Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I'd been sticking with books that I already owned but was getting itchy to read a book on my new Nook. This was my opportunity.
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.
Cover: The cover is gorgeous. I love the twisting branches and little hearts hanging down from them. The colors give it a "winter feel" with the cools blues.
Characters: Sam and Grace are the main characters in Shiver. There are other characters involved, but I feel like these two are the main players. Sam seems to be an insecure, sensitive young man. He's probably one of those guys who would be mysterious and catch all kinds of attention from girls but not know what to do with it. Grace is a mature, independent teenager. She plays the parent role in her family, while her parents are living their dreams. Sam and Grace compliment each other. Sam's insecurity is paired with Grace's confidence. Sam's hopelessness is paired with Grace's hopefulness. Together, they're a sweet couple who just seem made for each other.
Writing: Stiefvater wrote beautifully in describing the relationship between Sam and Grace. I like that she wrote from both of their perspectives. The connection she described between the two lovers was much deeper than a physical one.
Plot: It was refreshing to read about werewolves. I haven't read anything involving them before, so this was new to me. Sam is a werewolf with a connection to a girl, Grace. They've shared a bond for six years as werewolf and girl until a chance encounter allows Sam's human form to meet her. Their love is strong, and they fight for a way to stay together, knowing that if Sam changes back to his wolf form he'll never change back again. I found myself engulfed in the hope that Sam and Grace would find a way to stay together. My thoughts went like this: "They're going to find a way to stay together." "It's not going to happen." "OMG! They are going to do it!" "Dammit! I thought it was going to work." I won't share my last thought at the end of the book. I'm pretty sure one simple sentence would give away the ending. :-)
Overall: 4/5 I really liked this book. I think I now know what all the hype was about. I'm also really glad I bought Linger at the same time I bought Shiver. As soon as I read the last line my head screamed, "I have to read Linger!"