Review of “Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver begins: “I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves.” Grace, a young girl of 11, has been attacked by wolves behind her house. She is saved by a wolf with yellow eyes, who is as drawn to her as she to him. She always looks for him thereafter, and eventually gets to the point where he will let her stroke his fur. When at age 17 she meets him as the 18-year-old boy Sam, Grace recognizes him from his yellow eyes, and they are able to explore the love they felt so long when they were different species.

This is a book about werewolves, but not in a sensationalist way. Nor are there vampires or zombies to round out the paranormal atmosphere. It is just the wolves, and they don’t know why they are wolves when it is winter, and human when it is summer. And they don’t know why Grace, who was bitten, never changes into one of them.

After a number of years of transforming, the wolves stop turning into humans, although no one knows why. Grace, her friends, and Sam desperately try to come up with a way to keep Sam from turning back into a wolf, for fear that Sam might stay a wolf and then be lost to Grace forever. They sense the key to a “cure” has to do with why Grace has never changed species.

Discussion: There’s really not much to this book beyond the love of the wolves in general, along with an appreciation for what they can experience with their enhanced senses, and the love that Grace and Sam feel in particular. Nor is there a lot of “depth” to Shiver – for example, although Sam wants to be human all the time to be with Grace, there isn’t much more to his desire than that – no disquisitions, for instance, on what it means to be human versus being animal.

Nevertheless, I loved this book; Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is magical. I also enjoyed the way the chapters alternated between the points of view of Grace and Sam. Sam is pretty much the perfect boyfriend, and that didn’t bother me either; as long as one is fantasizing, one might as well make it good!

Note: This is Book One of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. But Book One actually “ends,” and you can read it as a standalone if you desire.

Rating: 4/5

Published by Scholastic Press, 2009


Teen Read Award Nominee for Best Read (2010)
Georgia Peach Book Award (2010)
Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee (2011)
Children’s Choice Book Award Nominee for Teen Choice Book of the Year (2010)
Florida Teens Read Nominee (2010)
The Inky Awards for Silver Inky (2010)
Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2012)
Missouri Gateway Readers Award Nominee (2012)

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20 Responses to Review of “Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. Sandy says:

    I’ve not read these books, but my daughter has. She loved Linger, but with Shiver she just shrugged her shoulders. A book critic she is not, as she doesn’t talk much at times (ha) but she is totally opinionated about books and is very picky. I’m hoping that the library picks up these books on audio…I’ve heard they are good.

  2. Julie P. says:

    My friend and her daughter loved these. I think I have the first one somewhere around here.

  3. zibilee says:

    I had the chance to hear the author read from the second book, and got to get a signed copy, but I admit that I haven’t started with this series yet. I am not sure why I have kept it on the back burner, as I think it would probably make a great read for my daughter and myself, so I am going to have to rectify this!

    Your wolf story was so very cool! I can imagine that I would have been totally captivated by that wolf as well. Have you ever seen any others up close?

  4. bermudaonion says:

    I wasn’t all that interested in this book until I heard the author read at SIBA. I’m still not sure it’s my cup of tea, but I sure do want to give it a try, especially now that I see you enjoyed it.

  5. Rural View says:

    We have many coyotes around here too. One day two very scraggly ones were in our back yard. I went out on the patio and we stared at each other. I don’t know who was more fascinated, but when I moved out of the patio to get Dave and our neighbor’s attention, the coyotes ran off. Still they stopped twice to look back at me. Their eyes were mesmerizing.

  6. Your coyote story was really cool and sweet. We only see a lot of deer around our way.

  7. Ti says:

    Where I live, they’ve recently cleared land for more housing and then with all the previous fires, we often see coyotes wandering around aimlessly. It’s as if their land is gone and they just don’t have any place to go so we find them in market parking lots of all places. It’s sad really.

    I’ve not read this book. I think if these books were around when I was a teen I would have devoured them whole. I was so into this genre when I was younger. Now though? Not so much.

  8. marthalama says:

    We can hear coyotes almost every night and every once in awhile one will wonder our streets. I’ve heard of these books and they sound good, just not the books for me.

  9. Edi says:

    This reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer.

  10. nymeth says:

    This book sounds a lot better than I gave it credit for. I wonder why I mentally filed it near Twilight?

  11. Alyce says:

    I have a knee-jerk reaction to books with this kind of description, so it’s nice to know that it wasn’t terrible. I enjoyed reading your coyote story – I’ve never seen one be that brave and bold in the daylight.

  12. Vasilly says:

    I really enjoyed this book, so I’m glad to hear that you did too. I haven’t read book two and I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it.

  13. Ceri says:

    I really liked your review on this. 😀 This has been on my wishlist for quite a while and I’d begun to forget how good it was supposed to be. Thanks for reminding me.

  14. Jenners says:

    What a neat coyote story!!! And I’ve heard this book isn’t that bad. And of course you will feature the next book .. you never lead a series unread! I’m very very very tempted to send you the first book of Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World just to torture you. (The series is good … but there are many many many books and they are long and I still don’t think they have wrapped it up.)

  15. I liked this book, too and I love what you say about Sam being perfect not bothering you. 🙂

  16. Margot says:

    Although not my kind of book, I liked your story of your experience with the coyotes. That would be so amazing to see,

  17. Staci says:

    I totally loved this one and hopefully this year I will get to book 2 and 3 !!!

  18. 1morechapter says:

    I’m glad Shiver can be read as a stand-alone. I’ll probably try to read it that way if I can resist!

  19. Pingback: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater Retro Friday Book Review

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