Shiver!? I Hardly Knew Her!

Posted in Complaining, Random at 8:48 pm by Janet

Hey Tarts, it’s been awhile. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you. In fact I’m still stuck on my last topic, only children in teen books. See? Nothing has changed.

Grace, one of the main characters in Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, is an only child. She lives on the edge of a Minnesota forest, and ever since she was attacked by a pack of peculiar wolves, she’s been strangely fascinated by them, especially a certain gray wolf with yellow eyes. One thing leads to another, and it turns out Grace’s wolf, Sam, is a werewolf, now in his human form. As the temperature drops, and Sam and Grace fall in love, Sam struggles to stay human–and alive.

So Sam and Grace have lots of adventures running around the woods, and Grace basically hides Sam in her room for a few weeks. How does she get away with all of this canoodling? Her parents are completely preoccupied with their own work and social lives, and she’s an only child. Once her parents are out of the house and out of the way, there’s no one else to interfere in her adventures. Grace’s situation falls into Category #1 of Reasons Why Characters Are Only Children (Characters Are Intended To Be Only Children) but comes close to Category #2 (Only Child By Default). The author clearly intended for Grace’s parents to not be too into parenting (it’s easier to leave one kid on her own than several, I would imagine) and for her house to be mostly empty, but it feels just a little too convenient. You just can’t hide a werewolf in your room if you have nosy siblings. Things were just too easy for Grace. The plot would have been so much thicker if Grace had had a nosy little sister, instead of some conveniently estranged best friends. But I figure the author decided that Sam being a werewolf was enough of a barrier for Sam and Grace’s love–they didn’t need interfering parents and siblings to mess things up for Grace and Sam.

Completely apart from the only child stuff, I didn’t love Shiver. I seem to remember it getting a lot of buzz when it came out, but it just didn’t do it for me. There’s no big reason except that I think I may be over the paranormal perfect-teen-love thing. Meh. I may be ready to move on to dystopias–you know, the new vampire.

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