H.D. Tolson's Reviews > Shiver

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
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Mar 16, 12

it was ok

Shiver, what a complicated relationship you and I have. It's quite funny, I've actually tried to read you twice. In 5th grade, three years ago, I picked up your pretty hardcover self and was all excited about this wolf novel that sounded amazing. I opened you up and read 70 pages. I found myself increasingly confused and bored. What were all these odd comparisons? Why won't anything happen? Let's get the plot moving people! I'm bored!

Finally, my little brain shut down and I sold the book. I forgot about it completely, and heard all my friends ooing and gooing over it. I just couldn't find my liking in that book.

Three years later, I've got a new look on YA! I'm more open to ambiguous prose, metaphorical language, big ideas, different kinds of plots and genres, and I was compelled to crack open Shiver once more. Within the first ten pages I was really loving it! The intricate, metaphorical prose was simply intriguing and different.

30 pages in. Still amazing! In love! Totally wanted to read more! I was invested in Shiver and the characters. I found myself trying to forget that, yes, I was annoyed by the constant use of the words "My Wolf" when Grace referred to the wolf who saved her. And yes, I thought Grace was a weirdo because she was obsessed with these wolves and she was all loner about it. I was weirded out by the way her and her best friend let themselves fight over wolves.

But the prose, it was so good!

100 pages in and things had really started to pick up! The action was nicely described, though a bit hard to race through because I found myself re-reading the highly metaphorical sentences that I felt could have just been stated instead of skewed upside down and made all fancy.

And the insta-love. What insta-love it was. I'll get to that later.

Finally, page 190 or about 200 hit.

What the heck? Why. Where was this story going? We were all in love and Sam and Grace are all nice, innocent teenagers who want to be respectful of one another and only kiss passionately then pull away and talk non stop about longing for more. Like, three pages of things that had already been said.

And really, how could Sam and Grace be in love? How could they even be able to sleep in the same bed on the FIRST NIGHT THAT THEY MEET and Grace not feel the slightest bit uncomfortable that, yes, maybe this odd boy who I think is a werewolf will hurt me.

But no. He's "my wolf," who growled when I was eight and all the other wolves followed him away from me. He could be some scary, axe-murderer who's lying to me. But no. Come sleep in my bed and let's kiss and let's tell each other that we LOVE EACH OTHER.


But then, Sam said THIS:

"I was a leaking womb bulging with the promise of conscious thoughts..."

What. The. Heck. I re-read this sentence a million type. I couldn't get over that. What the heck was this? This weird, totally scary metaphor. I'm all for this adventurous prose. I'm all for authors trying new things and trying to stand out and be different. But to compare the idea of having conscious thoughts to a woman's LEAKING WOMB just isn't...real? Would any male (or even female, for that matter) take the moment in extreme agony or frustration to point out that: YEAH, I fell like a leaking womb!

I don't think so.

Now, before you all start commenting saying: "It's beautiful! Stop hating on Maggie! It symbolizes his level of knowledge! It's a book, it's not real life! It's just a better way to say something! Characters don't have to be like everyone else."

Books, to a point, are cool. They can do so much more than anything else. More than film, or music, or art. You can make and write anything you want to with a pen and a piece of paper. You can make any kind of word, make any kind of characters, make any kind of situations. Anything.

Seriously, anything.

But there's a difference between an author making her characters "Different" and "vivid" through special prose, and making them sound stoic and very un-YA. And that quote from above is simply nothing. NOTHING. That a boy or girl of the 13-18 (or, like 100) range of age would say.

Now, the prose is not the only reason why I severely dislike this book (though it is the main reason.) I found the relationship between Sam and Grace quickly made and not really that...good. I found that, even though there was insta-love, I found no way of tracking WHY Maggie felt they should fall in love instantly. Sure, this "wolf" saved Grace when she was young. And sure, she's been completely obsessed with for her whole life. But, when he suddenly comes to her door with his "leaking womb" and snazzy title of "My Wolf," why is she all of the sudden in love?

And the whole 'come into my bed on the first time I've ever met you young, hormonal teenage boy who is half-animal.' just whacked me out. It's just like Grace was saying: 'Come over here, could-be-murderer, and maybe you can KILL ME IN MY SLEEP.'

Love and writing style aside, I found Grace and Sam to be Bella and Edward, but now Bella turned into some obsessive wolf-girl and Edward became a lonesome, stalker wolf. Oh wait, oh my goodness, nothing changed at all except for the whole wolf part! Bella was obsessive of Edward, well guess who got into a fight over a wolf with her BEST friend because she looks at pictures of “her wolf” all the time? Grace. Edward watched Bella through her window and while she slept. Well guess who sits on the edge of the woods as a wolf and tries to see Grace in her bedroom? Sam!

Nowadays, the problems with insta-love and stereotypical copycats of Twilight are less so. I find that a lot of times authors are doing their best to make sure they don’t look like Twilight. But Shiver, written right when Twilight was huge, managed to capture all the problems and characters of the terrible book and tell it in this prose that talks about leaking wombs.

And it ends up not being such a good mix.

Another thing that put me off was Grace’s dependence of Sam’s being there to have an interesting life. It seemed as though that when Sam was like: “Go home, go to sleep, I’ll be there later,” she’d get all clingy and needy. I remember one of the lines was: “I’m afraid you’ll never come back.” I found it annoying how desperate Grace was for Sam, and when she was alone after about 100 pages into the book she was a murky, dull character, and then she came alive when she was with Sam.


Shiver is an extremely disappointing read for me! With a highly metaphorical, overly fancy prose that talks about leaking wombs and kisses that taste like peppermint, a heroine with an unhealthy relationship to a boy she just met, and a silent, tortured werewolf who is stalkerish and prone to shifting any time the temperature gets a wee bit too cold, I recommend picking up something a bit more unique and fresh in the YA world!


As of March 16th, 2012, I have skimmed the final 160 pages or so of Shiver I had refused to finish. The ending was quite climatic and a nice touch to the book, but all-in-all I still found this book draining and hard to understand. The last chapter was chilling enough that I have now allowed myself to raise the rating to two stars instead of one.

The only way I will ever read Linger, though, is if a giant book-bomb crashes to the earth and destroys all my books except for my copy of Linger.



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Reading Progress

03/04/2012 page 8
2.0% "Prose. Major win."
03/06/2012 page 100
26.0% "I'm. In. Love." 1 comment
03/08/2012 page 180
46.0% 1 comment
07/19/2014 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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Loni Flowers bout time you're reading this!! lol

message 2: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly my daughter keeps telling me i need to read this!

message 3: by Erin (new) - added it


Nayab haha! now i remember why i hated that book so much.

Aleixie lol

This is killing me!!!


message 6: by nick (new)

nick Laughed my butt off when I read that :P
I, also, didn't like this book so much.


Kristin (Blood,Sweat and Books) I actually own this but haven't read it. I keep hearing it is like the wolf version of Twilight and that just doesn't appeal to me. Maybe someday I'll try to read it but for now I'll just look at the pretty cover on my shelf and be happy with that.

Aleeeeeza this is one of the most brilliantly well-written critical reviews i've ever read! awesome job, H.D.! love how you so eloquently captured my exact thoughts on it :)

Thalia I totally forgot about the leaking womb line until just now. Shows how much I didn't want to read it and was mostly just skimming the book. I wanted to give it one star, but gave it two because I liked the switching points of view. x)

You basically captured everything that was wrong with this book. *appluads*

Kathy Am now unliking shiver.

Hayden This is pretty ironic, considering you posted an update saying "I'm in love!" :) Is this your first one-star review ever?

message 13: by H.D. (new) - rated it 2 stars

H.D. Tolson Hayden wrote: "This is pretty ironic, considering you posted an update saying "I'm in love!" :) Is this your first one-star review ever?"

Isn't it? I was in love. At first.

And haha, I think so!!

Hayden I gasped when I saw that you gave it one star. "HD? ONE STAR?" Haha it was so surprising!

Dawn Teresa If you loved the first 100 pages, I think a one-star review is a little misleading. Maybe you have to be a girl to like this book, but I gave it 5 stars.

Dawn Teresa You didn't say whether or not you finished the book this time around.

Hayden Dawn wrote: "You didn't say whether or not you finished the book this time around."

The shelf says did-not-finish. :)

message 18: by Loni (new) - rated it 5 stars

Loni Flowers Shocked. I'm so sad you didn't like this. Oh well. :(

Claudia Patrício Didn't like it either. Too cliché and confusing for me. Didn't get their relationship at all

Amanda Hahahaha, I have to say, even though I loved Shiver, this review is hilarious. I don't know how I missed that leaking womb part... You do bring up a lot of good points, I guess I'm just a sucker for unrealistically sweet guys in my books. Great review!

message 21: by Thalia (last edited Mar 31, 2012 11:39PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Thalia Dawn wrote: "Maybe you have to be a girl to like this book."

I'm a girl and I all but hated it. XD A total, hopeless romantic at that, and even I thought it was a little much.

message 22: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen Halligan Oh, HD. Thank you for this fantastic review. You know that I love Shiver, and Maggie's writing so when I first saw the 2 stars I started getting defensive... but you explain your opinion brilliantly. Personally, I love ambiguous prose, so to each their own. Honestly, I don't remember the leaking womb line, but yeah, that's is gross!

Kudos for the honest review!

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