Shiver

Shiver
(The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Published 2009 by Scholastic Press
392 pages. Hardcover.
Rating: 5/5

Shiver is told from two perspectives. Grace was attacked by wolves as a young girl and has watched them at the edge of the woods by her house ever since. She’s always watching for a specific wolf, her wolf. She yearns for his presence and wishes to be in the woods with him when she hears the howls at night. Sam lives two lives. In the summer, he’s a normal teenage boy who works in a book shop and writes songs. In winter, the cold changes his body into a wolf. When he’s not traveling with the pack, he watches Grace from the woods, and she watches him right back. When Grace meets a boy with familiar eyes she’s blown away. He is her wolf, standing before her in human form. As winter begins to creep near, Sam has to fight to keep his human form and stay with Grace.

I saw this book on a list a long time ago and didn’t think much of it for a while. I figured I’d get around to it eventually. I’m very glad I did. Stiefvater’s wonderful prose was the first thing to draw me in. It’s very melancholy, but beautiful. Once I began, I couldn’t make myself stop.

I’m not sure that I found a theme to this book. Obviously, Grace and Sam are in love, so love is an important aspect. But their love is the intense kind that is complicated and rarely found in real life. It’s an unconditional, constant love. It’s as if they’ve been together for years. They fit together like pieces to a puzzle. But I think the conflict is what is more important in this story. Will Sam be able to keep himself from shifting? If he shifts will he be able to shift back the next summer? Is there a cure that will allow him to stay with Grace? This is what comes to me when I think back on this book. A simple plot with a simple conflict: can they overcome their obstacles to stay together? If there’s some deeper message to this book, I haven’t found it.

As far as characters go, they’re wonderful. Grace is relatively level-headed and responsible. She’s nearly more of an adult than her parents. She’s mature and handles some of the strangest and most difficult of her situations with a cool head and determination that I admire. Sam is gentle, sensitive, and terribly romantic. He’s the type of guy little girls dream of finding when they grow up. I like him better than all the troubled guys of most young-adult novels because he’s not so broody. His sadness is reserved and genuine. He bears through his struggles with a sincerity you won’t find in many other characters. I feel like I’m not explaining him very well, but that’s the best I can do to put it into words.

There wasn’t much character development in this book. They’re all pretty static. It’s definitely plot-driven, but that didn’t really bother me.

Source: Books-A-Million
Author’s website: http://www.maggiestiefvater.com/
Purchase this book: Scholastic | Book Depository | IndieBound

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