Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is a shorter, Team Jacob version of Twilight minus those pesky vampires, and with a more believable romance (the characters are almost the same age!). I’m not kidding when I say this book is similar to Twilight–there are so many similarities between Stiefvater’s main female character, Grace, and Bella from Twilight that I often stopped and scratched my head to wonder whether or not the similarities were intentional. From Grace’s distant relationship to her parents, to her self-sufficiency (guess who does all the cooking in the family?), to her superior attitude toward her classmates, the two could be sisters. But if I were to choose to re-read Twilight or to re-read Shiver, I’d choose Shiver in a heartbeat. Not only because it’s shorter–but because I actually enjoyed the book, and at times I couldn’t put the novel down because I wanted to know what would happen. Because of this novel, I might actually admit that I am a paranormal fiction fan after all, even though I’ve claimed not to be.
But Shiver isn’t without it’s flaws. Grace’s best friends feel rather thin as characters and I often found I had trouble caring about them. Also, the voices of the two narrators (the aforementioned Grace and werewolf Sam) were a little too similar for me. We are told quite often by many characters that Grace is a type-A personality, but from her word choice to her metaphors, her voice was just too similar to artsy-emo Sam for me to believe this. I was often confused about who was doing the narrating and had to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to see how the chapter had been labelled.
The pacing was also a little bit slow for my taste. While I was gripped from the very first chapter (a very very strong opening chapter!), once we were introduced to all the characters and the romance began, the story drags a bit without much plot development. I grew a little weary about hearing how in love the two main characters were and how sad it was that they couldn’t be together forever, to the point where, with so many other exciting things happening behind-the-scenes, I often wished the romance hadn’t been the focus of the book. (Side note–I also found the biomedical plotline in the book very strange and a little too unbelievable, but that could just be my medical brain piping up when I should just ignore it. It is a book about werewolves after all :) )
All in all, I think Twilight fans will be delighted with this book, and people who want to read a solid YA paranormal romance but weren’t able to get past some of the clunky writing in the first Twilight book would do well to check out Shiver. As for me, I’m definitely going to check out the next in the series.