Caroline the Future Librarian

Caroline Davis | LIBR 265-10 | SJSU | Wrenn-Estes

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Shiver
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date: August 2009
ISBN-13: 9780545123266

Plot Summary: Grace Brisbane, an introverted and bookish seventeen-year-old, has always felt drawn to the pack of wolves that haunt the Minnesota woods behind her house every winter – particularly a wolf with yellow eyes that seems to look back at her.  Although she had been attacked by the wolves as a child, she does not fear them and knows that her wolf will never harm her.  When a local boy is killed, the town rallies together to hunt them down, and Grace discovers that they are actually werewolves that shift forms when the temperature changes – and that the wolf with yellow eyes becomes a yellow-eyed boy named Sam.  The two are meant for each other, but their time together is running out before Sam turns back into a wolf – permanently.  Can Grace and Sam find a cure before winter arrives?

Critical Evaluation: In the same way that Stephenie Meyer rewrote vampire lore, Maggie Stiefvater has created a breed of werewolves that don’t depend on lunar cycles for their transformation.  The paranormal romance that she crafts has the passion and urgency of a feverish high school romance (or – dare I say it? – the daydreams of a devote Team Jacobite).  The story is split between the first-person narrations of the two main characters, and each chapter is (helpfully) headed by the current temperature.  Stiefvater’s prose is often poetic, and captures the intensity of the two young lovers from different worlds.  The conflict comes from sources supernatural (How can they keep Sam from changing back?  Can they find the rogue werewolf that has been spotted around town?) and personal (How does having a boyfriend affect Grace’s friendships?).  I found Shiver to be mildly unoriginal and predictable, but it was a fun, romantic read that I would have devoured when I was fourteen.

Reader’s Annotation: In this girl-meets-werewolf tale, can Grace find a way to keep Sam from transforming back into a wolf – forever?

Author Information: Maggie Stiefvater (pronounced “Steve-otter”) is the author of two young adult series: the “Books of Faerie” (Lament and Ballad) and “The Wolves of Mercy Falls” (Shiver and the upcoming title Linger), which she plans to make into a trilogy.  She has also expressed interest in creating a graphic novel.  Aside from writing, Stiefvater has also worked as a musician and an artist.  Stiefvater lives in Virginia with her husband and two kids.

When asked why she chooses to write for a young adult audience, Stiefvater says, “I have a Peter Pan complex. I love writing teen protagonists because everything’s still new for them — the world stretches out with endless possibilities. I think that it could still be this way for adults, too, if they saw the world that way — but a lot of adults get into their rut and just keep going through the motions. I can’t see myself writing about desk jobs or normal adults . . . so teens it is. Also, I love reading YA and they say to write what you love to read.” (Source)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Curriculum Ties: None

Booktalking Ideas:
1) Discuss how using two narrators allows the story and characters to develop.
2) Contrast Sam’s relationship with Beck and Grace’s relationship with her parents.
3) Think of the ways that the seasons affect the characters (not just the werewolves).

Interest Age: 14 and older

Challenge Issues: sexual content, description of a violent act against a child

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the book and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews from School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly available for viewing on

• Try to get reviews of the book from teens who have read it.

Selection: A review of Shiver on A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy piqued my interest.  I also thought it was important to include because it is a recently released book.


Maggie Stiefvater’s website and blog.

A book trailer for Shiver:


February 6, 2010 - Posted by | Books |

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