I've been looking hard for books about WereWolves since the Vampire craze began, so when this book ended up on my list, I couldn't wait to read it. I went into this book being told that 'Shiver' was considered 'Twilight: Team Jacob' and I'm biased and prefer werewolves to vampires anyways, so I could bear with the comparison.
For a book advertised as being about WereWolves, I was expecting the wolfed out hero to spend time in his wolf form. The first two or three chapters were fine in that aspect, but soon after Sam fought his wolf instincts and spent most of his time as a human than he did getting in touch with his furrier side. While we do get details about his life as a wolf and catch glimpses of his pack here and there, I found it wasn't enough. It seemed like he was only telling stories for Grace's amusement, to calm her worries about them.
During the course of 'Shiver', Grace and Sam remind the readers that it's cold and getting colder. It's always cold, but has been colder or could get colder. The air is always cool, there is frost always biting someones nose, cheeks are always rosy and everyone is bundled in winter clothing. Always.
Barely there Parents: She respected her parents a little more then most girls in the other YA Paranormal books I've read, however her parents seemed just as absent as the parents in most YA these days. It's mostly just a plot device to give the girl and guy a little more freedom, I know, but Grace's parents just seemed distanced from her. Once she met her wolf's human form, her parents faded even more. I thought she had a reasonable relationship with her dad, at least, but it's revealed he left her in the car on a hot afternoon, the heat nearly killing her. This fact lends itself as a plot device later on. I thought Grace would have acted out more towards her neglectful parents instead of staying home to cook them dinner and clean up after them. She acted more like a single mother to her parents, more so then they acted like parents to an only child. I was totally bothered by the scene between her mother and Grace when they took Sam to the hospital and Grace's mother tells her to stay away from him. Grace responded with a rather cruel statement along the lines of 'It's too late for you to start 'proper parenting' me now.' and it was left at that. Her mother didn't even put up a fight, just sighed and left her alone.
Wise and Golden Eyes: She's smart, she's behaved and has things all figured out. Like Bella Swan and Nora Grey among others were also quoted in the series they starred in as acting older and wise beyond their years. Sam is good looking with sad and beautiful golden eyes.
Fast Love: Her obsession with 'her wolf' is eerily boarder line high school crush and when she finds out Sam is human, it just seems all to convenient. Grace worries about her Wolf being 'Human' then worries about her human becoming a 'Wolf', prior to her knowledge of this being his final year.Sam comes off more as a dead beat boyfriend to me, hanging out in her bed at night and using her car when she's at school. Even when it's revealed that his adoptive father has a house he knows he can go to. Upon investigation the couple discovered the house to have food and heat. Props to Sam though, for actually taking Grace out on dates and trying to get to know her. NOT warning her constantly that at any moment he could turn into a hungry beast, for her to stay away, only to follow her around like a lost puppy a day later.
Quote from their first 'real' date:(Waitress) “Seriously. How long have you been going out?”
Sam let go of my hands to get his wallet and took out some bills. “Six years.”
I wrinkled my nose to cover a laugh. Of course he would count the time that we’d been two entirely different species.
Keep in mind that Grace would have been around 11 and Sam would have been 12.
Aggressor and Aggressee: I suppose the getting into bed with her the morning after he reveals himself as human was another trope where the girl is suppose to be the aggressor in the relationship and the guy has to be the one to fend her off, or be shy and bashful. Grace was very insistent about him getting under the covers with her. I always enjoy new twists on lore on any supernatural being from Werewolf to Vampire. I don't like hearing about it while Sam is sucking on Grace's neck. Maybe it's my 26 years showing, but I cringed every time Sam and Grace called each other 'Sexy'. A lot of Sam's chapters made Grace seem a little more sexually aggressive then her own chapters made her seem. The characters having sex added nothing to the story except spur a paragraph long argument as to whether Grace wanted it to get back at her parents.
Most Girls: Her friends become static and stereotypical. Rachel is hyperactive and supports the Sam/Grace relationship and Oliva, who hasn't spoken to Grace after a fight about the wolves, is the quiet one. Isabella is the school's resident 'Bitch' who turns out not to be so bad, while Shelby is the pack's resident 'Bitch', no pun intended. All other characters mostly reside in Sam's memory to tell about his past, some of them show up towards the end to reveal new plot twists.
Other Points of interest:
Sam gets shot early on in the book as a wolf and turns human, which in the book is highly uncommon for Werewolves to do so because once it's cold, the wolves are wolves until late spring: “I was not a wolf, but I wasn’t Sam yet, either. I was a leaking womb bulging with the promise of conscious thoughts...” There is nothing about that quote that I find appealing or poetic.
From the start of this book , I kept mentally calling Sam and Grace as Derek and Chole. The latter characters coming from Kelly Armstrong's 'The Darkest Powers' Trilogy, I can't help but compare the two couples, both being from the same age group and coming from YA paranormal.
Although I listened to the Audio Book, the cover for the book itself is nice. A nice step away from the red and white highlights on black.
The four page chapters with shifting narrators. Could have worked if more story was told during these chapters, but with their lengths, I felt myself getting pulled out of the story and to much information was being repeated.
Maggie does do a great job of describing Sam's agony.
I'm not even half tempted to read the squeal 'Linger'. I found the duo narrator aspect of 'Shiver' to bothersome for me to stay focused on the story. For 'Linger' Maggie Stiefvater adds two more narrators on top of Sam and Grace and over all, 'Shiver' felt finished when Sam turned human. There were no loose ends, very few questions left unanswered, there was very little that left me intrigued to read anymore adventures the couple could go on.