I decided to celebrate by staying up late last night reading with a glass of wine, then staying in my pajamas until 4 (!!!), continuing to read until I finished my book. Which book consumed my Saturday this time? Today it was Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I'll admit, this book did not initially grab me. In fact, I started and abandoned it two or three times in the past few months. Even so, after one of the book club girls recently finished the book and insisted that it got really good, I gave it another chance this weekend. And, in true Miss Teacher form, I fell for this book. When I get "into" a book, it tends to consume me...remember what happened with Twilight??? Thankfully, this captivating book came at exactly the right time and was a great escapist start to my spring break.
I'm almost embarrassed to admit to those of you who are unfamiliar with this title that Shiver is a teen werewolf romance novel... In fact, it's another semi-personality-devoid heroine falls in love with supernatural creature, chaos ensues story. Additionally, in true Edward-Bella-Jacob fashion, the love of the two protagonists in Shiver is not only intense and all-consuming, but IMMEDIATE. Sound familiar? I KNOW. I know. Never in my life did I think I would have enjoyed this book as much as I did. But I really loved it. I know what you're thinking...but please, indulge me for another moment here...
Shiver is the story of Grace, a seventeen year old high school student who has harbored an inexplicable obsession with the wolves in the woods behind her house ever since she was attacked by them as a child. It is also the story of Sam, a brooding, dreamy eighteen year old with one complicating flaw: he changes into a werewolf each winter when the temperature begins to drop. The chapters in this teen romance alternate between the voices of these two characters, describing their impossible love story that begins when, at age 11, Sam (as a wolf) saves Grace's life after she is mauled by other more vicious members of the pack.
After the attack, Grace watches the wolves (one in particular) for years until, after they begin to attract some negative publicity in the town of Mercy Falls, she finds her Sam, in human form, bleeding to death from a gunshot wound he sustained while a wolf. From that moment on, Grace and Sam are inseparable. (No seriously. He moves into her bedroom. Her parents are oblivious. Again, sound familiar?) The two begin a seemingly impossible battle to stay together in spite of obstacles that pop up one after another. (I did appreaciate the fact that, unlike Twilight, this book had a plot throughout, instead of about 400 pages of exposition and 100 pages of actual plot.)
All of the Twilight similarities aside, the story is definitely unique unto itself. It's not the Bella-Edward-Jacob story retold; in fact, it's superior to Twilight in so many ways. First of all, Stiefvater actually has a clue about writing whereas Meyer doe not. Second, while the romance between Grace and Sam is, like Edward and Bella's, far more intense than any young adult literary romance probably should be (in my humble opinion, at least), Sam is NOT a creepy, controlling douchebag in the way that both Jacob and Edward tend to be (as much as I love them. Read more of my thoughts on this topic here). In fact, I am officially on Team Sam from now on. (In the YA supernatural genre, at least. None of them hold a candle to Peeta. Hunger Games wins again.)
Grace and Sam captivated me and I found myself fighting on their side with every page, wishing that they could overcome the obstacles separating them and find some way to be together. When I finished, I was crushed to find out that all copies of Linger (book 2 in the trilogy) were checked out at my public library. I need to read it immediately!! (Don't worry, one of the book club girls is meeting me Monday morning to give me her copy! Phew!) Shiver is not a perfect novel by any means, but I loved reading it, and would recommend it to any Twi-hard or YA fan who needs something light for a weekend read.