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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