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. A stirring supernatural teen romance.
**Review is of the audio version of Shiver, listened to on a Playaway Audio device**
Werewolves aren’t generally my favorite sort of paranormal books, but I liked Stiefvater’s take on the genre and I felt that she had some original ideas. The cold changing the people into wolves was an interesting take. For that matter, so was the fact that they weren’t ACTUALLY werewolves. Not in the usual sense, anyway.
Sam’s story is truly heartbreaking. I don’t want to give too much away, but we find out how he came to be the way he is, what his past was like, etc. and you just can’t help but feel awful for him. Especially since he has no desire to be what he is and all he ever wanted to be was a normal kid. Grace is very likeable too, and although she’s obviously better off than Sam, her life is far from perfect as well. I liked that it was not glossed over that Grace’s relationship with her parents was superficial, and although Sam has it much worse in a lot of ways, he has more of a close-knit family than Grace does. She envies HIM what he has. And star-crossed lovers don’t get more star-crossed than Sam and Grace. I hate that expression because it’s so cliche, but it fits here.
Aside: I realize that this isn’t in the spirit of the thing, but I wondered why if cold turned you into a wolf and you didn’t want to be a wolf, why would you stay in Minnesota instead of moving somewhere tropical? Or even, like, Florida? It gets cold there but it’s pretty rare. Or why not just become a shut-in during winter months with the heat cranked up to 90 degrees? This was actually answered and I was glad for it. It just seemed like too big a plot hole not to address.
The narrators here are really good, especially the female one. She sounds like a teenager and not an adult pretending to be a teenager, which is crazy since I’m pretty sure she’s in her mid-30s unless there’s another Jenna Lamia out there narrating audiobooks.
Maggie Stiefvater has a gift with words. Her writing is very lyrical. That said, sometimes the descriptions of things were almost toooo descriptive and I felt my mind wandering. Specifically, the candy shop scene where descriptions of what Grace is smelling seem to go on foreveah and evah. Would I have thought so if I were reading the print book? I’m not sure. But in the breathy voice of the narrator, I started getting kind of restless and ready for things to move on. I also had an issue with the animal violence, which I’ve mentioned many times before. This time, I actually did have to skip to the end of a chapter because it was discussing dog fighting in a fairly descriptive (IMO) manner. I had to skip it. I just couldn’t do it. These were my only complaints, though. Everything else was great. Really looking forward to reading the next book in the series!