Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Hardback, 390 pages
Date Published: August 1, 2009
Description (Taken from Goodreads)
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.
Shiver has gotten a lot of praise since its release and I can understand why, in some respects at least. Stiefvater introduces us to Grace, the everyday, average shy girl with a strange obsession with wolves and Sam, one of the wolves in question. Grace has had this obsession and need for the wolves in her life since she was a little girl. Sam, the yellow-eyed wolf/man has been watching Grace for as long as she can remember. When their worlds collide, a romance spirals out from it and many difficulties follow.
The werewolf mythology that Stiefvater develops is interesting, but the story is more about the romance and I’m not a huge romance person. The wolf story had me hooked from the beginning though and I would have loved to know more about that aspect of it. Grace’s and Sam’s alternating POV’s is refreshing and I found myself reading more to get to know them better. I do have to say that there were more than a few parts that I didn’t enjoy though.
Grace’s obsession with the wolves is integral to the story, but her apparent love for the wolves, not Sam the person, but being in love with a wolf prior to knowing it/he was a person, is just weird to me. It made me view Grace in a skewed way. I can understand her obsession, but her being in love just didn’t make sense to me. There was also some language that I absolutely could not stand. Grace is 17 and Sam is 18 and I don’t need them to be dropping f-bombs left and right, but saying ‘poopy’!? No. Realistically, a 17 or 18 year old would not say poopy and it just made me laugh. Sam’s constant lyrical, poetic breakthroughs were annoying and some scenes were way too sappy for my liking.
The overall story and the rest of the writing allowed me to get past these most of these issues and still enjoy the book to a degree. Steifvater certainly can write well and put you into that Minnesota atmosphere. The entire time I was reading it I felt cold. The book is cold, but in such a good way. I do wish that the minor characters had a somewhat larger role because I was completely drawn to Isabel, but I did enjoy what little of them we get to see. Unfortunately, I rarely felt completely engrossed and devoted to the love story aspect, but the wolves kept me reading. Grace and Sam were well-developed and even though the ending felt rushed, I still recommend reading the book. I’m sure many people will be unable to put the book down, even though I don’t feel quite the same way.
I have to say that the Rilke excerpts were incredible and the last one was absolutely heartbreaking.