For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
Even though I am not into YA in general I read Shiver along with Carin because I have heard a lot of good things about it. I like the "lovers who can’t stay together due to circumstances" topic, so I was not disappointed with the general idea of the story.
Grace and Sam have been in love for what seems like forever, even though they didn’t know each other in person. Very romantic. I liked the uncomplicated plot without many twists and turns which made for a quick and pleasant read, I suppose this is quite typical of a YA story where there are not obstacles at every corner (and given the situation there could have been A LOT of them).
I already said in my update #1 of the readalong that I didn’t get the Fahrenheit degrees at all, which supposedly took some of the building tension away. In retrospect I am pretty sure knowing my way around Fahrenheit wouldn’t have made a big difference. OK, it got colder and change was coming closer – I got that without the exact temperature info, especially since the indicators of when Sam would change were more than unreliable anyway.
It seemed the wolves changed at random, yes, based on the seasons, but nobody knew exactly when they would change, when they would change back, when they would stay a wolf for good etc. I found this quite confusing. It wasn’t as if with the temperature reaching a certain point the change would invariably happen, so I am not sure what the temperature was supposed to tell us exactly.
The fact that Grace’s parents were totally oblivious to the fact that Sam was practically living in their house was strange to say the least. OK, they left Grace pretty much to her own devices but how can parents be so clueless and uninterested? This could have been one source of conflict that was not fully explored here. Grace deals with it in her head, but never confronts her parents.
I have heard from someone that a few people have complained about Grace having no backbone. I really have no idea where those people are coming from. I liked her. She was matter-of-fact, independent, reliable and quite practical when it came to helping Sam out in tricky situations or when she was with Jack and had to think of a way to get help for herself.
Another thing I had also read somewhere before was that Sam was constantly writing song lyrics reflecting his emotions. That sounded rather interesting, but somehow I didn’t particularly care for them. The choice of poetry that Sam read to Grace was equally unsatisfactory to me. I love poetry but Rainer Maria Rilke wouldn’t have been my first choice if I wanted to introduce someone to either poetry or German.
One side character I particularly liked was Isabel, Jack’s sister. Even though at first she is the condescending, rich and spoilt girl with her little dog in her purse, she later turns out to be helpful and sincere. Her snappy way and bitchy attitude could not hide the fact that she is a good person after all. From what I read she will be also a major character in "Linger", the sequel to "Shiver", and I am really looking forward to reading more about her.
I’m not sure whether I liked the ending. First of all, the whole cure theory and the execution of administering it was more than dubious. Was it realistic how Isabel got the blood? Was it realistic how they got them all to the hospital and out again? That all sounded very half-baked and it was happening too fast.
The re-unification of Grace and Sam was, well, nice, but I was missing some sort of explanation as to what happened to him after he ran away. Grace assumed he was dead, and then, all of a sudden, he returns and that’s it? That was anticlimatic. I can only hope that "Linger" will pick up exactly at this point and will deliver what I have been missing.
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Want to read what others think about this book?
Read Carin’s review of Shiver. Her thoughts went along a totally different line.
Here is Leeswammes review of it.
And this is what Iris has to say about it.