Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Werewolf
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publishing Type: traditional
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
Rated: Teen (13+)
Grace and Sam share a kinship so close they could be lovers or siblings. But they also share a problem. When the temperature slips towards freezing, Sam reverts to his wolf identity and must retreat into the woods to protect his pack. He worries that eventually his human side will fade away and he will left howling alone at the lonely moon. A stirring supernatural teen romance.
I downloaded the audiobook version of this novel from AudiobookSync.com and couldn't wait to listen to it. Glad I didn't hesitate. I was kind of leary about whether or not I'd like it, since I could tell the writing was sort of “flowery”, and I'm not a big fan of that. But, this book turned out to be fan-freaking-tastic! I fell into the story so quickly and easily, as if I were right there experiencing the entire saga with the characters. Everything came to life in my mind. I love when I have that type of experience with a story.
I also feel the shifting first-person POV between the two main characters, Grace and Sam, worked very well. I realize now that I like books that do this, although I haven't read very many that do. You get to see the story through both their eyes all along the way, and they are very convincingly different from each other—another reason this worked so well. The voice actors were magnificent and sounded exactly like how the characters should sound, age-wise and personality-wise.
I ended up falling in love with the premise of this book after getting into it because of how cleverly it deals with what is so seemingly cliché: teen girl falls in love with paranormal teen boy. That general idea sounds super boring and overdone nowadays, but this book makes it so new and fresh again, unlike any other take on it before. It's the natural way the characters come to know each other and fall in love that makes it work. The author mentions in a Q&A at the end of the audiobook that she wrote these two characters doing and saying what came naturally for them, not forcibly writing them into a set plot. It shows, and it's just brilliant.
Grace and Sam are wonderful characters, neither quirky nor unusual, but very realistic. That realism is what grabbed me because that's what I feel is necessary for a paranormal novel to succeed—the paranormal invades the real world in some small or large way, but it always seems as realistic as possible. Shiver succeeds wildly at this and I'm sure that had mostly to do with why I loved it so much. So glad there's two more books in this series to read...
My score: 5 out of 5 stars