When I decided to pick up Shiver and finally give it a try, I was feeling like I was the last person in the world to read the book. Now that I’ve finished it, I can see why everyone else has read and loved this book! It was everything I’d heard it was – basically, fantastic. I had put off reading Shiver for so long because I was nervous it would be Twilight with werewolves instead of vampires, and thank goodness it is NOT that. The only thing that is Twilight-esque about Shiver is the whole girl-meets-nonhuman-boy-and-falls-in-love thing; everything else about Shiver is purely original and purely awesome.
Let’s talk about the book, shall we? For those of you who don’t know much about the plot, Shiver‘s heroine is seventeen-year-old Grace, who has been obsessed with the wolves living behind her house ever since she was attacked by them at age nine. One wolf in particular has always had a special affection for Grace, even allowing her to pet and hold him one time. When a local teen is killed by the wolves, a group of hunters attempts to eradicate the town of them for good, and after the shooting, Grace finds an injured boy about her age shivering in the woods. She takes just one look at him and realizes that this boy, Sam, is her wolf in his human body.
I honestly did not believe that a book about the love between a werewolf boy and a human girl could be this good, this believable, this sweet. But it totally is all of those things. The relationship between Grace and Sam developed at such a natural pace I would forget at some points throughout the story that I was reading a fantasy novel and feel instead like I was reading a well-written young adult romance. The way Stiefvater managed to create these incredibly believable, likeable characters who also happened to be wolves half their lives was just amazing to me. I mean, I loved Sam. Had I read this book as a teenager, I would have pined for a Sam of my own. And he is a wolf! I am just mildly appalled that I managed to fall so much in love with a wolf!
I also really, really liked Grace. At the beginning of the book I was feeling like she was a little crazy and a lot strange for being so obsessed with these wolves, but once I got to know Sam and got to know Grace’s story, I liked her more and more. She came across as such an authentic character, and while I would have wanted Sam for myself as a teen, I would have wanted to be friends with Grace.
I experienced Shiver as an audiobook, and I thought the production was done very well. Jenna Lamia and David Ledoux did an excellent job channeling the personalities of Grace and Sam and they held my attention throughout the book. I was disappointed when I realized that my library doesn’t have the sequel, Linger, on audio right now. I’d love to listen to that one too; however I’ll have to settle for the print version.
In conclusion, Shiver is excellent and I highly recommend it. Don’t pass it up like I did in fear of it being too similar to other young adult fantasy novels – it is very unique and deserves a class all its own.