I have to admit that I read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater in the latter part of last year. I was looking for something to read after the Twilight Saga (we’ve all been there, right?!) and I stumbled across Shiver, which was recommended by a few people on the internet.
I read it and instantly fell in love with it. I laughed and cried in all the right places and basically became Maggie’s biggest fan overnight. Back then, I didn’t have a book blogging site and so there was no need to write a review. Now I do have a book blog and I feel somewhat obligated to write about my favourite book. So much so that I felt the need to go back and re-read the book all over again. Especially in light of the fact that Linger (the sequel to Shiver) is now in my possession. As most of you know, I was EXTREMELY lucky to win an ARC of Linger and I literally jumped up and down screaming when I found out! I got the book and stupidly developed a mental block - I told myself I could not read Linger until I had refreshed my memory and read Shiver again. Unfortunately this has taken longer than I expected due to life getting in the way recently. I think also I was scared to read Linger but I will discuss this when I review the book.
Maggie has a distinct style and ability to draw the reader into the story. Although it’s been months since I read Shiver, as soon as I started reading I was instantly right back there in Grace and Sam’s world. It was like meeting up with an old friend. Thinking back, what I really liked about Shiver was the split point of view as the book tells the story from the two main protagonist’s perspectives - Grace and Sam. Believe it or not, the funny thing is that before I read the book I was thinking that I wanted to read a book from two points of view and suddenly, here it was in front of me. I must be finely attuned to Maggie’s writing ;)
Shiver is most definitely a character driven novel although it has a decent enough plot to carry it forward. I recently read an interview with Maggie where she was talking about Shiver and how it was a character driven novel. When talking about plot, she said in true Maggie style “I mean, what happens in Shiver? NOTHING!" It made me laugh quite a lot and I think she was selling the book a bit short in her self-deprecating way. So, in my own words, this is what Shiver is about...
As a child, Grace was attacked and bitten by wolves only to be ultimately saved by one of them. After this traumatic event, Grace develops an unnatural obsession with the wolves who linger by the edge of the woods at the back of her house. Every winter she watches and waits for them – for one wolf in particular. The one that saved her life that fateful day, years earlier. Only one year, it isn’t a wolf she finds on her doorstep but a boy and he shares the same yellow eyes as her wolf. But it couldn’t be, could it? Shiver is not only the story of the relationship between Grace and Sam but also the relationship the whole town has with the wolves that visit every winter.
Grace and Sam are polar opposites in a way. I actually liked the fact that they are so different from each other but share a connection with the wolves which is what brought them together in the first place. Grace is logical, practical, responsible and pragmatic whereas Sam is sensitive, artsy and lyrical. I love the fact that Maggie intersperses the writing with lyrics that Sam composes on the fly.
I also have to mention that I liked the fact that for a YA novel, there was a sex scene. A lot of YA books shy away from sex but I feel that this is not realistic or representative of teenagers. It would be wrong to generalise but some teenagers do have sex. What I like about Shiver is that it does allude to a sex scene however it is very tastefully done and does not go into detail. Grace and Sam are in love, they want to be together and yes they do use protection. I know Maggie struggled over whether to include this in the book but in the end, she said it wouldn’t feel right NOT to include it.
One of the things I love about Shiver is that whilst it is classified as YA fiction, it has a definite crossover appeal to an older audience. Twilight allowed adults to read the book in public without any shame and I believe Shiver should be added to that list. I suspect that list will steadily grow as the YA market is taking off in a big way right now. Did I also mention that Shiver is going to be made into a movie? I have to confess to having mixed feelings about this fact. Of course I would love to see my favourite YA book on the big screen but I’m terrified the director will butcher it. I’m hoping this is a normal reaction to the news.
I thought the final scene was very cleverly written although I don’t want to give anything away to people who haven’t read the book yet. Just make sure you read with a box of tissues at the ready. This is one of my all time favourite books and I hope you love it as much as I do. A beautiful, extremely well written story that is A MUST READ for anyone out there who loves YA fiction. Phew, I feel ready to start reading Linger now. Review coming soon!
Maggie Stiefvater has her own blog which you can access by clicking here. She is also a prolific internet user and can be found on facebook and Twitter. If you enjoy Maggie's writing, check out the Merry Sister's of Fate which is a group made up of Maggie and her crit partners Tessa Gratton (Blood Magic, 2011) and Brenna Yovanoff (The Replacement, 2010). They publish original short stories every month. Click here to visit the site.