Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Twilight Zone?: Shiver Me Timbers

Back at ALA one of the publisher booths was handing out ARCs of an upcoming title. I wasn't really in the mood to carry more stuff around, but the woman at the booth was practically forcing everyone who walked by to get a copy. So I took one, feeling no sense of urgency to read it until it got a mention at Early Word...and then it made it to the top of my TBR list.

The book: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The story: As a child, Grace was attacked by wolves. She miraculously made it out alive, and ever since has had a fascination with the wolves in the woods behind her house. Now a teenager, Grace is particularly captivated by one wolf in particular - the one with the yellow eyes. When another student at her school turns up dead, the wolves are fingered, and a hunt ensues. Grace runs into the woods in an attempt to stop the hunt and comes face to face with those yellow eyes - on an injured human.

The verdict: Twilight, but with a werewolf and better writing. Absent parents and unimportant friends? Check! Teen inexplicably in love with supernatural being? Check! Changing the rules everyone knows about said supernatural being? Check! Teen girl anxious to "just do it" while supernatural would-be mate hesitates? Check!

But...but...but...Stiefvater's writing makes the difference. Both writers know how to tell a good story that grabs readers and doesn't let go, but Stiefvater finds a way to convey the story with more "show" and less "tell." Alternating narration between Grace (human) and Sam (wolf/human) is amazingly effective at telling the story without it getting too sappy or overwrought. While Grace is fairly two-dimensional, Sam is more than just a shape-shifter, he's a musician, and music helps him make sense of the world.

P.S. I love that Maggie's last name means "stepfather" in German and that she includes a passage in German in the novel!


  1. So glad you picked this one up at ALA! I loved it and have been talking it up to everyone. I agree that Stiefvater's writing makes this one stand out-it's very lyrical and I could feel why Sam and Grace cared about each other.

  2. I'm looking forward to this one!

    M.Stiefvater lives in VA, so maybe you will meet her some day...