[Book Review] Shiver, or how one girl’s wolf obsession turns uncreepy when wolf becomes a boy

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)

Hey, an angsty teen romance I didn’t hate. What? Whaaat?

I keep swinging between two emotional extremes when it comes to this book. On the one hand, Shiver is so cute! It is sweet, and cute, and full of purple prose and sad lyrics and little poems. And cute.

On the other hand, it’s so stupid. Oh the inexplicable plot holes. Oh the silly beginning. Oh how you want to grab the characters and shake them till they do something™ about the obvious story devices being put into play. Oh how you want Sam to stop making up little sad song lyrics. Oh the crazy annoying ending. 

Shiver features Sam, the sensitive, handsome male lead who you just want to hug because his past is so terribly traumatic, and Grace, an emotionally-distant, mature-beyond-her-years-because-of-neglectful-parenting heroine who is kinda boring. But that’s okay because Sam is so sweet, and tragic, and writes songs in his head, and plays guitar, and is, did I mention, sweet and tragic?

She’s a survivor of a werewolf attack who’s never changed. He’s a werewolf, and it’s his last year as a human.

If you can get past the premise of the story (girl meet wolf, girl falls for wolf, wolf turns out to be boy, girl happy she made the right call when she fell in love with a wolf) and swallow the fact the relationship is built on mutual obsession (the soulmates trope, I guess, though it’s never explicitly confirmed), it’s a sweet story. The take on the traditional werewolf is cool and different. Sam and Grace have a connection that made me smile with stupid-happy. They cuddle. They share and try to talk through the tragic things in their life. They are cute together. They are heartbreaking.

Lovely moments galore.

Full disclosure is also probably called for: I probably would have been gagging over Grace’s Wolf-Sam obsession and Sam’s lyrics sprinkled across the pages (a deal-breaker for me in most books) if I hadn’t had one major advantage over the purple prose. I was listening to the audiobook version of Shiver, not reading the darn thing. Sure, the writing styles for the two characters are alike and full of big imagery and metaphors, but they’re also being performed by two great voice actors. And the songs in the book, that’s performed too!

I have a weakness for a feelgood read with plenty of drama, and that Shiver delivers. If you’re looking for a YA werewolf adventure, skip this book, or prepare to get angry and frustrated in equal measure.

___

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4 thoughts on “[Book Review] Shiver, or how one girl’s wolf obsession turns uncreepy when wolf becomes a boy

  1. Been a while since I read this, but I remember feeling exactly the same way. Really annoying read, but feel-good at the same time… Cute is the correct word for it.

  2. This book bewildered me when I first read it. Maggie Stiefvater is easily among my favorite YA authors because of The Raven Cycle and The Scorpio Races, but so much of the book is straight-up *redonkulous* that I couldn’t enjoy it (and I do not use words like “redonkulous” lightly). The writing was beautiful, though (as Stiefvater’s writing usually is), so that’s what pushed me through to the end. And once I got over the fact that Grace liked Sam even before she knew he was human 😐 , I did think their relationship was a sweet one.

    It still kind of amazes me, though, that the same author who produced something as wonderful as The Raven Boys produced this, too.

    • After reading this book, I actually wrote off ever picking up Raven Boys. Sounds like the Raven Cycle is a completely different beast that doesn’t have a mature-for-her-years teen falling in love with a big black bird that hangs out in her yard? Please confirm.

      • It’s definitely a completely different beast! I’d initially put off reading any of Stiefvater’s stuff because of Shiver as well (its reputation, more so than my experience reading it at the time), but The Raven Boys is so well-done and so unique in its execution that I struggle to come up with another YA book that’s quite like it. I highly recommend it! And The Scorpio Races, too, for that matter. That was the one that really changed my mind about her writing.

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