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Review: Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater

When she was a child, Grace was attacked and bitten by werewolves.  She was only saved by the intervention of a yellow-eyed wolf, who has continued to watch her progress throughout her life.  Now 17, Grace is making her way through high school but maintains a strange feeling of kinship with “her wolf”.  When she meets a boy, Sam, with those same yellow eyes, Grace immediately feels drawn to him, especially when she realizes that he truly is a werewolf.  As they fall in love, Grace and Sam struggle to find a way to be together before he turns into a wolf permanently.

I really, really wish I had liked this book more than I did!  I’ve had a number of comments already from people who just loved this book and I was really looking forward to it.  I think in this case, expectations really ruined the book for me.  With the use of the word “chilling” on the cover and the fact that it was a book about werewolves, and that was more or less all I knew, I guess I expected it to be creepier.  Or at least creepy somehow.  Instead, “chilling” referred to the fact that winter’s cold turns the werewolves into their wolf selves.  I felt a bit misled and perhaps if I’d paid more attention to reviews beforehand, I wouldn’t have been particularly annoyed.

As it was, this book is basically a teenage paranormal romance.  As I was reading it, I could tell that my sixteen year old self would have been head over heels for it.  But since I expected more, or at least something else, I wound up disappointed – I often do when I think I’m reading something and it turns into something else.  The romance was sweet enough but it was clearly predetermined from the beginning and the story didn’t really have any twists that set it apart from a regular romance novel.  I’m fine with all of these things when I know they’re happening, but for some reason this book and I didn’t click at all.  Many of the scenes were slow-moving, focusing on just Sam and Grace and their developing relationship.  There was a bit of drama focusing on Grace’s friends and a boy that goes after the wolves, but I was just reminded a little too much of what it was like to be a teenager.

I also really disliked how absent minded Grace’s parents were.  It really brought home to me how much this is a flaw in YA books; I found it hard to believe a father could just forget his small daughter in a car days after she’d been violently attacked by werewolves!  And what parents would miss the fact that their house was now inhabited by another person, sleeping in their daughter’s bed?  It’s hard to believe parents could claim to love their child and then completely ignore everything she does.  I’m sure they’re out there, but Grace’s parents just annoyed me every time they appeared in a scene.

Regardless of my disappointments, I still felt that the book was well-written, with Sam and Grace having distinct voices that made it easy for me to tell the difference between them.  Stiefvater’s prose is lovely, with a number of gorgeous descriptions – that special part of the woods comes to mind immediately and I wish I had the book with me to quote it.  I would certainly be interested in reading another book by her, but I think for once I’ll investigate a little more about the plot before I commit myself.

Would I recommend Shiver?  I don’t know; probably not to someone who expected a creepier book!  But I do think people who enjoy paranormal romance (or Twilight) would like it, as attested by its popularity.

I am an Amazon Associate. I borrowed this book from my local library.

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12 comments to Review: Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater

  • I think my teenage self would have loved all these YA supernatural books out at the moment but alas at my age they dont appeal any more.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..To Kill a Mockingbird article =-.

  • Skipped this because I’m writing my review of the audio version this weekend — I’ll be back. From your last paragraph, I see that I liked it more than you did.
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Review: Day for Night by Frederick Reiken =-.

  • I am glad that I didn’t read the back cover. i wouldn’t have liked it either if I was expected a thriller. There was nothing creepy about this book at all.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Lauren Belfer & A Fierce Radiance – Author Event =-.

  • I don’t think I’ll be reading this one. I had considered it, but it really just doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Book Review: The 19th Wife =-.

  • I can’t say that this book sounds interesting to me, but I am also sure that as a younger reader, I would have eaten it up. I bet my daughter would love this book though, as she loved the Twilight series and has read it several times, and she recently asked me to find her a book about wolves. This review is really timely for me and I thank you for posting it!! You made my job as a mom a little bit easier this week!!
    zibilee´s last post …Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok – 304 pgs

  • I like YA Paranormal romances and I cannot lie? :) I think I would have loved it EVEN MORE if I was a teen, but I still really liked it, and loved Linger.

    I think Stiefvater did a great job of evoking a particular feeling…the cold woods, the desperation of being young and in love. I also feel annoyed about the parents and that continuing issue in YA but it also seems to be more realistic than I originally thought after talking to friends who are teachers.
    Amy @ My Friend Amy´s last post …How to Costume Your Drama by Deborah Noyes

  • Your review made me smile. I usually don’t mind paranormal romances, but I do wish there was some kind of tension/suspense build-up in these novels. This is probably one of those YA books, which is probably not complex enough for adults
    Nishita´s last post …The Long and Short of High Heels

  • I haven’t been too excited about this one since werewolves aren’t usually my thing anyway. I’ve seen a lot of good reviews, but I fear our opinions might be closer than all the lovers. We’ll see.
    Andi´s last post …Covers to Make Me Vomit

  • Yeah, I’m not too sure about this book. I’m not a big fan of werewolves to begin with, either.

    Ah, absentee YA parents… it is hard to believe parents would leave their kids in a state of such benign neglect; but then my brother’s fifteen year old girlfriend has slept over here and not gone home for over a week and apparently her mom barely noticed and didn’t care if she did, so who knows. Maybe there really are parents out there who would do that.
    heidenkind´s last post …Rosario + Vampire by Akihisa Ikeda

  • I completely agree with your review : I loved the author’s prose, too, though the book was a bit more romancy that I thought it would be. Glad you enjoyed it too!
    kay @ Infiniteshelf´s last post …Artsy Shelf – 18 – Walking away

  • I just finished it this morning. Enjoyable enough for me to want to finish and know what happened, but certainly nothing special. I agree about Grace’s parents. It felt a bit like the author decided that they would be in the way of the plot otherwise. I won’t be rushing out to read more of her work. But then perhaps I’m just a little bored of all the vampire and werewolf literature out there at the moment!
    mariel´s last post …A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

  • Meg

    Absentee or neglectful parents in YA are a major pet peeve of mine, too — and many other folks, I’d wager. You’re right: it’s hard to believe a father could be that absent-minded!

    Based on your review and other mixed ones I’ve read, I’m pretty sure this isn’t for me — though I totally appreciate what you mean about thinking your teenage self would be in love with it! That would probably be the case for me, too. :)
    Meg´s last post …Bring books back to Nashville