Our heroine, Grace, was attacked by wolves as a child. Just before she was about to become lunch, one of the wolves intervened and saved her. Ever since, Grace has watched for “her” wolf in the woods each winter. And every summer, a golden-eyed boy named Sam watches Grace from afar, too shy to approach her. Then, when one of Grace’s high school classmates is killed in another wolf attack, several of the local men take it upon themselves to rid the town of the beasts. This time it’s Grace who helps Sam. Finally, the two have the chance to get to know one another. Their budding relationship is marred by one tragic truth: This is almost certainly Sam’s last year as a human.
Like Deirdre, the heroine of Lament, Grace is more “real” and well-rounded than many of the girls who populate YA paranormal romance. She’s neither too perfect nor too wild, and she doesn’t become subservient once her love interest appears on the scene. She’s just an ordinary girl, compassionate and resourceful and caught in an unimaginable situation. The relationship between Grace and Sam is also refreshingly “real.” They don’t just fall in love because of the weird metaphysics that surround them. They bond over music and poetry and cooking and B-grade horror movies. The reader is left with the impression that, if only the looming metaphysical tragedy could be averted, they’d have a happy future together.
Which, of course, makes the inexorable approach of winter incredibly poignant. I couldn’t put Shiver down, wondering how Grace and Sam’s story would end, and Stiefvater kept me hanging till the very last page.
Shiver is written in vivid prose that engages all of the senses. Maggie Stiefvater does a great job of evoking the sight of a single spot of red against a sea of white, the sound of canine nails scratching at the deck outside Grace’s house, and the smell of paper and ink in a bookstore on a warm summer day, making Shiver a fully immersive experience. I nearly forgot it was July here as I read; I could hear the winter winds howling
-Nicole @ SoManyBooksSoLittleTime