by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver

Children's book review by Tracey Fortkamp

A love story that gives a new twist to the werewolf legends

Ages 14 and older

“One wolf prodded his nose in my hand and against my cheek, casting a shadow across my face. His yellow eyes looked into mine while the other wolves jerked me this way and that.”

Grace has vivid memories of being attacked by a wolf pack as a child, especially of the wolf that saved her – the one with the haunting yellow eyes. Each winter, the pack returns to the woods behind her house. While she should be terrified of them, she actually longs for the moment that the wolf (her wolf) with the yellow eyes returns.

Many years pass and Grace and her wolf continue to be strangely drawn to each other. She even risks her own safety to be close to him, to feel his fur and look into his eyes. She never truly understands why she is so drawn to this animal.

by Maggie Stiefvater

When a boy in their town is suddenly attacked by the wolves, everything in Grace’s life changes. The town organizes a wolf hunt and Grace is petrified her wolf will be killed. She desperately runs through the woods trying to divert the hunting party’s attention from the woods behind her home.

As she steps out of her woods into her back yard, she is surprised to see a boy lying on her porch. The boy has been seriously wounded by a gunshot and needs her help. As she moves him from the porch, the boy pleads at her with his eyes – his haunting yellow eyes. All of the sudden she realizes that this boy is actually her wolf and her wolf’s name is Sam.

Grace is confused and elated to finally meet her wolf and is overflowing with questions. She takes him back to her home to recuperate and to learn what she can about him. Sam explains he was bitten by a wolf as a child and that is when he began changing into a wolf himself.

Needless to say Sam’s parents did not react well to their son being a wolf and he has very traumatic memories of how they chose to deal with the situation. Sam explains that he eventually went to live with the leader of his wolf pack, Beck, and surprisingly found not only a mentor, but a home as well.

by Maggie Stiefvater

Sam tries to help Grace understand his life as a wolf. He explains that unlike the legend he does not turn into a wolf at the full moon, but his change depends a great deal on the weather. The change occurs when the weather turns colder and in the warmer months he is human.

As the days grow more frigid, Grace and Sam know that their time together is limited. In recent years, Sam has noticed that his time as a human has become shorter and shorter. He is almost certain that he will soon take his wolf form forever.

Unlike other members of his pack, Sam has never embraced his wolf form. He has always felt that there is something more for him than a life as a wolf. And having finally met Grace, how can he possibly go back to being a wolf and watching her from afar?

Grace and Sam frantically search for some kind of cure or solution before time runs out. Each day, as the temperature drops, Sam finds it harder and harder to stay human. They both know that it may already be too late.

Sam cupped my face in his hands and looked me in the eyes. His eyes were yellow, sad, wolf, mine. "These stay the same. Remember that when you look at me. Remember it's me. Please.”

by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver is a beautiful and lyrical love story. Told from both Grace and Sam’s perspectives, author Maggie Stiefvater (Lament) has created a unique opportunity for the reader to become emotionally involved with both characters. The detailed development these characters is truly a gift to the reader.

From the moment they meet in human form, it is hard not to root for Sam and Grace’s love to last. Tension builds gradually through the story and it flows amazingly well. Readers will sympathize with Sam’s desire to remain human and stay with Grace, and will be on the edge of their seats anticipating his fate.

Many questions remain at the end of Shiver and fans will be excited to hear that it is just the first book in the series, The Wolves of Mercy FallsLinger, the sequel will be released in July, 2010.

Read more of Tracey's book reviews.

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