Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I've been meaning to review this for a while now.  I have been reading other books and can't take my mind off of this one.

Here is what the back cover says.  (And I will only put what the back cover says and then let you read what you want to in this review to let you decide if you'll want to read it or not.)

"And then I opened my eyes and it was just Grace and me--nothing anywhere but Grace and me--she pressing her lips together as though she were keeping my kiss inside her, and me holding this moment that was as fragile as a bird in my hands."

There you have it.  Now if you haven't read it yet, there will be some spoilers possibly (I try not to do that--but it can slip up somewhere). 

Shiver is about a girl named Grace who lives by the woods in Minnesota.  But this story is also about a boy named Sam who lives in the woods every winter as a wolf and in the summers as a boy.  Things only get complicated when shy, wolf Sam saves Grace from an attack and then and there had fallen in love with her, and she with him.  But how can they be together if he's only human for four months of the year--if that? 

What I really loved about this story as a whole is how romantic it is.  I was talking to my husband about it and telling him the difference between Twilight and Shiver.  Well, one has vampires and werewolves, the other--just werewolves.  Two, one is set in the Northwest of the United States while the other is set in the Midwest of the United States.  And three, one is more "teenage angsty" while the other one really sets the "romantic tone" more for the story than the "Oh my there is my Romeo" love at first sight deal.

The romance in the story is sweet and touching.  From day one, although he's a wolf in the winter time, Sam loves Grace and watches her from a distance in the woods behind her house.  And Grace, in turn, just keeps an eye out during the winter for her "wolf".  What is so fantastic about the romance in this story is that you get to peek inside both Grace's mind and Sam's mind.  Maggie Stiefvater--I believe--did a fabulous job showing both sides and where they both come from and what they are both thinking during scenes.  I love how more "classicly" romantic it is.  Sam always making up song lyrics and songs for and about Grace and having a love of poetry (what girl wouldn't LOVE that?)  But also with Grace being the empathetic girl who would do anything for Sam.

When a boy from Grace's high school goes missing, things in her life really take a twist and the story gets its momentum from this point and just keeps it building.  Sometimes when I would start to read it, I would want to go further into the story each time to see what I could figure out.

As for the characters, I'm actually always picturing Sam as the more "plain-ish, punk rock" look of a kid which for me, is the disheveled kid who looks like he has no home to go to.  But the more I read about Sam's personality in the story--the more I like him.  Grace is the typical single child, young adult who has very distanced parents (for this type of story anyway) who also took care of herself.  That kind of character--to me--is cliche these days.  Yes, we love seeing stories about kids taking care of themselves, but where are the parents in all of this?  We do see Grace's parents in and out of the storyline, and it's true that the character may not get in trouble if she thinks she can take care of herself most of the time.  But really?  I just wish for once I could read a story about a headstrong heroine that was close to her parents and they were actually involved in the story. 

The storyline for this book--I liked.  I thought it was well driven, well thought out and well put together.

And if you really like the paranormal romances these days--go for it!  This one is so touching of a story that the ending will make you love it more!  Also, the sequel for this book is called, Linger, and it will be released on July 20, 2010.  I've already got it on hold from the library.  I'm very curious to where it will go.


Emily Cross on April 15, 2010 at 9:40 AM said...

I have this on my bookshelf, on my tbr list. It looks great, can't wait!

I've noticed around the blogosphere a few comments about parents in YA etc. maybe i'm wrong but it's a plot device (for me anyway) - i'm trying to write YA and alot of the action and happenings would not happen if you had a halfway responsible parent, who said "no, you're not going out - go to bed!" or was involved and knew what was happening in their lives.

JessG on April 15, 2010 at 1:23 PM said...

I guess having parents in the mix is old young adult story stuff. One of my favorite books, "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle has a lot of parental involvement subtley put into it. You get the feeling the MC is close to the mom but when dad goes missing things flip (which is natural).

I can see what you're saying Emily about it. And I think if the parents were more "involved" in the MC's life in "Shiver", then it wouldn't be the story it was. But I think being a parent myself, having no parental guidance or tons of it can shape the character you're reading about.

Robin elizabeth on May 22, 2011 at 6:40 PM said...

This is another book that is sitting on my shelf waiting to be read..sounds like a must read.If you compare it to Twilight, which one do you think is better?

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