Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review: Shiver

Maggie Stiefvater
August 2009; Scholastic; 978-0-545-12326-6 (hardcover)

Summary: Even before she was attacked by them, Grace has been mesmerized by the wolves in her backyard. In particular, it's the yellow-eyed wolf, the one who saved her from the other wolves during the attack, that Grace watches. And then one day, a boy with the same eyes as her wolf comes into her life. As she learns that the boy named Sam and the wolf are one and the same, Grace finds herself falling even more for him. And for Sam, he's loved Grace for years, just from watching her; just by talking to her makes him fall head-over-heels for her. But the cold makes Sam shift from human to wolf, and he thinks his next shift will be his last. When the cold of winter comes, he'll be a wolf forever. As winter comes closer and closer, Sam and Grace must find whether their love be enough in spite of their natures.

Two Things to Know About Shiver

#1: Paranormal romance can exist in the real world.

With the success of Twilight, the hot trend in YA literature is romances between a human and a supernatural creature. The newest choice is Shiver, which draws inspiration from The Time Traveler's Wife and harks back to Blood and Chocolate. This novel is firmly its own, though--and well-grounded in reality. There are rules that dictate how Sam shifts from human to wolf, and they're thought out and sensible. This grounding shifts the mystery and magic from the paranormal to the romance. And who doesn't think love is a mystery? It's a wonderful choice and heights the appeal of the novel.

#2: Differences can be opportunities.

Sam and Grace have very different personalities. Sam is sensitive and creative, a poetry reader who creates his own music lyrics. Meanwhile, Grace is practical and scientific, interested in the tangible. The chestnut is that opposites attract--but these personality contrasts could break up a romance. Instead, though, both characters seem inspired by their romantic interest to become more well-rounded. Grace learns to understand poetry, hearing the beauty in the words. And Sam finds himself thinking scientifically, searching for a cure to his lycanthropy. It's thanks to the evolution in both characters that their love has a chance to survive.

Dreamy and atmospheric, yet shot through with tension and mystery, Shiver ably balances character and plot, romance and action. Maggie Stiefvater has said she wanted to write a book that would prompt readers to cry as they read, swept up by the romance and the worry. Stiefvater succeeds in this goal, creating an entrancing read even for non-fantasy readers. Pair this with Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (my review) to create an "After Twilight" reading list.


GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I really enjoyed this one and can't wait to share it with my teens! Great review!!

Anonymous said...

Great review.
Summed up my thoughts on it - even tho' mine were put a little differently. ;)

The story, the characters, the lyrical writing really sets it apart doesn't it?