Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is one of those books that I just had to read because it seemed like everyone was talking about it. Plus it had a really pretty cover. Put those two things together and I am sold. 

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Year Published: 2009
Publisher: Scholastic
Rating: 3/5

When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace's small town becomes a place of fear and suspicion. But Grace can't help being fascinated by the pack, and by one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. There is something about him - something almost human.

Then she meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away...

Grace is a 17-year-old bookworm who loves nothing more than spending time in the woods behind her home. She loves everything about the woods... the cold, the smells, the animals. She even loves the wolves despite the fact that she was attacked by them when she was a child. Well, there is one wolf she loves. A wolf with yellow-eyes who often silently watches her from a distance.

Then Grace meets Sam. A beautiful musician who she feels she has known all her life. They also have something in common. They were both attacked by wolves as children. The only difference is, Sam is now a werewolf, yet Grace is not. 

As Grace and Sam's romance unfolds, so does truth. The truth about how Sam became a wolf, the truth about what happened to the local boy who was attacked by the wolves and the heartbreaking truth about the fragility of Sam's human life. 

To be honest, I didn't love this book. The story was interesting enough and I liked how Stiefvater reworked the werewolf myth so that temperature determined when a wolf would change into a human and vice-versa. But overall, I didn't find the story gripping. I was quite happy to put the book down while I was reading it, where as to me, a really good book should be hard to put down. 

I liked Sam, I thought he was a lovely character and Stiefvater really brought him to life as we explored his background. Grace however, I couldn't warm to. I felt she was lacking. I am sure I am not going to win fans with that comment but I really felt that she was void in personality. It was like Sam was her whole world and that was all. As much as I like a good love story every now and again, I can't stand one that reeks of dependence. I am probably being a little harsh as we are all dependent on those we love, but the whole "I can't live, breathe, speak, be without you" is very Twilightesque and very unhealthy. Not a great message to send to teenagers.

Personally, I preferred some of the minor characters. I felt Beck was a great character who I really warmed to. Olivia was also pretty well written. Rachel however, ARRGG. Why did a character who shares my totally awesome name have to be vapid and bouncy? 

Stiefvater's prose was easy to read. The chapters were broken up into either a Grace chapter, or a Sam chapter and we got to see things from their point of view. I liked this technique. It made the story quick to read. 

I wasn't a big fan of Sam and his song lyrics though. They are song lyrics written by an 18-year-old boy and to me, they sounded like song lyrics written by an 18-year-old boy. Yes, I am getting old.

One thing I did like though, was the literary references. I am a BIG fan of literary references in novels. In this case we had a variety of novel references and some poetry by Rilke. If anything, at least Stiefvater is educating her teen readers on good literature. Hopefully this will inspire some people to go to their library and check out some new books. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable story but I feel it is a young adult book that really does suit young adults. Don't get me wrong, I love a good YA read every now and again, but this one didn't grab me like The Hunger Games or Graceling

Despite that, I am pretty sure I  will read Linger because as much as I didn't really "connect" with this novel, it ended in such a way that made me want to know what happens next. Stiefvater really has her endings right.
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