Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Details
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Paperback, 400 Pages
2010, Scholastic Paperbacks
ISBN: 0545123275
Series: Book 1 of The Wolves of Mercy Falls

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.

Shiver is a complete re-imagining of werewolf mythology with an amazing love story. The book is written with alternating first person points of view and the format works well. We get to learn what both Grace and Sam are thinking, so there's never any doubt to how they feel about one another. It was refreshing to see a couple that didn't have internal relationship problems. Their love was never in question. The danger to their relationship was external, in the form of Sam being a werewolf.

I wasn't completely sold on the mechanics of Shiver's werewolf transformations. The temperature causes the shifts between human and werewolf. If it's too cold out, the werewolves are in wolf form, When the temperature rises, they return to their human forms. I couldn't wrap my head around why it would work that way. The question of whether it was science or magic that caused the shifts was brought up in the book, but ultimately dismissed as not mattering. Without even a hint as to why the temperature mattered so much, I found myself a little distracted from the story. Even a very inaccurate guess would have satisfied my curiosity.

The love story between Grace and Sam was one of the best I've ever read. It started out a little weird, with Grace being obsessed and quite possibly in love with what she believed to be a normal wolf. Once she spends some time with Sam in human form, she has weird feelings as though she is cheating on her wolf until she remembers that Sam and her wolf are one in the same. Further revelations make these feelings a bit more understandable, but it was still kind of strange.

Sam and Grace take their relationship slow physically even though they have know they have a limited time together. The fact that they may be separated forever was never used as an excuse to rush intimacy. Rational decisions were made even while dealing with an intense connection and attraction. This was very refreshing and did wonders to exhibit the maturity of the characters. Their feelings towards one another could truly be taken at face value as it was never possible to attribute their relationship to lust, obsession or any of the other emotions often passed off as love in other young adult paranormals.

Shiver was a delightful surprise. The story was great, but the best part was the real, raw emotion that filled each page. The feelings I experienced while reading the book will be with me for a very long time.


Maggie Stiefvater's


  1. Great review! I love that you mentioned that they didn't force physical intimacy due to their limited time together.

    I really loved the author's writing style. The emotions she evoked stayed with me for days after finished the book. I cannot wait to read the next one :)

    Tara SG - 25 Hour Books

  2. I agree with you that this love story was one of the best I've ever read. There was just something about it that actually felt REAL to me.
    It was so beautiful and raw and emotional, wasn't it?

  3. I agree. I loved this book.
    Im really excited to meet Maggie in a few weeks!

  4. Lol...yours is the first review I've read that mentions the weirdness of her feelings for the wolf before she knew it was Sam. I felt the same way reading it, even though I DID end up loving the book...ya...that was just...strange lol...

  5. Thank you for the review, I need to read this...

  6. Great review!
    I enjoyed this one as well and I agree about the great love story.

  7. I also wondered about the mechanics of wolf shifting but I mostly brushed it off because I really enjoyed the love story.

  8. @Tara SG - I thought showing love without the need to push the physical was wonderful. And the emotions were amazing.

    @brizmus - That's it exactly. The emotion was so real that you felt it deep inside yourself. It's really is a hard thing for a writer to capture.

    @Leilani - Have fun!

    @Vampires and Tofu - Right? I was like - this could be going into a very icky place. I think that was one of the main reasons I was so surprised by how awesome the book was.

    @Taschima - You're welcome.

    @Brandileigh2003 - Thanks! Maggie Stiefvater does do a very good love story.

    @Bookworm1858 - Stuff tends to bug me and it takes a lot for a story to sweep me away so definitely that I don't notice those little things that drive me insane. I will say, I felt much better after having read Linger.

  9. I can't wait to dive into my copy of this, it's been sitting on my shelf for SO long!

  10. @April - You totally need to. I heard it was good, but had no idea it was so genuinely emotional!