Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bookshelf: Maggie Stiefvater


I've been trying to remember where I first saw mention of "Shiver" but it eludes me. It was either on B&N's website while perusing the YA section or else it was on but I'm not positive it was ever promoted on there. Anywho, somehow I heard of it and thought in my quest to read more YA and understand my target audience's top reads that I should read it. "Shiver" is a quick read at 390 pages and before you laugh each chapter is only a few pages, most not even a full page. I'm not being facetious when I say it goes by very quickly.

There's something about love, young love in particular, when there's a timestamp on it. Nicholas Sparks' has mastered this idea. In "The Notebook", "Nights in Rodanthe", "Message In A Bottle" and "A Walk To Remember" there is the uncertainty of the future, an indeterminate amount of time in which young lovers must experience every ounce of intensity and passion that a couple who has a lifetime stretching before them will experience. It's a rush of emotion, a hurried affair, and I think with teenagers it's amplified. Sparks knows how to lead his characters into the clutches of an end date - knowing that time is running out before alzheimers sets in, leukemia steals your love, your secrets are revealed to the detriment of your relationship, or your vacation ends. In "Shiver" the end date is Winter and the onset of colder temperatures which will turn a human infected with the werewolf virus into the four legged counterpart.

When we first meet Grace she is a little girl being dragged by wolves from her tireswing into the woods where she remains oddly calm as she is mauled. It is a brief meeting but enough to suck you immediately in and wonder where is this story taking me? The next time we meet Grace she is in high school, running her household (because her parents are too busy to raise their child, apparently), dealing with being a social outcast and surviving high school. When we meet Sam we know right off that he's not human, at least not entirely, and also that he was the one to save Grace from the wolf attack in her childhood. He watches her and longs to reveal his human half to her. Another violent attack brings them together again and so begins the hurried love. Because, after all, it's almost winter. And they live in Minnesota.

I can't say I absolutely adored it (that's reserved for a select few books) but it was an interesting journey into the land of four-legged folk. It was slightly reminiscent of Stephenie Meyer... but less chaste. There is a sequel, "Linger" and I haven't decided whether I'll read that or not. After all, there are still another ten or so books lying around my apartment begging to be read. I think since I'm already knee deep in this fantasy YA stuff I might as well begin "Fallen" by Lauren Kate. It would certainly be too jarring to skip over to the wonderful Jodi P. after immersing myself in fur, no?

On a personal note, my superfan Robby (check out his remarkable blog here) who I adore beyond words, is currently reading my second manuscript. I thought that it would be a good idea to get someone of the actual target audience to read it and give honest feedback and he was more than willing. I'm sure he will be blogging about it once he's finished. Comparend to "Summer At Nineteen", my second book is a bit of a mammoth (sizewise) simply because I have matured since writing my first book and there was a lot more character development and so much more plot to this story. And no, it's not a continuation of S@19. I started anew with this one.
I love it, Molly loves it, I hope Robby loves it, and in the end I PRAY an agent loves it. Currently no agent news to report. Fingers perpetually crossed though.

And on I chug.



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