Monday, August 10, 2009

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

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.

For anyone who loves supernatural young adult novels, Shiver will give you chills. This book was so well written, and had such complete and lovable characters. I love the way Maggie Stiefvater switches the narrative between Grace's point of view and Sam's, each with a unique voice and set of emotions. The writing really is beautiful and subtle, yet powerful enough to stick with you.

Here is an example, from Chapter 13 - Sam

I was a wolf, but I wasn't Sam yet, either.
I was a leaking womb bulging with the promise of conscious thoughts; the frozen woods far behind me, the girl on the tire swing, the sound of fingers on metal strings. The future and the past, both the same, snow and then summer and then snow again.
A shattered spider's web of many colors, cracked in ice, immeasurably sad.
"Sam," the girl said. "Sam."
She was past present future. I wanted to answer, but I was broken.

It gives me chills just reading those lines again. When this book was recommended to me, I was told that it was better than Twilight, so my expectations were high. Considering that Shiver is about a werewolf and the girl he loves, I was afraid that I would find myself comparing the two books. Without a doubt, there is no comparison. Shiver is completely unique - from the legend of the werewolves all the way to the tender love story between Sam and Grace. The secondary characters were especially powerful. The friends and family surrounding the two main characters were not simply a vehicle in which to get the two lovers together, but they had their own stories, their own motivations, and their own importance in the overall story.

A part of me wants to say that the book ended too abruptly, but another part of me believes that I simply didn't want it to end at all. Shiver is one of those books that I will pass around to my friends, and my friends' teenage daughters.

Speaking of those teenage daughters, I want to say this book is appropriately young adult. There is a love story, and there is definitely chemistry between Sam and Grace, but it often is achieved with the simple touch of a hand. There is kissing and one love scene, but I feel Stiefvater kept it PG-13.

Movie Potential? Definitely. I read this book as if I were watching the movie, everything so easily pictured.

**On Maggie Stiefvater's Goodreads page, I just learned that she is, in fact, writing a sequel to Shiver, entitled Linger expected in 2010. You know I'll be keeping my eyes and ears out for that one, and I'll be sure to keep you all posted.

Visit Maggie Stiefvater's website, where you can listen to the first two chapters, read by Maggie Stiefvater.

Read an excerpt of Shiver here.



Nely said...

I'm reading this right now... I actually read the excerpt you listed about an hour ago... (sighs). I'm loving it so far - great review.

♥ Nely

Stephanie said...

I hope to read this book soon. BTW, I found you through Facebook (The Clinton Bookshop mentioned your review). I am also a NJ book blogger and enjoy visiting the Clinton book store!

Lexie said...

I admit when I first started the book I wasn't certain it would be to my tastes at all (not big on werewolves as a general rule), but it changed my opinion instantly. Grace, despite her ::ahem:: weird obsessions, was such a relateable character. Though I think what got me was when Sam saw Grace in the bookstore (in the very beginning) and kept wishing she'd look at him for just a second. I keenly remember moments like that from my teen years.

Alison said...

Stephanie, I just sent you a note on your blog, which I LOVE -- and all my readers should go check out if they haven't already!

Lexie, I agree that was a great scene, one you could totally picture on the big screen, can't you?

Oh, and I found out from Maggie Stiefvater that you pronounce her last name Steve-Otter. It's the little things, you know?

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I always forget how to pronounce her last name! LOL Anyway, i'm so glad you loved this one. I did as so great and I can't wait for more. It really does seem like it would make a good film.


IvyElyse said...

Well, there is now officially going to be a movie for shiver. I'm so excited, it's ridiculous lol.

Alison said...

IvyElyse: WHAT?!?! Going to check on that right now! Thanks for the newsflash!!

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