review: shiver by maggie stiefvater

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: 08/01/2009
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 392
Source: Purchased

the cold. 
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

Before I talk about the book I think it's important to say that I've never been good with werewolves in books. The idea just never really appealed to me or worked and so while people have read and loved various books I've always stayed away due to my disinterest. I always kept an eye out for a book that would be my introduction to the sub-genre and when I heard more about Maggie Stiefvater's series I thought that this could be the one, especially since I heard wonderful things about the writing.

I loved this book. One of the main reasons being that it wasn't a book about werewolves and was instead a book about humans that occasionally would turn into wolves. You might think that I'm splitting hairs here, but when I conjure an image of a werewolf it's usually a tall, burly man with crazy facial hair being chased by someone with a gun and silver bullets against a full moon or some similar hokey stereotype. The ability for me to be able to logically separate the two made all the difference. For me the book was ultimately about being human and what that meant for different people, and what you would risk for your own sense of self.

The relationship between Grace and Sam was bittersweet and with every page I had such an innate sense of the two of them that it was hard not to end the book in tears. Maggie has a beautiful way with words and although it's evident throughout the book I most noticed it between the two of them with the sadness and hope evoked in her turn of phrase. One of my favorite examples of this is when Sam almost turns and stops calling Grace by her name and instead she becomes 'the girl' in connection with the different perceptions of a wolfish mind. (The temperature at the top of every chapter also was a fantastic touch, although it confused me at first.)
 The two of them were always on equal footing and the relationship was paced in such a way that left me satisfied and never overwhelmed.  It didn't register to me until after I finished the book that I would be perfectly happy with this as a standalone, as I had always been aware of it as a series. If I didn't already own Linger I might stop here and be content.

I'm hesitant to mention this, but I feel strongly that people be aware that this series is not Twilight-light or Twilight with wolves or any other such nonsense you see about. It's very much its own story that stands strongly on its own two feet without needing to sit atop anyone else's shoulders. For those out there that are unsure about this series for the same reasons I was: don't let it stop you because it's not at all what you're expecting and is dealt with in such a way that is thoughtful and very, well, human.

4 comments on "review: shiver by maggie stiefvater"

AliyaPM wrote: Wed Jul 27, 12:45:00 PM

Great review! Maggie is such a great writer. Glad you liked the book! It's definitely the prettiest book I own.

We Heart YA wrote: Wed Jul 27, 02:25:00 PM

Wow, great review!! We definitely had reservations about the series, but now we're feeling like we should give it a shot.

kaye (paper reader) wrote: Sun Jul 31, 11:24:00 AM

@Allya: Thank you! The cover really is gorgeous, isn't it? I think I'm going to have to look up the illustrator because that's the sort of understated simplicity I really love on a book.

@We Heart YA: I feel much the same - I've been holding off on reading this series because of werewolves and terrible things but it was actually quite a lovely read. I'm going to try and read Linger and Forever as sequels that aren't quite sequels so I'm not disappointed if they don't work out for me. (Although try is the operative word!)

barmybex wrote: Wed Aug 03, 05:14:00 PM

Great review -

I hate people comparing this to Twilight - it's nothing alike. Glad you pointed that out. :D

I'm sure you'll love the rest of the series. It's one of my favourite series' now. I try to get everyone to read it.

Thanks for visitng my blog.

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