** spoiler alert **
I liked Shiver a lot. I thought that the mythology behind the wolves was very well done and an interesting twist.
There was a sparseness to the writing that made it feel like it was cold and wintery. It felt lonely and bleak, like the harsh winters of Minnesota.
There were a number of what I felt were plot holes. My assumption is this- the story is written for young adults who have an idea (a fairy tale ideal?) of what young love could be or should be and the pesky rules and real world just get in the way. By removing some of the authority that should be in the lives of all of these teenagers, the author is able to let her teenagers run wild (literally) and the story can unfold as the author likes.
Where did the Culpepers' go? I have a hard time believing that Sam could be in the house for all that time and Grace's parents didn't notice. Sure, there were a few places in the story where the author made a point to show us how careful Sam and Grace were to not get caught and yet there were other times where that carefulness seemed to go by the wayside.
The extremely close third person POV was at times nice but at others, very limiting. We didn't get a lot of time with Olivia or Jack or Isabel and it would have been a much richer story if we had been able to see things from their perspective as well.
Don't get me wrong- I liked this book a lot. I liked Sam and I liked Grace. Despite other reviewers, I did not see her at all like Bella from Twilight. Grace had something about her that felt real to me. She was proactive- her entire life was not about things happening to her but Grace was able to make decisions and create change for herself.
The fact that Grace has some abilities but not all of them is interesting and I'm wondering if Sam will be the same way in the second book. The idea of fever burning out the "disease" so that you were different but you wouldn't change works for me- adds some science to the fantasy of the whole thing. I liked that the author didn't pick a side- it could be science, it could be magic but what is magic but science that we don't understand yet.
Sam made me think of Ryan from the OC with a bit of Seth thrown in, in the looks department. Quiet soul, deep spirit, smart guy but caught in a bad situation. I wanted Grace and Sam to be together but I'm not sure if it was because of their personalities or if it was their "tragic" love story.
I found myself liking Isabel, event though I didn't really want to. Not enough Rachel to have an opinion on her- she felt like a character put in the story to be the subject of a sequel, which I guess is fine but I wish that she would have had more story time. I mean, there were a few lines about Grace and Isabel going over to Rachel's to bake cookies- why didn't we see any of that? If I were Rachel, I would have thought that was weird, esp. since grace wasn't friends with Isabel before hand.
And Shelby- she tries to kill Grace and fails, gets hurt but survives and then…. Nothing? Where did she go? Why did she stop trying? She didn’t seem to be the kind of creature that thought about it logically- Sam would turn eventually and Shelby would have him again to try to make him hers. So why did she just give up?
Lots of questions that you could bring up about this story but none of them were deal breakers for me. The story was beautifully written, sexy and sweet and gentle, despite the violence inherent in the story. I did feel like there could be a true love there, between Grace and Sam, the various clues about how often they watched each other made it seem more plausible. I did think that it was a bit uneven, in that Sam knew so much about Grace and she knew so little about Sam but that's not a major quibble.
I was totally taken in by the ending. I loved it and was so sad to read that the sequel isn't coming out until next year. GAH!