Ah, vacation. I can stay up until 1 or 2 am and just read in the dead quiet of the house, or in this case, cabin. In the beautiful north in Michigan we are having much better than expected weather and our gorgeous boat ride and sunburns proved it yesterday. Last night, after all was completely quiet, I finished Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER. I didn’t mean to stay up until about 2 am, but I was hooked.
Grace was attacked by wolves at 11 years-old (pulled from her tire swing), but one yellow-eyed wolf saved her from the rest of the pack. She bonds with “her” wolf as she calls him and the wolf checks in on her often. One quiet night the wolf approaches her and lets Grace bury her face in his ruff. The wolf turns out to be her werewolf-soulmate, Sam, who is actually a human in the summer and changes to wolf when the weather cools. When Grace meets Sam in human form she knows instantly who he is by his yellow eyes and her immense attraction to him. The majority of the novel is spent examining the lives of Grace and Sam after they meet. Grace’s indifferent parents allow her much time to spend with Sam and he with her at her house. As their relationship grows, the two know they are hopelessly in love with each other, but Sam knows this is his last year “turning” and once he becomes a wolf this time, he won’t be back in human form, making their love a bittersweet struggle to keep Sam warm in the approaching winter.
The beautiful language in this book kept me going. It did take me a good 100 pages to really get hooked, but that doesn’t mean that the beginning was bad, just slower. Immersed in the text are beautiful pieces of poetry from Rilke that explain Sam’s love for Grace, but also the text of some beautiful lyrics that Sam has written. However, the poetry only adds to the beauty in the novel. I found this piece by Rilke (p. 253) extremely moving.
Again and again however we know the language of
love and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing
names, and the frighteningly silent abyss into which
the others fall: again and again the two of us walk
out together under ancient trees, lie down again and
again in the flowers, face to face with the sky.
Even as an adult female, I got actual shivers up my spine during the love scene between Grace and Sam. I hate to admit it, but I re-read it many times. This was a beautiful and haunting book full of emotion and characters who seemed to make decisions way too adult to match their teenage years. I know this will appeal to the “Jacob” fans of the Twilight set. And, I have to admit that I’m not a fan of wolf stories, but this one really touched my heart. I can’t wait to pass it along to my “former” students! ☺ Happy summer! It’s officially here!