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Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The basic premise to Stiefvater’s werewolves is simple- cold temperatures change them into wolves while warmer switch them back to humans. The change can only be sustained so long though, the human times become shorter and shorter until a were just doesn’t turn back to a human again.

Grace was attacked by the wolves that live in the woods behind her home when she was very young, but was saved by a wolf with golden eyes, a wolf that then watches her throughout the following years. That wolf’s name is Sam, and he is in his last bit of time as a human, and desperate to stay that way, by any means possible, to stay with Grace as something other than a watcher from the woods.

I was delighted to read this one. For a YA werewolf romance, it was visceral and not at all dumbed down or glossed over. There is very little that can be considered romantic to Stiefvaqter’s were’s. Melancholy and brutality, yes. Romance of the condition, not so much. The consequences of being a werewolf in today’s society are examined, both from a personal and social point of view, and both the characters and the relationships they form are stronger for it.

Underneath all of that, this is a book about falling in love and being willing to fight for that feeling and the person that inspires it. It is about the bonds we choose to make.