Thursday, July 14, 2011

Take Two: "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater

We all do it, we read a book and we make an initial impression of it, whether it is a positive or negative impression it doesn't matter- just the fact that we make one matters. And sometimes the impression that we make can very well be impacted by factors outside of the book (ie. our mood while reading the book, other books we were reading at the time, etc.). We then reread the book (which I don't know about y'all, but I am totally a rereader) and notice things we didn't see the first time around, come to understand those characters who bothered us the first time around or just come away from the book with a totally different idea of how we feel about it. As mentioned, I am a rereader sort of person, whether I reread a book right after my initial time reading it, or months, if not years later, well, I don't think that really matters, what I think matters is that with time something about that book hooks us, reels us in, and forces us to once again pick it up. I thought that it would be interesting if I were to reread some books that I have previously read and/or reviewed to see if my initial impression of the book has changed, hence this new little feature I like to call "Take Two" (or in the case of this book Take Five or Take Six).

Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls)From Goodreads: "the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future."
Much like Grace I am the sort of person who doesn't understand poetry. It's not that I don't want to, I just can't wrap my head around it (whereas Grace's head is up in clouds of mathematical equations mine is up in clouds of cultures and bones). And even though I know very little about poetry what I do know is that, like a well written poem saturated in emotion, this book is breathtaking, haunting, and powerful. In the "About the Author" section of the book author Cynthia Leitich Smith calls Maggie's writing, "musical, magical, and practically radiating romance... perfect for engaging sharp minds and poetic hearts," and I personally don't feel like she could have described Maggie's writing style any more perfectly. I don't think that the first few times I read this book I appreciated Maggie's writing style- I think that initially I rushed through the book mainly because I had wanted to know what was going to happen to all of my favourite characters. I didn't really allow myself to savor it. Had I read this book a few days earlier into this year I would have awarded it with the most beautiful prose award (see my Fav Books of 2011- So Far).

When I first saw the covers I (rather superficially) thought, "Oh aren't those pretty with their creepy tree branches and whatnot", but then when I laid the three covers together, I realized that, "DUH!", they basically tell the story (though in a very subtle way). Furthermore, not only do they tell the story contained within them, but they also display many characteristics of the characters. On the one hard they are very organized and calculated like Grace, but on the other hand they are very complex and multi-faceted like Sam.

What I also never comprehended my first couple of times reading this book was how truly developed the characters were. I always saw Grace as kind of 'the girl next door', but she is anything but that. Because she had to become independent at such a young age, due to her parents unwillingness to make time for her, that it was only obvious that over time she would be more comforted by calculations than hugs. And as for Sam? Well at first he may just seem like your typical emo boy with his swoopy hair, lankiness and love of music, there is so much more to him. He is a born leader with the ability to see the good in everyone, whether they deserve it or not.

All in all, this is a book that I could never get sick of rereading. This book is full of raw emotion that is all consuming and will have to hungering for the next book in the series (seriously the last time I cried while reading a book to the extent I did while reading this was when I was in grade 6 and had just learned that Leslie drowned in "Bridge to Terabithia").

Rating: 10/10

Memorable lines from the book:

"Sam backed away farther, crashing into the cabinet behind him, curling into a ball, uncurling. He was peeling free. He was shaking out of his fur. He was wolf and he was Sam, and then
Sam" (pg. 369).
"She could've looked at the tiny miracles in front of her: my feet, my hands, my fingers, the shape of my shoulders beneath my jacket, my human body, but she only stared at my eyes" (pg. 390).
"His yellow eyes gazed at me possessively- I wondered if he realized that the way he looked at me was far more intimate than copping a feel ever could be" (pg. 282).
"Isabel said, 'He's in the living room next to the fire. He just stopped throwing up before you got here. He puked all over the carpet. But that's okay because I like having my parents pissed at me. No point interrupting a constant pattern'" (pg. 331).


  1. Hm. I think I'm one of the few that just couldn't get into this series. I read Shiver and it didn't do much for me so I didn't pick up Linger, but I wonder if I read it again now that I've had the blog for a while and have read a ton of books in since then it if I would react differently. I might have to give it a try:)

  2. I just won this series in a contest (including an ARC of Forever!) and since then I've been really wanting to read it. I'm not a huge paranormal romance person, but I've heard this series is beautifully written and, like you said, the characters are well developed. Really looking forward to reading these! And by the way, I love this re-reading feature! I don't think I've seen this on any other blog, but it's great!

  3. I love your take two posts! This is definitely a series I want to re-read, but all the books back-to-back. I always thought this series had a lot more depth than many of the books I've read and I'm sure I missed a lot with my first read.

    I'm glad you loved it the second time around!

  4. I hate to say this but even tho I loved the book, I kinda wished Grace would change into a wolf and then they would be together that way. Yes, I am weird. :)


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