As a young girl, Grace was drug from her backyard tire swing by a hungry pack of wolves into the cold depths of the forest. All she remembers from surviving that attack are the beautiful yellow eyes of one wolf, who seemed to rescue her from the hungry pack. Grace is mesmerized by the wolves that live in the forest behind her home, and looks forward to winter each year so she can see the enchanting yellow eyes of HER wolf, who lingers near the treeline, always protectively watching over her.
After the wolves are deemed responsible for the death of a local teen, citizens attempt to exterminate the species from the area woods. Grace is racked with worry and grief that her wolf will be shot in the crossfires. She attempts to find her wolf during the hunting expedition, and instead, finds naked and injured Sam - a boy her age who has the same enchanting yellow eyes of her wolf. The connection between herself and Sam is unmistakable, and Grace can't deny the possibility that this beautiful young man and her protective wolf are one in the same.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is by far the BEST teen fiction book I've read in 2010. Sam and Grace's connection to one another is mysterious and heart breaking, and I haven't felt such longing and empathy for two characters since Bella and Edward. I'm doing my best not to compare it to Twilight, but the parrallels are too obvious NOT to acknowledge. Of course there's werewolves, but the similiar conflicts that exist for both sets of main characters are easily compared.
Maggie Stiefvater does an excellent job of bringing complexity and layers to Sam and Grace that are lacking in Twilight. Not that Stephenie Meyer didn't create dynamic characters in her works...she did, but often the problems were sugar-coated. For example, Grace, like Bella, is often left to take care of herself. Her parents are flighty and selfish and she is constantly the "adult" in the household - cooking dinner, washing clothes, cleaning up. Sam points out what Grace already knows - that this is not normal and good parenting behavior, and we get to see Grace acknowledge her anger towards her mother and father and their lack of parental skill. Anger that Bella never recognizes or acknowledges towards Rene.
Sam also has demons in his closet that are put under the microscope - problems that Edward also posessed but never addressed or felt anger. Why did Carlisle sign up a teenage boy for a life he knew was complex and oftentimes filled with tragedy? Sam asks the same question of his maker, Beck, who purposely changed Sam because he was lonely in his werewolf life. Even though Sam loves Beck like a father, he also has to come to terms with the fact that the "father" he loves dearly is also responsible for stealing a normal life from Sam.
To me, Twilight comparisons are complimentary to this book because Shiver evoked the same emotions in me that my initial reading of Twilight did. It's been only 24 hours since I finished the novel and I'm still thinking about Sam and Grace! What will happen in the second book, and counting down the days to its release. I'm definitely a Shiver fan and think that this series will be a huge success in the years to come because of its QUALITY. The first book has already been picked up for a movie by Unique Features. Maggie Stiefvater is a truly gifted writer and each of you should give this novel a chance and see for yourself what a fantastic world Stiefvater has created! The next book in the trilogy, Linger, is expected to hit shelves July 20th. Get on board The Wolves of Mercy Falls fanwagon!