Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009, Book Review

shiverShiver, a young adult paranormal romance by Maggie Stiefvater, has been extremely popular, but as I’m writing this blog partially for the purpose of previewing content for parents, teachers and kids, I’m going to give it a very poor grade. It contains much that goes against traditional values, and it’s true I didn’t even like it.

Sam and Grace are two teenage lovers, but Grace can’t understand why she’s so drawn to Sam. Because Sam is a wolf. A wolf that saved her from being killed by other wolves six years ago. He is her special wolf. Her wolf. She doesn’t understand that the pack are werewolves, or that she should be one too.

Sam, inexplicably drawn to Grace as well, has been there in the woods watching Grace for six years, waiting for her to change. But she breaks all rules and never does. It seems she can’t.

After a classmate is bitten Grace sees a new wolf in the woods, one she recognizes from school by his eyes and she knows. Soon after she and Sam (human) meet, and so begins a whirlwind romance. But werewolves only get so many summers to change back into human form before they remain wolves for good. And Sam knows this is his last.

Ms. Stiefvater creates overwhelming sympathy for Grace and Sam and their insurmountable problem, telling the story alternately from either perspective (which, honestly, feel too similar). But I simply can’t get into a story in which obsessive romance is the main focus. Grace looses her individuality and personality, her own importance, in this mad passion. I would hate for real girls to think this is normal or healthy. (And the sappiness is nearly enough to make me choke.) In addition, the book is liberally sprinkled with profanity, and Grace and Sam, not surprisingly, end up having sex. As a parent, this book contains nothing I’d like my daughter to emulate. So I give Shiver, despite its popularity, a singular thumbs down.

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