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. -Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads
Ok, so I am the first to admit that I am very late to this party. This book was published in 2009 and as far as I know, was immensely popular right off the bat. I kept meaning to catch up, but only just got the chance. I've seen a lot of reviews for Shiver over the years, and while I saw a lot of rave reviews, I also saw plenty of people complaining. Some readers don't like the dark blue ink. Others were bothered by the poetic, image-laden prose. Still more couldn't stand Sam, who they saw as overly sensitive. Having read the book, I can't honestly say that any of these claims were completely off base. I can say that I didn't mind in the least.
Really people? We're going to complain about a different color of ink? This is why we can't have nice things. If you get the chance, read this book in hardcover to enjoy the jacket art fully, and take a beat to appreciate the novelty of the ink. I thought it was really pretty and a nice change.
The prose? Yeah, sure, the plot is a bit slow moving and the prose will settle around you like falling snow, or a warm blanket. Again, this is a problem?? If you're a reader of this blog and at least some of the books I recommend, you couldn't ask for a better book to curl up with on a snowy day.
Finally: Sam. Yes, he's a sensitive lad. He cooks, writes songs, and reads German poetry. He takes Grace out for book store and hot chocolate dates, and follows her lead romantically. But you know what else he does? WRESTLE A WOLF WITH HIS BARE HANDS. Sam's no wimp, he's just not an alpha-male creepy stalker jerkbag like plenty of vampire/angel/demon characters I could mention from other stories. Again, fellow reviewers, THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.
Sure, I have a few quibbles with this book (when don't I, really). There were times when I wished Grace were a slightly better friend to her friends, or when I rolled my eyes at her complaining about her absent parents. Then again, it turns out her parents were almost dangerously neglectful of her at times- certainly she was hurt by their aloofness, and it was interesting to see a paranormal romance book that dealt with the whole Absent Parent Syndrome thing in a more direct way.
In the end, this, like most paranormal romances, is a story about first love- and Stiefvater does a marvelous job of telling that story. Complete with snow, books, hot coco, and full-puppy werewolves. Happy winter to me!