Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. (Grades 9+)
Scholastic, August 2009
Full disclosure: reviewed from ARC I snagged at ALA
Ever since she was a little girl, Grace has been visited by a wolf in the woods behind her house. This particular wolf seems to appear every winter and has the most amazing yellow eyes. After wolves attack one of her classmates, Grace's wolf appears to her one night... as a human. Sam. And Grace knows that she loves him. But she also knows that she's going to lose him. For as the temperature drops, Sam's days as a human are drawing to a close. And to be together, Grace and Sam have to be willing to risk everything.
Shiver was everything I wanted Twilight to be. There, I said it.
It's beautifully written. I didn't find any of the characters annoying. Both Grace and Sam narrate the story with chapters switching back and forth between their points of view. Even as Grace's obsession with Sam grows, she's still her own person.
I had one niggling complaint about the werewolf folklore, but it was answered towards the middle of the book. (I kept thinking, if you change when you get cold... move to Florida! But there's a reason they can't do that. It gets explained.)
I kept flagging passages of beautiful writing, like this one at the very beginning:
The day I nearly talked to Grace was the hottest day of my life. Even in the bookstore, which was air-conditioned, the hear crept in around the door and came in through the big picture windows in waves. Behind the counter, I slouched on my stool in the sun and sucked in the summer as if I could hold every drop of it inside me. As the hours crept by, the afternoon sunlight bleached all the books on the shelves to pale, gilded versions of themselves and warmed the paper and ink inside the covers so that the smell of unread words hung in the air.
This was what I loved, when I was human.
I knew at that point that I was in for a treat. It took me a little bit to get hooked into the story, but once I did, I didn't want to put the book down. I'm not sure what else I have to say about it. I'd promptly hand it over to Twilight fans (hi, Melody!) or fans of paranormal romance.
Check out this gorgeous book trailer created by the author:
Oh, and there's a companion novel coming out in Fall 2010, Linger.
And read more reviews at The Compulsive Reader, Presenting Lenore, The Well-Read Child, GreenBeanTeenQueen, and Shooting Stars Mag.
Plus, read a Cynsations interview with Maggie Stiefvater and Ms. Stiefvater's thoughts about the worst review she's received over at The Worst Review Ever (OMG what a cool idea for a blog!).