Shiver. I adore the fact that both Grace and Sam are huge readers, and that Sam worked in a bookstore. There is something so endearing about characters who love to read as much as I do, that I cannot help but fall a bit in love with them for that. Ms. Stiefvater has done an amazing job creating characters that are tremendously life-like and a story that begs constant reading. The ending came as a complete surprise to me, as I honestly thought she was heading in another direction with the storyline. I love with books can knock me flat with surprise like that. Shiver definitely accomplished that and left me wanting more. Thankfully, every day brings me closer to the Linger release date!
This book counts towards the Buy 1 and Read 1 Book Challenge. As you might expect with that particular challenge title, I purchased it with my own money (and I can’t wait to do the same for the sequel).