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Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
Book Reviews
September 3, 2009 posted by Nikki

Shiver – 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.

When Grace’s community decides that they need to do something about the ‘wolf problem’ in the woods, Grace flips. Her wolf is in those woods. She has to stop them before its too late. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much of a commotion to get the hunters to pull back. A little screaming about her friends being in the woods here, a little pleading helplessly there, and its done. But when Grace goes home, she almost can’t believe what she’s seeing. There’s a boy on her door stoop, bleeding half to death, and instantly she knows instantly who it is. She’d know those eyes anywhere. She’s been looking into them for the last six years, wistfully hoping – wishing – that things were different. Well, it seems that life is about to give her what she wants for a change, even if it is for a short time only.

Sam can’t believe it’s her. He can’t believe she’s here, seeing him, looking at him like that. He can’t believe that he was shot and it brought on a change. A few minutes ago he was a wolf, and now … well, now he was human, but unless he did something about the bleeding he wasn’t going to be anything soon.

And so starts the snapshot in time that is Grace and Sam. It seems that there isn’t even a question of whether they’re together or not. Sam and Grace, although hesitant to assume the other’s intention initially, are instantly an item. They’ve been watching each other – falling in love with each other – from a distance for six years now. The time for formalities has long passed, especially considering they have so little time together in the first place. Sam knows it in himself, he can feel the end coming – this is the last year that he’ll change back to a human. Ever. The problem is, it’s the middle of winter. The cold is what makes him change in the first place. In order to keep Sam in his human form for a long as they can, Sam and Grace do everything they can to keep Sam warm. But Minnesota winters are tough, and sometimes, nature is unbelievably unpredictable. Will their race against the weather be all in vain, or will they get their happily ever after?

As far as paranormal romances go, this is, hands down, the best one I’ve read in a long while. Grace is a formidably strong character that will go to great lengths to protect her own. When it comes to her heart, there’s no messing around. I reckon girls everywhere are going love Grace; they’ll love who she is and what she has.

Sam is more than just the lust-worthy teenage heartthrob that we see in YA fiction so often these days. He’s got the emotional maturity of someone who far surpasses his years and seems to understand the ins and outs of love entirely. He loves Grace – completely and absolutely – and he knows exactly how to treat a girl. It doesn’t get better than this, girls. Sam is, without a doubt, the Edward Cullen of 2009.

Maggie Stiefvater totally steps up to the plate with Shiver. I’ve been a fan of hers right from the beginning, but I have to say, Shiver completely blew my mind. Once I started reading, there was positively no stopping. I felt drunk – love drunk! Too much Sam and Grace will do that to you.

Watch out for the ending, though. As I’m sure it will leave some ambling around despairingly. I know I was! As angsty as it was, the ending was totally appropriate and totally necessary. I commend Maggie for taking the path she did – this one is definitely an example of the road less travelled in YA lit, and is a breath of fresh air! I am totally in love with Shiver, and I plan on telling absolutely everyone I meet about this one.

Rating:: ★★★★★