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Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

August 14, 2009

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
published by Scholastic Press August 1, 2009

Shiver is the newest addition to the thriving genre of romance with supernatural creatures. Seventeen-year-old Grace is pragmatic and bookish, reading strictly non-fiction. Unlike her mother, an eccentric artist, she likes facts. She is also a bit reclusive and has difficulty reading people. It is not surprising that she falls in love in an unconventional way.

Sam is 18, an intense, kind boy who plays guitar and composes song lyrics. He is very intuitive and reads people easily. He and Grace are like yin and yang, or winter and summer. Sam also turns into a wolf in the winter and lives with a pack of other werewolves. As he grows older, he spends less and less time in human form, and he fears he will soon lose himself altogether.

Their connection goes back six years. When she was 11, Grace was dragged from a tire swing by a wolf — a werewolf in animal form. Another member of the pack saved her, a beautiful wolf with golden eyes. From that moment on, she has loved the creature who saved her, waiting for him to emerge from the woods in the frigid Minnesota winters. When she meets Sam, a handsome guy with striking yellow eyes, she immediately recognizes him as her wolf in human form. He recognizes her too, and they realize they’re already in love.

The werewolf bite did not cause Grace to become a werewolf, but it did change her. Her senses are heightened — she can hear and smell much more acutely than a human — and she can communicate with Sam in an unusual way. Why didn’t the bite turn her into a werewolf? And if she understood that, would it unlock a cure to Sam’s condition?

The author created this world — populated with humans and werewolves — in such detail that it is easy to suspend disbelief. It is a very sensual book, not only because the romance is sexually charged, but in the richly described sights, sounds, smells and sensations woven in throughout the story. I could feel the cold of approaching winter, see the brilliant colors of the autumn forest, and experience the sounds and smells Grace perceived with her canine senses.

The story also flowed smoothly and was charged with suspense. It was a page turner. However, the ending was too abrupt, no doubt designed to pique the reader’s interest in a sequel. And it didn’t end the way I’d hoped it would. 🙂

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book, beautifully written and suspenseful, enriched with references to poetry, music, and art woven throughout. I recommend it to fiction lovers, especially teen girls, and I look forward to the sequel coming out next year.

Check out more reviews of Shiver:

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