Author: Magive Stiefvater
Release Date: August 1, 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Teen/YA, Fantasy
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Grace has a special connection to the wolves that live in the woods outside her house. When she was a child, she was attacked by them and dragged into the woods, but one wolf in particular saved her, a wolf with yellow eyes. Ever since then, she’s been mildly obsessed with the wolves, especially with that one particular wolf. When a classmate of Grace’s is killed by the wolves, the people in the town start turning against them. But Grace begins to realize that the wolves hold a dangerous secret, one that only she knows.
I’ve been going back and forth on whether to read Shiver. I heard a lot of great things about it, so I picked it up with the intention of reading it quickly. But then I started to hear some stranger things about it – namely, that the main character fell in love with the wolf before she realized he was actually a werewolf. That definitely put me off the book. But then Shiver made a lot of the Best of 2009 lists, so I decided I wanted to go ahead and give it a try to see what all the fuss was about.
I liked Shiver. I thought it was creative and engaging, though I didn’t love it. It took me a very long time to get into. However, I didn’t find the premise of Grace being obsessed with the yellow-eyed wolf before she realizes he’s also a boy strange because of her connection to the wolves. It’s explained more in the book, but she really doesn’t fall in love or lust with a wolf.
I appreciated that Maggie Stiefvater chose to tell the story from both Maggie and Sam’s (the werewolf boy) points of view. It gives the reader a lot of insight into Sam’s world and helps the reader understand his choices and decisions.
However, I also had some problems with Shiver. First, Grace’s parents are pretty ridiculously absent. They’re present in the book, but they don’t really notice what’s going on. Stiefvater explains that by saying they’re in their own world, but it was on a level that was hard to excuse. Also, Sam and Grace move incredibly fast in their relationship. I understand they have had a connection for years, but it was still a little surprising. Finally, the character of Shelby seemed to be a dropped plotline – there was a lot of potential for a story there, but Stiefvater didn’t really pursue it.
Despite these flaws, I’m glad I read Shiver. It was nice to see what all the hype was about, even if I didn’t quite agree with it. If you’re really interested in paranormal YA, this is probably a good book for you to pick up.