aka YA Literature

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

When Grace was a child, she was attacked by a pack of wolves while she was playing in her backyard. She thought she was going to die, but one wolf saved her. Ever since then, she has had a fascination with the wolves. Every winter, Grace goes outside in her backyard and watches the wolf that watches her. The beginning of the current narrative is prompted by the death of one of Grace's classmates who was mauled by wolves. Now, several members of the community seem bent on shooting the wolves to make the Minnesota town a safe place, free of wolves. Grace tries to stop them, but before she can, "her" wolf is shot. She comes home to find him in his human form, lying bleeding on her porch. By this time the reader has already figured out that the wolves are actually werewolves. Thus begins her actual meeting and relationship with the wolf, Sam. Sam struggles not to change back into a wolf so that he can stay with Grace, knowing it is ultimately futile. Meanwhile, Grace's classmate who was assumed dead appears to have changed into a physically and mentally unstable werewolf. The chapters alternate first-person perspectives from Sam and Grace.

While I love the cover of this book in that it fits the story very well (I love the red blood spot over the I in the midst of the cold white), I know it likely won't grab the attention of readers. Same thing for the title, which goes great with the story but doesn't really give a good clue to a casual browser as to the plot. This is a shame since the book is excellent and there are a ton of students who I know will like this. Just means a lot of promotion and hand-selling on my part. But I think it will pick up momentum once a few people start reading it. I have some big werewolf fans, and it's a great Twilight read-alike without being derivative or replicating the same stories. The characters are very well-done and complex. Sam might be a little too-perfect if you think about it, but he makes for a great literary crush. Guess that's just one reason why it's been picked up for movie rights and will likely be very popular in that medium. That's a primo role for some hot young actor. I'm very excited to promote this to readers and to other librarians in my district. Excepting the cover and title issues mentioned above, I'm surprised I haven't been asked about this book by any of the students yet.

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