Callista 's Reviews > Shiver

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
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Nov 27, 11

bookshelves: nonurban-contemp-fantasy, four-star-novels, werecreatures
Read from November 20 to 26, 2011

** spoiler alert ** After some time and thought (and comparison to other books), I'm giving this 4 stars. It is the best YA paranormal romance I've read so far. There are several interesting characters. The plot is good, with plenty of tension and conflict. The descriptions are very sensuous--vivid sights, scents, sensations, tastes, and sounds. There's a new take on the werewolf idea, in which the form shift is triggered by temperature changes, with the time between shifts becoming shorter until one eventually stays a wolf. Moving to a warmer climate (the solution I thought of) doesn't help. But what happened to Grace and what Isabel figures out is a game changer. The last 100 pages especially are real page-turners. There's lots of authentic emotion; the anguish of the last several chapters brought me to the brink of tears a couple of times.
I could relate to Grace's tendency to feel things intensely but not really express her feelings clearly. It's good that she has friends--silly Rachel and serious Olivia--and does well in school. It bothered me when she started saying school felt like a waste of time after Sam (in human form) came into the picture, but she still attended classes and did her homework, anyway. At first, her six-year obsession with a wolf seemed odd. I could understand her gratitude because it saved her, but her affection seemed more like being in love. …But she turned out to have wolfish qualities herself, and she and Sam formed an instant connection. Their love at times seems a bit too obsessive…but first love can be that way, plus there's the notion of wolves mating for life. At least Grace and Sam spend a lot of time together talking and reading, in addition to the snuggling. I was thrilled that there's no love triangle for a change. Shelby's claim on Sam is a delusion.
Isabel seems a little convenient at times, though she's a smart cookie and her snarky dialogue made me laugh a couple of times. She may not be very nice, but she cares about her brother, Jack, and is willing to do whatever it takes to get answers about the werewolf problem, including grudgingly helping others.
I have some quibbles with elements of Sam's narrative voice. Yes, he was raised by a lawyer, he's an avid reader who especially enjoys poetry, and he's musical. I like nice guys, sensitivity is good; but even the most creative guy I've ever known never sounded quite like Sam.
Overall, the book held my attention and left me wanting more. Clearly, there will be more trouble from Shelby (literally and figuratively a bitch, but not melodramatically so), issues involving Beck's new recruits, more about Olivia, and more complications for Grace and Sam. I'm looking forward to reading the next book.

A note on why I've been reading YA paranormal romances. Harry Potter was my gateway back into YA. I'd left YA material behind in my 'tweens. But Harry Potter reminded me that some of the stuff out there could be all-ages good stuff. The Twilight phenomenon was too big to ignore, so I read it to find out what everyone was talking about. Disappointed, I've been looking for something better than Twilight, and there's been a lot on the shelves to choose from lately. Truth is, sometimes I want to read a romantic story full of yearning, tenderness, and sweetness, something with some character development and emotion, instead of the short cuts and ultra-graphic sex of adult so-called romance novels. I haven't found a perfect YA example yet but intend to keep looking, at least for a while.
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Reading Progress

11/23/2011 "An idea about an easy fix for the problem just occurred to me--they either better try it or there ought to be a darn good reason why not."

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