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Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater When girls [collective noun for ‘girl'] hear the word “werewolf”, they automatically associate it with ‘Jacob Black’ or, ’I-save-orgasms-only-for-when-Taylor-Lautner’s-shirtless’ and… ’Twilight’. But for me, and after hearing Maggie herself speak about werewolves (at two of her events that I attended here in Melbourne), means much more than just a term to refer to any being that has the ability to turn into a wolf. As we see in Shiver, being a werewolf is entirely burdensome. Turning into a wolf against your will signifies a total loss of identity. And that is why I adore Maggie Stiefvater’s work. She looks beyond the physical change or the physical pain, to discover the emotional change of mind and the emotionally-and-psychologically-heartbreaking pain instead. It is what made this book so captivating in the first place and I can’t wait to be absorbed in this beautifully written and thought-provoking story once again in Linger and Forever.Forget about full moons or shape-shifters when talking about Maggie’s werewolves. Maggie uses the seasons as the reason for why these characters “change”. It is a perfectly valid explanation for lycanthropy, and Maggie deals with it exceptionally well, explaining it in great depth and insight. Her werewolves are based in science rather than myth and magic. For these individuals, and as the synopsis goes, when it’s winter and cold they’re wolves, but, when summer comes around and warmth fills the air, they’re humans – themselves. However, as they get older, more heat is needed to keep the wolf at bay. And for Sam, knowing that it may be his last chance at remaining human and the self he desires, is an ultimate struggle which will leave you pining for him from beginning to end. Sam will win your heart over within the very first chapter and it is great respect that I say that as I am male just like him. And as I think about it more, I feel like Sam more each and every day that passes.I’m not such a fan of romance-driven stories, however, Maggie Stiefvater has given me one paranormal-romance series to adore. That is because of the two individual characters within the relationship. Grace and Sam both have longings and desires that are expressed equally well due to the dual-narrative. Because their relationship spans for several years due to the event that brought them together when they were younger, when Sam (as a wolf) rescued Grace from other wolves that were ready to feast, the romance felt not at all cheated in anyway. Their love may be seen as instant at first, but when you look back in the past you’ll see they’ve actually grown up with another; they have a history. And that is why I liked this particular romance.Grace has parents that are practically ghostly in her life; her mother an artist and her father a real-estate agent. Two occupations that require a lot of time with none at all given to Grace. This was a fantastic choice by Maggie as within YA, adults – especially parents – make all the big decisions for the younger characters. As a reader, it’s obviously far more interesting to watch the teenagers make their own decisions and read about the subsequent consequences of those decisions. Sam’s pack can be aligned with them giving you something to compare throughout book. Through his flashbacks and memorable stories, Sam reveals that he regards Beck, his father figure within the pack, more a parents than his actual parents will ever be and were.Shiver is a beautifully poignant read which will leave you wanting more of Maggie’s exceptional storytelling. It is raw and intense from the first word, and every one of the character’s feelings and desires are expressed through dialogue, through inner thought and most of all in Sam’s style, through song. It will pull at your emotions and make you relate with the characters and the story in a way you never thought possible. Werewolves are my favourite; The Wolves of Mercy Falls imprints that statement deeper and I’m sure no other story with werewolves in it will be looked at the same way as I had with Shiver. Linger and Forever are next on my list when I get the opportunity to step away from review books.