SHIVER By Maggie Stiefvater

 In Romance YA, YA Paranormal, Young Adult

I know I have been promising to back off my reading obsession and I have slightly, but I couldn’t resist beginning the Mercy Falls Trilogy…plus the librarian is a really bad influence on me. Anyway, the book is a beautiful tale of love, doggy style…werewolf that is. (I know, crass and totally uncalled for, but I just couldn’t resist)

I didn’t think I would be into the whole lycanthrope story, too many horrible Jacob/Taylor Luatner flashbacks. Large, arctic white oral veneers and a slightly prehensile forehead chasing Bella through the woods while morphing into a giant CG auburn coated wolf was bad enough to endure once, I didn’t want to read an entire book about it, but I was pleasantly surprised. No giant wolf, just a kid struggling with what he becomes when it gets cold and who he wants to be for the one he loves.

The writing flows effortlessly around beautifully articulated scenes and Maggie Stiefvater’s words are borderline poetic. It is very descriptive but not forced, unlike many sappy pseudo-romantic young adult novels (ahem…Twilight). This girl can actually write. The dialogue is witty and age appropriate; not my age – I happen to be inappropriate, but perfect for young adults.

What I truly loved about this book were the character voices. Each one was so distinct and contrasted that I felt like I was sitting in the room listening in on a conversation. There was no need for the repetitive (and unnecessary) “said Sam” or “Isabel stated”, you just knew who was speaking. Sam was kind and compassionate, Isabel snarky but hysterically irreverent, Olivia was a brooder and kind of bitchy, Rachel rambles, and the lead protagonist Grace made me the happiest with her sarcasm and no-nonsense attitude. She wasn’t whiny or irrational, she was just a normal teenager with less than perfect parents who was dealing with the hand she was dealt. I loved her.

If you get a chance to check it out, please do. I can’t promise you will like it because it isn’t fast paced or full of dog fights, but it is smart and original and sweet. Now I must leave because my pusher (the librarian) is holding the sequel Linger. Ciao!

Sara O'Connor
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