Interestingly, I didn't notice the light blue wolf peeking out of the vines in the right corner, so when I was checking out the cover later on I had this great experience of suddenly realizing something was looking right at me; not dissimilar to the sensation of looking into a forest and suddenly seeing something looking back at you. So, well-done to the cover artist.
And the insides of Shiver didn't disappoint. This is a unique werewolf/shapeshifter novel; the mythos developed for Sam and his pack, the rules and laws of werewolves in this world, is new. Although I would argue that Shiver is more of a book about shapeshifters than werewolves. Actually, Stiefvater meshes both myths toegther to get what she needs for the story, and it works. Once bitten by a werewolf a person will spend some time switching back and forth between wolf and human until only in cold weather will he or she remain a wolf. Then, after so many years of living as both, a person becomes a wolf fully, leaving their human life.
Grace was dragged into the woods by wolves when she was younger, but never changed. Ever since she has had a connection with one yellow-eyed wolf in particular who watches her from the edge of the woods by her house. Until one day she meets Sam and can't shake the feeling that she "knows" him somehow. Grace and Sam have a few dilemmas around their romance as Sam's pack attack a too important human and the whole town is up in arms, and a few of Grace's friends discover their secret.
Shiver is aptly named. Even though the book is set in September, I couldn't shake the chilled feeling I had while reading it, as if it were December. Grace's woods, also, were amazingly described.
I enjoyed the developing relationship between Grace and Sam; it had this fated quality. They were sweeter with each other, there wasn't this focus on the sexual tension between them, or at least I didn't feel like "okay, just do it already" while I was reading. Actually Sam might have been a little too sweet; at one point he turns to her while they're watching a movie and is all like "tell me about the strained relationship between you and your parents". It's a little too emo for me. I was like "dude, seriously, there's a better time for it and she'll tell you when she's ready not when she's being put on the spot". But he DOES take her to a bookstore on their first date, so he made it up to me.
Shiver was a quiet, beautiful, and unique read. It's also nice to see some werewolves represented. Also, I am hugely not a fan of the paperback art (bottom, right). The tone doesn't touch the content of the story and it looks vampirey.
Shiver. Maggie Stiefvater. Scholastic. 390 pages of pure werewolf love.