Book Review: Shiver (Stiefvater)

Grace, 17, loves the peace and tranquility of the woods behind her home. It is here during the cold winter months that she gets to see her wolf—the one with the yellow eyes. Grace is sure that he saved her from an attack by other wolves when she was nine. Over the ensuing years he has returned each season, watching her with those haunting eyes as if longing for something to happen. When a teen is killed by wolves, a hunting party decides to retaliate. Grace races through the woods and discovers a wounded boy shivering on her back porch. One look at his yellow eyes and she knows that this is her wolf in human form. Fate has finally brought Sam and Grace together, and as their love grows and intensifies, so does the reality of what awaits them. It is only a matter of time before the winter cold changes him back into a wolf, and this time he might stay that way forever. (synopsis from School Library Journal)

As a huge fan of all things werewolf… I honestly avoided Shiver for a long time. The strong romantic rather than adventurous thread and highly unorthodox approach to how werewolves work (winter as a wolf, summer as a human) were offputting to me. When I did eventually pick it up, though, I was sucked in almost immediately.

I’m failing as a reviewer here, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what makes Shiver so good. A good part of it is that Maggie Stiefvater is such an amazingly lyrical writer, but there’s something beyond that, just a magic to the whole book that helps you fall in love with it. There are a couple of flaws- I never really got what happened with the one female werewolf, for example, but overall it’s compelling and deeply moving; not at all what I had expected, which was basically Romeo & Juliet but with werewolves and a faint aftertaste of Twilight. Don’t make the same mistake I did and try to steer clear of it.

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