More Maggie Stiefvater Week! WOOT! Here's our co-review of Shiver from last August. Remember, Maggie will be here on Wednesday for a brand new interview, we'll post our crazy quad-review of Linger and on Thursday we'll post our giveaway -- you can win an ARC and a hardcover copy of Linger!
Frankie and Donna here to bring you another one of our co-reviews -- our easygoing, conversational way of raving about a book we love and squeeing over all the parts we love as readers and admire as fellow writers.
Today we will review Shiver by the super-uber talented Maggie Stiefvater.
And so without further ado, let is introduce to you, Shiver.
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.
Ok here we go!
Frankie 45°F - It’s really cold right now, maybe we should let up on the air conditioning.
Donna – But we can’t, because we’re in our favorite Target Starbucks. We don’t control this weather. So how about you stop whining and we start co-reviewing?
Frankie (puts on her sweatshirt) now it feels like 50°F -- Fine. Ok, how about we start with the fact that I have already read Shiver and now listened to the audio and I’m ready to dive in a third time. Seriously, I liked Shiver the first time I read it, but I didn’t realize the effect it had on me until a few weeks later when it was released (I was lucky enough to score an ARC). Shiver is the sort of book that touches you unexpectedly and it stays with you. There are so few books like this. I want to hug it.
Donna – I know! I found the whole novel very poetic, almost haunting. It’s very low-key, but there’s a sense of urgency throughout the whole thing because Sam knows it’s his last year being a human, and he’s just begun to connect with Grace. I was completely drawn in to their story, and I found myself caring for the characters.
Frankie (thinks about Sam) now it feels like 55°F - I was so impressed with the pacing and the lyrical nature of the novel. Whenever Maggie ended the chapter with a cliffhanger, there was something subtle and organic about it. I could see another writer (myself cough cough) being too tempted to turn this into a suspenseful, action-packed story, but Maggie was brave enough to let Sam and Grace speak for themselves, allow the love to speak for itself and carry the story and this is why I think the story stays with you and why you find yourself caring so much. Oh also…Sam…
Donna (getting a little warm) – Never did I think I’d want to fall in love with a werewolf. Think of all the shedding on the carpets! And wet dog smell! But oh no, somehow Maggie made Sam’s unfortunate condition a non-issue, and even the less attractive parts of werewolf-dom are easily forgettable. Face it, it’s much more difficult to make readers accept someone falling for a werewolf as opposed to the ever-popular vampire. But it worked!
Frankie (thinks of werewolf nookie) 60°F! -- Oh but I loved Grace too. One thing about her was that she was clearly a character who had suffered and whose suffering had impacted her personality and the way she lived her life. She didn’t see herself as a victim or spend time dwelling on the fact that her parents barely noticed her- (aaah Donna just hijacked the computer)….
Donna – Sorry! I just had an exciting thought! One of the most memorable moments of me for Grace’s character was when she compared herself to her shy friend Olivia, saying that they were both quiet, but Grace chose to be more reclusive whereas Olivia couldn’t help but be anything but painfully shy. And also, I loved overall how Maggie handled the complexities of the friendship between Grace, Olivia, and Rachel.
Frankie (still thinking about werewolf nookie) 65°F (removes sweatshirt) -- Grace was just such a wonderful strong female role model and she was different from most characters we see in YA, very pragmatic, not prone to crying or curling up and hiding waiting for someone to save her. What was unique about Shiver was that although Sam was the supernatural supposedly stronger of the two, she was the one coming to his rescue every time (well except for the first time). Sam could have easily been a strong alpha male, but the way he saved Grace was more emotional. His love was her saving grace (haha no pun intended). And I loved that aspect of the story, physically Grace had to save her wolf-it made them equally strong, equals and completely compatible and believable.
Donna – And it just has to be said – the romantic tension and fulfillment was…wow. (Alright I’m amping us up to 70°F.) Sam is a very artistic character; he’s constantly reading poetry and literature, he composes song lyrics in his mind – he sees beauty in the world. I think there’s a lot of Maggie in Sam, because she’s an artist in so many mediums in real life. (Check out her trailer for Shiver HERE.) And Sam describes the mythology of his werewolf existence in a beautiful, almost mournful way because he hasn’t been able to live a normal life, but the pack is his family.
Frankie 70°F -Yes, Beck was quite an interesting character. His relationship with Sam was so heartfelt, he loved him so much and cared for him, it was so clear in the text, although I can’t say I really agree with many of the choices he made. What do you think, Donna?
Donna – There were no villains in the story; everyone just made the best choices they could, and flawed people make flawed decisions sometimes. Alright, this train of thought has arrived at the station. What next?
Frankie – You’re a cheeseball.
Donna – Why you love me. Just keep talking about Shiver.
Frankie (checks temperature) Still 70°F -Ooooh I know! Let’s talk about the alternating points of view! I loved how the narration allowed for suspense to build, and how it also took us out of our comfort zone in regards to character safety. We all know that a first person narrative (unless we’re talking about The Lovely Bones or If I Stay) means that the main character cannot die, because hey, someone has to tell us how it ends. But with this story, it was possible for one narrator to go quiet and when they did…well we still had one narrator left, so really, all bets were off.
Donna – Nice one! One thing I appreciated was that Maggie didn’t feel obligated to alternate equally. Sometimes Grace had two chapters in a row, etc. As a slightly neurotic writer, I’m in awe of that freedom and how much it added to the story’s natural flow.
Frankie (thoughts shall be revealed) 75°F - So let’s flow on into some werewolf nookie discussion.
Donna – You and the darn werewolf nookie!
Frankie-I did it all for the nookie! WHAT! The nookie!! WHAT WHAT!
Donna – You did NOT just say that. I’m ashamed. And giggling. But yes, the nookie was wonderful. Maggie allowed every romantic scene to really be about Sam and Grace. Their personalities shaped how things unfolded, and I didn’t feel like I was reading the same tired kissing scenes from other books. (Not that I ever actually get tired of them…but you get my drift, right Frankie?)
Frankie 80°F - Uh-huh...Wow it’s really getting hot in here now.
Donna – If you burst out into Nelly I will walk away.
Frankie-Oh I can do much worse than Nelly. Ready?
Frankie- Ok, actually I can’t. How about instead we say Congrats Maggie on making the New York Times Bestseller List two weeks in a row and say HOT DAMN you moved from number 9 to number 5!
Donna – Well deserved! So in an effort to keep her on the list, here’s a LINK to Amazon to purchase your very own copy of Shiver! (Well well worth the money.) And if you can’t get enough of awesome Maggie, stalk her on her BLOG and WEBSITE. (Tell her First Novels Club sent you!)
Frankie 85°F -Then when you get your copy, hug it and squeeze it and read it and tell your friends. And Donna, I think our work here is done!
Ok we'd love to hear your reactions to our review, please leave comments -- because we love comments!