Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary from Goodreads:
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

I would like to give thanks to my friend who has become my personal paranormal lending library. And since I have already covered witches, vampires, trolls, and shadowhunters, it's time to get to know me some werewolves.  

The good news: 

I liked the added twist in werewolf lore, debunking the full moon myth and instead tying the changing from man to wolf to temparature. A cold atmosphere triggers change. A warm one allows for staying human. I liked that every chapter has a temparature reading to indicate how cold (or warm) it is in that part of the story.  

There are certain heartwarming scenes that stood out. Sam and Grace's Bookstore visit and their Candy Store Date. There are books and poetry reading and candies and caramels and hot chocolate and love in the air. It was pretty sweet, pun not intended. All conveyed, through descriptive words that appeal to our sense of smell and not to our sense of sight because from a werewolf's perspective that is their most heightened sense. So it was quite refreshing experiencing the candy store through the the smell of licorice and the waft of peppermint instead of describing the colors found in the candy store.  

The plot was good. Slow at first because it's kind of wordy, but not sluggish enough to warrant boredom. I had pre-judged that anything about werewolves would include too much testosterone, rough housing, howling, growling, biting, and pack fights. But Shiver was surprisingly tame and I liked that. It focused more on the origins of the werewolves, Sam in particular, and their own personal inner struggles of accepting who they are now most especially in relation to a human like Grace. There was a smattering of wolf attacks and a particular juicy revelation (which shall remain unrevealed in this review) that added excitement and prevented me from drowning on the lovey-dovey romance of Sam and Grace. 

The bad news:

The story seemed to be following the Twilight formula and half of the paranormal titles in the market. An instant connection / pull between Grace and Sam before they even actually meet each other which soon develops into obsession on both parties.

The characters were just okay for me. I did not hate them but I did not particularly love them either. But I appreciated Sam's and Grace's contrasting personalities with the former being the artistic and creative one; the latter being the practical, matter-of-fact one. I did like Beck though, Sam's father figure and every newbie wolf's coach / guidance counsellor. I found him to be a layered character holding many secrets and mysteries. I thought his back story was pretty good.   

All in all, it's good not great. Maybe only because this is not a genre I particularly prefer. But I think I found there to be a certain something about this book that made me read it all the way through, with less eye-rolling. Perhaps it because it's more wholesome and more silent than most that I've read under the genre which I found quite refreshing. I think it's a good book to start when it comes to werewolf lore.  

Entry #1 for the AWBRC hosted by Gathering Books

Awards received: Georgia Peach Book Award (2011), An ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2010), Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award Nominee (2011), ALA Teens' Top Ten (2010), Children's Choice Book Award Nominee for Teen Choice Book of the Year (2010), Florida Teens Read Nominee (2010), Teen Read Award Nominee for Best Read (2010), Voya Perfect Ten (2009), The Inky Awards for Silver Inky (2010), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2012)


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