Shiver, first published in 2009, is the first book in the "Wolves of Mercy Falls" series by Maggie Stiefvater. It is published by Scholastic and is 400 pages. The second book, Linger has recently been released in hardcover.
In Mercy Falls, Minnesota, seventeen-year-old Grace has an affinity for wolves. But not just any wolf. Her wolf. The wolf with yellow eyes. Six years ago, this wolf saved her from being eaten by the rest of his pack, and since then, she’s been obsessed with him. But when a boy from her school disappears, it sparks a chain of events that leads Grace to discover three things: her wolf is actually a human boy; his name is Sam; and he’s been in love with her for the past six years. Now united, they must fight against nature itself in order to stay together.
Honestly, I’m not usually into this kind of book. Paranormal romance has never really suited my fancy, especially since Twilight was published (sorry guys, not a fan). The genre just has too much angst for my liking. So naturally, I started out believing that this was going to be one of the “He-is-my-drug-and-I-need-him-to-survive” books. But as I read on I found myself enjoying this book so much that I was actually sad to see it end. Sure, there’s a few desperate, “I need him” moments, but they weren’t terribly angsty or drawn-out and emo as Bella’s were in Twilight.
The way werewolves were handled was incredibly original (or original for my standards, since I don’t read much paranormal teen romance): Humans bitten by infected wolves transform when they get too cold, rather than when the moon is full or at will. They are a victim to the seasons, and with fall fast approaching in Shiver, was the main source of the drama and tension in this book. But I think what made this book a good read for me were the characters. I was struck by how charming and poetic Sam's narrations were and how easily the dialogue flowed between ALL characters. I believed I was listening to high schoolers speak, rather than just an adult writing them. I especially liked Grace as a main character—she was level headed for the most part, and handled the paranormal activity like a champ. However, though Sam and Grace made a cute couple, it disturbed me how “in love” they were acting in the beginning of the book without much character development between the two (unless interspecies stalking counts as a bonding experience). There were a few moments where I felt Grace borderlined on being out of character, just to supply the reader with a cute, flirtatious quip or action. I know this is book is listed as a romance, but there is such a thing as stretching it. Despite this, Stiefvater did a good job of making me feel sympathetic towards Sam and Grace, and by the end of the book I was actually anxious to see if they could save Sam (as well as the other werewolves).