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Reviewing: Shiver

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.

I was obsessed with this book the second I saw the cover, so I bought it for my sister for Christmas. (The perfect way to get what you want on Christmas morning: buy it for someone else, and then steal it once they’ve finished.) I’d highly recommend it for a wintry January read. Why? Excuse me while I rave…

The prose: This book was partly what inspired last week’s speed-reader poll because, although I normally read pretty speedily, I wanted this book to last forever. Maggie’s sentences are just lovely, and the way Sam composed spur-of-the-moment song lyrics about Grace made me want to cry sometimes. Sample this (from page 81)

You’re my change of skin / my summer-winter-fall / I spring to follow you / this loss is beautiful

The plot: So while half of me was trying to read slow for prose, the other half of me wanted to read fast for plot. It’s one of those “Sam and Grace are instantly in love” kinds of books, and it’s a werewolf story on top of that, (I usually feel rather cynical and bah-humbug about things like that), but Maggie made these fresh. No moons, no Taylor Lautners, don’t worry: the werewolves in this book only turn to werewolves when it’s cold. And…

The romance: This doesn’t happen often for me, but as I read Shiver I absolutely believed that Sam and Grace were in love. Not in lust-love or like-love, but in love. Maybe it’s because Maggie’s prose enchanted me into believing it. Or maybe it’s because her acknowledgements page ends with this, (presumably) directed at her husband: “And last of all, Ed. You’re my best friend and the reason why the love stories in my novels ring true at all.”

Aww…

It’s not very often that I come away from a book so impressed – or so depressed that the sequel doesn’t come out until July.

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