A few weeks ago I came home to find an envelope from Scholastic on my porch. I opened it and let out a little yelp of joy, as a copy of Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver fell into my hands. I had just mentioned here how much I wanted to read it but figured I would have to wait until its publication in August. First of all, the cover design is absolutely gorgeous- a stark design of blue and white. And now that I have read Shiver, I can attest that Stiefvater’s writing is even more beautiful than the cover. Lyrical, yet stark at appropriate times, her subtle characterizations will leave you in tears.
Sam lives a double life- one in the warmer months of summer and one in the winter. During the warmer months of spring and summer he’s human. But when the cooler temperatures of winter begin to chill the earth, he shape shifts into a wolf for the winter. Each year that he changes, his time as a human becomes shorter and shorter. Sam knows that eventually he will remain a wolf forever, leaving behind all of his human emotions and attachments. But through it all, human or wolf, he watches and loves Grace, the girl who sits on her swing and doesn’t shy away from his stare.
Grace loves the wolves that run through the woods behind her house; some people might even say she’s obsessed. And this is despite the fact that she was attacked by the wolves as a young child, dragged into the woods and almost killed. However, she was saved by a wolf with striking yellow eyes. She watches and loves him, never understand why she’s filled with such longing for what she sees as “her” yellow-eyed wolf. When she meets Sam, a boy with those same striking yellow eyes, she is immediately drawn to him. As impossible as it seems, she knows he is her wolf. Her savior. And her obsession.
Soulmates, they know they are meant to be together. But Sam knows that their time together will come to an end. He knows this is his last summer. What are they willing to do for the chance of more time together?
Maggie Stiefvater may be one of the best writers I have ever read when it comes to creating chemistry between two characters. The love between Grace and Sam is palpable between the pages of the book. The story is told by both Grace and Sam, making it even more magical. Stolen glances, brushes against each other, and silent looks of longing create a love between a girl and werewolf that is completely believable. In fact, Sam and Grace may surpass Bella and Edward when it comes to forbidden love! But unlike Bella, Grace is a solid, strong heroine. And Sam is human and flawed, though he sometimes may seem perfect to Grace.
This is a romance for the ages- poetic, lyrical, soft, bittersweet, and full of longing. Stiefvater is a gifted writer and I fully admit that she had me sobbing at points during the story. I can’t believe that I have to wait until 2010 for the next book in the series!
But the true sign of a book that will be a huge hit? One of my girls was paging through the book when she saw it on my desk. She begged me to loan it to her and I said I couldn’t, not until I finished reading it. Today, I was reading the last 10 pages during our independent reading time, while she sat and stared at me, willing me to finish. I handed my ARC over and within minutes she was gushing about how amazing the first 3 chapters are. I fully expect her to come in tomorrow with the book finished, and I know she’ll be raving about it to all of her classmates!