Shiver is another Young Adult choice, and I have to say, if the characters hadn’t been teenagers, I would never have guessed YA. The depth of emotion was a lot deeper than any other YA book I’ve read. Fans of Twilight will gobble this up!
So our story begins when, as a small child, the main character, Grace, is dragged into the forest by a pack of wolves. She is saved by one wolf in particular, a wolf with yellow eyes, the same wolf she sees every winter in the woods behind her home. Even though the wolves attacked her, over the years she finds comfort in their presence and every Christmas she looks forward to seeing her wolf in woods.
When Grace is 17, a schoolmate is killed, mauled to death by wolves. The town is in an uproar and the neighbors gather a shooting party together to hunt down the pack that lives in the wood. Grace is terrified that they’ll kill her wolf, and she searches for him, only to discover him, wounded and bleeding, on her back porch. In the shape of a human. There is no doubt that this is her wolf, though. He has the same eyes.
And so we discover that Sam is a werewolf, by summer a boy, but when the cold creeps in, he turns into a wolf. A different take on the werewolf myth, but a welcome change. Stiefvater explains some of the mythology, but really, you’re so focused on Grace and Sam, you hardly think about the mythology.
It’s October and the chances of Same turning wolf are greater with every drop of the thermometer. Sam believes that this is the last time he’ll be human, that the wolf will consume him. Grace believes that there’s a cure, but it’s life or death to test it out on Sam. To make matters worse, members of Sam’s pack are trying to break Sam’s link with Grace and return him to his wolf form.
Stiefvater’s book is well paced, and there’s enough intrigue and action to keep you on your toes, but it all falls to the side when you see how Grace and Sam are with each other. You focus on the relationship, the fleeting moments that they steal, and it feels real. Both Sam and Grace are full characters and the emotions are perfectly played out.
I would recommend this book to just about anyone. I read it in a day, but I’m still thinking about the characters. It definitely sticks in your head. The way Stiefvater decribes the cold, you really shiver just reading about it. Great title, great book, now go read it!