Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater- A Review

Title: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Release Year: 2009

Reviewed By: Sarina

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

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Summary: “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.” (Goodreads.com)

To sum this book up in my own words, after recommending it to countless friends, “It’s basically Twilight, only actually well-written with characters who have believable emotions and healthy relationships, and werewolves instead of vampires.” It’s better than it sounds, I swear. I first came across this series (it is a series, a trilogy technically, with one recently-released standalone novel based on a minor character), after reading another of Mrs. Stiefvater’s books, called Lament. I deliberately avoided this series for the exact reasons one would suspect; it sounded boring, cliché, and stuffed full of awkward fumbling teenage romance. I kept putting off getting this book from the library, where it would glare at me accusingly from the shelf as I took out the other books written by Maggie Stiefvater multiple times. I eventually caved and brought it home, where it sat on my pile of to-read books until a day before it was supposed to go back to the library. I picked it up on a whim, because I had nothing else to do, and I ended up staying awake until three a.m. to finish it.

To be perfectly honest, this is the first and only series of paranormal “romance” that I have ever picked up and enjoyed. I put sarcastic exclamation marks around the term romance because while relationships certainly do factor into a novel, they don’t drown it in mopey teenage angst, and are mercifully lacking in abuse (CoughTwilightCough). The plot is well-written, with a good dose of Medical Drama, Action-Adventure, and Animal Rights. Werewolf-ism is portrayed as a disease, rather than a romantic characteristic. I found myself genuinely attached to the characters, Sam and Grace. Grace is a studious bookworm who has always been fascinated by the wolves near her house after being attacked by them as a child. Sam is an unfortunate poet who got bitten by the wolves as a child, and ended up becoming one of them for half the year (during winter. The disease is related to temperature and seasons, not relegated by the moon.)

With a well-developed and diverse cast of characters, particularly later in the series, The Wolves of Mercy Falls series is definitely something I would recommend to anyone who is fed up with the cliché young adult romance fiction. I’d also recommend it to anyone who likes snow, the science of contagious diseases, hardcore heavy metal/synthetic rock, dead German poets, and peppermint hot chocolate.

 

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