August 2009

Animal magnetism

By Maggie Stiefvater
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Seventeen-year-old Grace has held a morbid fascination with the wolves that reside behind her Minnesota home since she was dragged from her tire swing by the pack as a young child, only to be rescued and returned to safety by one particular wolf. For years she has watched and followed this yellow-eyed wolf when the weather is cold, only to feel the pangs of longing when he disappears each summer.

Eighteen-year-old Sam has lived a double life—wolf in the winter, boy in the summer—since he was attacked and bitten by a wolf as a young child. His werewolf pack is his family, but he longs to know Grace, the beautiful young woman who has watched him from her house since the day he saved her from an attack by his fellow wolves. 

When a local boy is attacked and presumably killed by the wolves, people from the town take matters into their own hands and go into the woods to hunt down the wolves. Grace is worried about her wolf and tracks the hunters into the woods, only to find that her own wolf has been shot, and, as a result, he has changed into his human form. She rescues him, and she and Sam learn that their love for one another is mutual. They then resolve to find a way to keep Sam human.

Maggie Stiefvater is not a newcomer to the popular genre of supernatural romance for teens. Her debut, Lament, introduced readers to the world of soulless faerie assassins, so the reach to werewolves was not a long one for her. She melds the worlds of fantasy and reality quite convincingly, making it easy to overlook the unlikeliness of a girl loving a wolf (or a faerie being sent to assassinate a 16-year-old).

In a market where the search for the next Twilight is in high gear, Stiefvater delivers a solid contender in Shiver. However, Shiver stands out for reasons beyond its place within the ever-growing genre of choice. Twilight lovers will appreciate a new take on the supernatural love story, but all readers will be able to enjoy Stiefvater’s fast-paced storytelling and dedication to the old-fashioned art of creating a believable and enduring romance. Shiver is beautifully written, even poetic at times, and a perfect indulgence for readers of all ages.   

Emily Booth Masters reviews from Nashville.

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By Maggie Stiefvater
ISBN 9780545123266

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