Teen Book Review: "Shiver"
The wolves howl at night in the bone-chilling cold of winter. But in the summer, where do they go? With the weather getting warmer and more people doing things outdoors, Maggie Stiefvater tries to answer that question with Shiver.
For the past six years, 15-year-old Grace Brisbane’s life has revolved around the wolves that live in the woods behind her parents’ house in Mercy Falls, Minnesota. They attacked her when she was young, but she was mysteriously saved. And for some reason, ever since the attack, she seems to have an almost lupine sense of smell.
Sam is the wolf that saved her. Cursed with a disease that changes him into a wolf in the cold and lets him be a human in summer, he has watched Grace from afar in both his lives. Now, it is the last year he will be a human, and he is counting the minutes until he will be trapped as a wolf forever.
A freak hunting accident allows Sam to become human again in the fall, and leaves him bleeding at Grace’s doorstep. The two end up having a whirlwind romance, made bittersweet by the knowledge that Sam’s days are numbered. Will Grace find out why she didn't turn into a werewolf and use that knowledge to save Sam and the others before it’s too late?
This book is an excellent work of fiction that earns its place in the supernatural romance genre next to Twilight. The book does drag a bit at the beginning and end, but the romance storyline in the center of the title carries the work splendidly. Grace’s interactions with Sam help her come to terms with her frequently absent parents, and Sam’s mental connection to his humanity grows stronger because of his love for Grace even as his physical connection becomes more tenuous.
How and why the werewolves change is intriguing, and how this shapes the relationship by making Sam emotionally needy and Grace independent is a great twist on the romance angle. A subplot about a local bully being bitten causes some jarring moments in the story, as does Grace’s interactions with her friends. A strong heroine and a bittersweet romance make this title worth picking up.
Shiver is the first book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. It and its sequel, Linger, are both available at many DC Public Library branches. The final book in the trilogy, Forever, is due out in July. Check them out today!
--by Brandon Digwood