Imagine you have a book where everything fits. You judged by the cover. Breathtakingly beautiful with jacket and naked both. Blue ink. Gotta love that. The writing is a little bit like the setting itself. It’s like stepping foot into a warm hallway on a winter day when the cold outside feels more real than the shelter of the warmth. Then there’s the premise, the concept of it all. An original twist on an ancient concept. Winter wolves. Haven’t heard that one yet. Of course some people won’t even try to give the book a chance because it doesn’t pretend not to be a love story. Alas, I don’t mind love stories if they are good.
So one might think the stars align perfectly. And then the whole book crumbles to one flaw that is just too hard to overcome – teenagers.
Too Old A Young Adult
Young Adult is a blessing and a curse. The genre is so wide and so full of different shades that you can get the most innovative, interesting and diverse stories out of it. You can also get something that makes you cringe through each and every page until you give up. Shiver is a book right on the edge and it took me a while to understand it. I tend to judge too harshly. I certainly did it with this book. And I’m going to be completely honest, even now that I’ve finished the book I’m trying really hard to like it. There is something about the writing pace and the setup that is incredibly intriguing. I want to love it so badly but I just can’t.
I’ve been sitting here for hours wondering how I would review or even rate shivers and I’ve decided on something that surprised myself and might surprise everyone else. I’m going to four-star this book on Goodreads and I’m going to give it a pretty decent eight-of-ten here on my blog. But together with that rating I won’t just hand out a grain of salt but tons of it. I’ll bury you in salt. Why? Because a lot of people will be too old to read this book. I mean it. If you’re reading your own high school diary and are ashamed of what you wrote, then this book won’t be for you because that is how you will feel about the main characters for the entirety of this book.
But – pretty big but coming up – if you can still relate to this stubbornness that made you think Ariel was so right to sell her soul for this one guy she fell spontaneously in love with while he was in a coma after almost drowning, then you’re in for a treat.
Rilke and Writing in Lyrics
That’s the big problem with Shiver. Insufferable main characters. Our heroine is a smartass with the worst parents to ever parent and our hero is an emo suffering from a horrible case of sensitive manpain. I can clearly see how my sixteen year old self would have fallen in love with both of them, but ten years later I was just shaking my head wondering where the parents of all these people are. Add a horrible backstory for both teenagers because the sheer drama of their current situation isn’t enough and the boy’s need to constantly think in song lyrics and you can multiply the eye-roll-factor by ten. It doesn’t help much that the best thing our young werewolf finds to articulate himself is by citing Rilke.
The things is this… By the end of the book, I still found myself rooting for those two. Maybe because the truth behind it all is the right one. Teenagers are like that. They’re overly dramatic and a little emo and they tend to think that it’s them alone against the rest of the world. The last quarter of the book those kids went through hell and I was just thinking that they’re children. They don’t deserve any of the bad stuff that is happening to them.
While I did have my struggles with Shiver, it was mostly because of the main characters. The writing is really good, so are the setup and the pace. The concept is fresh and the narrative structure is pretty unique. All in all a solid mix that I sadly couldn’t appreciate because I think I’m just a tad bit too old for the book.
I will most likely visit Mercy Falls again. There are a few stories that weren’t fully wrapped up in Shiver even though it ends in a very satisfying way which means that the series doesn’t force you to continue reading after the first book. Still, I think I’m going to take a break for now. I have to make my peace with Shiver before I continue with the story.