Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
I'm seriously amazed by how good this book turned out to be! I mean, I expected the concept to be intriguing when my best friend initially told me about it, and I was looking forward to what experiencing it would be like, but to actually sit down and read it was altogether another thing entirely! This book completely outdid my mediocre assumptions about what it might have been like! It was a well written book through and through!

Babbling time! Can I just say that I loved the characters? Immensely? As in, none of them are STUPID. They all have an above-average level of believability, intelligence, humanity, self-motivation, thus selfish and conflicting expressions and interests, and add a great layer to the book that most people cannot pull off. This shows through in so many places for the book. There are some characters that I disliked off the bat, and at the end of the book, my dislike turned into clear hatred. Other characters just have that arrogant air about them, but when it came down to proving who they really were as a person, proved me absolutely wrong in my initial opinions of them. And then there were some characters that I didn't like because they were aggressive dumbasses who didn't give a rip about anyone but themselves, but who I realized I couldn't hate because they were too stupid and selfish to hate, which made my emotion turn rather to pity instead. And I love that I can read a book where the people I don't like aren't all lumped into one category; where I can dislike them in individual ways and see them grow to be different types of people just through their actions in this one book. That's a difficult thing to pull off successfully-- and naturally even more so! Thus, major props to Maggie Stiefvater for her amazing work with them!

What else I have to pay homage to is Maggie Stiefvater's flawless portrayal of another aspect of most books today (especially in the fouled-up YA Fiction/Supernatural Bullshit category), is her ability to write Romance.

She. Did. Amazingly.

The romance aspect of the book comes at you from the beginning and it comes at you without secrets. There is no attempt to hide any attraction or desires on the parts of both of the characters, and it ramps up with apparent and easy-to-track steadiness. It grows and grows, and never tries to hide itself from the reader. In fact, it takes the time to shove the romance right into your face--and in a good way too. Because this is one of the few books that made me question more than twenty, thirty, fifty times or more, "So are you going to have sex now?" and all I got back in return was respect, but some very pointed making out and cuddling. Know what?

Thank you.

Thank you, Maggie Stiefvater, for writing a book that wasn't all about lust but didn't shy away from the idea of sex either. You wrote a book where the romance was just as real as the physical need of both the individuals. It was, for all intents and purposes, a real relationship. Not some concocted leeching off of plastic characters done by male or (99% more often) female leads. This wasn't some bullshit parading around trying to be "romantic" or "ooh mysterious love interest"-- or worse yet "ew I hate him, why is he always around me" as the shittiest attempt to disguise some desperate girl who'd hang herself up by her panties to have a penis inside of her. -__- Tasteless, two-cent whores.

But nope! None of that in this book! I got God-honest legitimate ROMANCE and RELATIONSHIP in this book. To the point when "Sex nao?" finally rolled around, I was only left hanging for two pages before the confirmed "Protection!" question was answered. THANK. YOU. God, it's good to read a book that doesn't try to sell me a maggot-eaten hole of a plot trying to make like a story when it's a pathetic whine for attention from some wuss of a girl who should probably focus on growing up before she thought to write anything she might mistake for a brief, hallucinatory moment as well-established or thoughtful. -_- God save us all from the Dumbass Girls Apocalypse.

But all that aside, the brilliant thing is that this book offers you more than just the characters too and some very well-written genre-related hues. The plot is engaging, and the end of the book grips you tight and doesn't let you go. The very end nearly broke me in half it was that emotional an end to the roller coaster that it'd become. It might not have been as wearying as some roller coasters could be, because the twists and turns were far, far more manageable, but considering what was going on, it didn't have to be special or surprising to be dynamic. It still worked, and big props to Maggie again for that. And she's left just enough questions and lingering thoughts in the air to make me want to pick up her second book too. Because there's no way I'm not going to read this one next.

On top of that, I was surprised with the amount of insights that she expressed in her book concerning werewolves' abilities to transform, the different concepts that came with the transformation and the difference between being human and being wolf-- it wound up being a book that surprised me with a lot of really provocative and deep thoughts, which earned it a spot in my Shapeshifter Research bookshelf. It's definitely not a book just about the superficial. It takes you on a trip that makes you think-- and that, above all else, is a beautiful quality in a book.

You guys have got to read this one, if you haven't already. It's a hundred percent worth your time. Whether romance, fantasy, supernatural, strong characters, good storytelling is your cup of tea, you'll have to check this one out. Give it a go. Heck, I'd almost say to even buy it if you see it. I'm making an assumption that the next two books are going to be awesome too, because personally-- I enjoyed it that much.

Happy reading!