Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.
This came out shortly after I joined the blogging world, so naturally I first saw it on someone's blog. I fell. in. love. with the cover, and thought the premise sounded pretty interesting, and it became one of those I-need-this-now books. When it came in for me a week early at the library, I proudly waved it in my the faces of my bookclub members, none of whom had heard of it (yet), but all of whom wanted it (this was the genesis of my bookclub nickname, "book whore" -- which was texted so much that my phone began to recognize whore as the natural follow-up to the word book, and would suggest it. Did you mean book whore? Thank you, phone.)
I read it pretty eagerly (ooh, so pretty! Oh, look, the font is blue! Isn't that just ingenius?), but my excitement started to fizzle pretty quickly. Now, I didn't count it a total loss like some people I know, but it certainly didn't live up, shall we say, and there were really only 2 big reasons:
2.) The characters.
In the first place, I couldn't ever really get past the question of the weather turning people to wolves thing. That's a b i g leap to make, so I needed something really solid and cool to back it up and make me say "Yeah, okay, I'm so there!" That didn't really happen for me.
But bigger by far than this was the characterization. The characters, the ones really responsible for holding the book, especially when there's such a huge question in the plotting, were really wooden for me. I loved Sam (though some have compared him to a middle aged woman), and I was willing to set aside any inconsistencies in his life + his personality (like where's this kid who spends his life as a wolf learning German poetry? I know, I know, he works in a bookstore, but these questions still persist). But when it came to the rest of the characters -- even Grace, the MAIN character -- I felt they were cardboard stock characters. There really wasn't anything dynamic about them. They never really grew or changed, I could predict every move they made and thought they had, and they really read more like caricatures than characters.
And I'm not sure why this is. Maggie Stiefvater's not really a bad writer. She was able to keep me in the story and keep me going, even when I was rolling my eyes or getting really frustrated. And I know every book doesn't have to wow you, and am not even opposed to fluff. I like a good fluff book now and again. But I guess for fluff to work, you have to like the characters, and think that the author liked the characters; not that she was just playing fill in the blanks. In the end, it left me feeling a little meh. I didn't love or hate it; I would read the second one, and even own it, but I'm not singing its praises, either. I just wanted more care than I got.
And no, I'm not going to get off on a tangent, but WTF was with the parents? Seriously. Come on.
I love this stop-motion trailer, and I LOVE the music they composed for it: