But Shiver is much more than a pretty picture.
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 be left howling alone at the lonely moon.
Werewolf stories are nothing new, but Shiver is. Told in the dual narratives of our two protagonists, Grace and Sam, Shiver is the story of the star-crossed (though perhaps winter-crossed, is more appropriate) lovers, and their fight to stay together against forces far beyond their control. This, to me, was one of the most interesting aspects of the story. There is really no antagonist to this story--perhaps the lycanthropic condition, combined with seasonal change, is the villain, rather than an individual being.
Shiver's wolves are a refreshing and unique take on a much loved, but much done, genre. I hate to ruin the surprise myself, because it's such a clever and absorbing moment in the story.
The book is told in easily digestible sections, perfect for short sittings (if you can put it down), but the story flows beautifully, and I personally adored Stiefvater's prose (so smooth, 'flowy' and lyrical).
While one could say Shiver shares a lot in common with a great number of other YA PNR around (werewolves, lonely protagonist, absent parents and love story), it had its own special, unique spark that, months after reading it, keeps it fresh in my mind. It should go down a treat with those who like YA paranormal, but the story is told so tenderly and with such beautiful restraint, I believe it could appeal to non-genre readers.
Gripping, hopeful and heartbreaking, I found the story kept me wondering till the very last page.
I flat-out adored Shiver.
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