Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary: 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.
Release Date: Aug 1 2009
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Where to Buy: Amazon . Barnes and Noble . ScholasticTeen
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Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.
I loved Shiver. It was beautifully written. I am a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read of hers. However, I avoided Shiver because of the mixed reviews I heard about it. Finally, I decided to read it and I’m really glad I did because it was so much better than I expected.
Shiver was written so beautifully. It was a slower paced, descriptive novel, which I enjoyed. I felt like I really connected with Grace, the main character. She was independent, curious, organized, and also a little alone. Her family was very self obsessed, focusing more on their careers and social life, leaving Grace to fend for herself often. Grace’s curiosity about the wolves, especially one she vaguely remembered from her attack as a child, seemed a bit weird at first, but not in an unbelievable way. I was drawn to the story in Shiver. I couldn’t help it because of the way the author writes and the way she creates a sort of magic between the characters, the setting, and emotions.
The thing about Shiver is that I’m so in love with the writing and the connection between Grace and Sam. It is beyond what I expected. Which is weird because the plot didn’t ever really grip me and that’s probably why I put off reading it for so long. When I hear people talk about Shiver, especially those who didn’t like it, it sounds horrible. A girl who fell in love with a wolf before she knew he was actually a person? That’s so weird. Absentee YA parents? Aggravating! Another introverted quiet girl? Boring! But for all of the things that make Shiver a run of the mill YA paranormal story, there are twice as many things that make it different, unique, and not at all annoying.
Honestly, I think the only bad thing Shiver had going for it was the timing. It was released post-Twilight at a time when people were either craving more of the same or scoffing at the idea that a YA romance should even be a thing. The scathing reviews I see for Shiver are typically written during that awkward post-Twilight time period that I think was really hard for many YA authors. People either hated it because it was too much like Twilight or not enough like Twilight and I think that’s a real shame.
I liked Shiver because it was elegant and gripping. I cared about the characters in ways that I think sometimes only Maggie Stiefvater can make me care. I rooted for them. I understood Grace and her parents and the way her circumstances shaped her. I understood her curiosity for the wolves and I even understood how she felt protective over the wolf before she ever knew he was more than a wolf.
I think it’s been long enough after Twilight that YA authors and novels don’t have to be compared to it. I think YA has come into itself and if ever there was a time to pick up Shiver, it’s now when you can fully appreciate it without silly expectations and comparisons. If you are a fan of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing, I don’t see how Shiver will be a disappointment, even if wolves aren’t your thing.
A Note About The Negative Reviews: Some of the reviews that aren’t positive mentioned that the author’s prose was too much, the characters were too mature, Sam was too poetic for a teenager to be, and Grace was a terrible friend because of how she let Sam take precedence over her previous friends. I only mention these because I couldn’t disagree more. When I was a teenager, I loved the sort of style that Stiefvater used in this novel. All of the books I read over and over again were similar in tone. I connected to characters like Grace. I was poetic like Sam (and so were guys I went to school with, so the idea that guys can’t be poetic just infuriates me. While I’ve never been romantically drawn to these types of guys, to assume they don’t exist and having characters like that is unrealistic is ridiculous). I hate the idea that YA novels are judged half the time for having characters who are too mature and then half the time for having characters who are too immature. I think people ought to remember that, while teens tend to have similar characteristics, they are quite different from one another, too. Not only would Shiver have been probably one of my favorite books as a teen, but I think in many ways Sam and Grace were like me. And I felt like Grace’s friends took her for granted some of the time and didn’t always let her be fully herself and Sam did. And we should all remember how often we let new people who we connected with more have the front seat in our lives as teenagers, leaving some of our old friends in the back, forgotten. None of this things seem unrealistic to me at all.
Sometimes I feel like people read YA even though they are too closed minded and they stick too much to their own preconceived notions of what teenagers feel/want/need/like/should be to really enjoy it.
I highly recommend Shiver. It’s a great book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
Labels: paranormal romance, Review, YA