Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater
by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: C+
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 is a love story between Grace, a 16 year old Minnesota girl and Sam, an 18 year old werewolf. Yes, werewolf. There are some obvious setbacks to their relationship, mainly that he gets a bit hairy during the winter months. Oh, and she’s not allowed to tell anyone. A highschool boy is attacked in Grace’s town of Mercy Falls. The town is in a bit of an uproar and many believe that the wolves should be eradicated. Of course, Grace can’t let this happen. She teams up with an unlikely helper to save the wolves. Can she do it in time?
At first, I was a little concerned for three reasons. 1) The whole wolf/girl thing had the potential to be a little creepy. 2) I had heard some comparisons to Twilight and I was afraid this might just be a bandwagon-jumper. 3)The switching point-of-view usually turns me off. Let me say, those concerns were completely useless. This was a fantastically written novel with characters that were realistic (as realistic as werewolves can be) and entertaining. Once I started reading, the wolf/human dynamic sort of faded into the background. The love story between Sam and Grace was just that… a love story.
One thing that I really appreciated about this book was that Steifvater created characters that seemed relatable. They weren’t cheesy, overdone characters trying to flaunt one sole aspect of their personality (umm…clumsy Bella???). The characters had real teenage thoughts and real emotions. Each was caught in a world where they don’t quite belong and don’t quite feel included. I was able to relate to this so easily. I’ve never loved a werewolf (though the husband does get scruffy at times), but I have felt that sense of awkward misplacement. It was great to read a book that dealt with that right now.
The writing was absolutely beautiful. She did a great job of balancing setting with action. Some novels are very character-focused and some are very action-focused. In my opinion, it’s difficult to find a good balance between the two. Steifvater did just that.
Even if you don’t normally read Young Adult, give this one a try. Don’t be put off by the wolf/human thing and definitely do NOT pass this one by simply because people compare it to Twilight. Give it a chance to speak for itself. I hazard to say that you won’t regret it a bit. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think you will, too.