2010 YALRC, Book 2 – Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver

I read the description of this book and immediately decided that it sounded like what would’ve happened in Twilight if Jacob had won. Boy, was I wrong. And that’s not a bad thing.

Shiver is the story of Grace and Sam, a girl and her wolf. Sam spends every summer human, but, due to being attacked by a werewolf as a child, changes forms into a wolf at the first hint of winter. He lives in a forest that backs up to Grace’s house, and has kept watch over her for several years while in his wolf form. Sam and Grace never really manage to connect during his human moments, but are finally introduced when he is injured during a wolf hunt following an attack on a local boy. They fall in love (of course) and spend the waning days he has left in his human form trying to solve his wolfy problem before he changes into a wolf for good.

First of all, this was a very beautifully written book. As I mentioned earlier, I originally thought I’d see a lot of parallels between it and Twilight (normal girl falls in love with a supernatural creature, etc.), but the book it more reminded me of was The Time Traveler’s Wife. Without all of the explicit sex and stuff. I’m not normally one to tear up during a book (JK Rowling is, to this day, the only person to make me bawl during a book), but I did sniff once or twice at the end, so it’s safe to say that Stiefvater is very good at evoking an emotional response. So, I enjoyed it for that reason.

The only real issue I had with the book was how adults are portrayed in it. Grace’s parents are emotionally absent, and often physically absent as well (hence Grace’s ease in hiding a boy in her room in an attempt to keep him warm so he doesn’t turn into a wolf and all). There’s really only one strong parent character in the book, and that’s Beck, Sam’s father figure in his pack. In general, adults are portrayed as flighty, weak-minded, superstitious, or just plain absent. But, in the end, that’s really the only glaring problem I had with the book.

I would recommend this book for the older YA reader (15 and up). There are some fairly intense moments between Grace and Sam that probably would not be appropriate for the younger reader. There is also some disturbing imagery regarding Sam’s parents and his past that would probably frighten younger readers. Otherwise, it is a beautiful story, and I am looking forward to its sequel, Linger, when it comes out later this year.


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