Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver opens during one particularly brutal winter, when the wolves in Mercy Falls, Minnesota are starving. Desperate to eat, they pull an eleven-year-old girl off of her tire swing in her back yard. As they begin to pull at her clothes, she catches the beautiful, golden eyes of one of the wolves and they both connect in an inexplicable way. The golden-eyed wolf saves her life, defending her from the pack.

Fast forward to the present, and that same girl, Grace Brisbane, is now in high school. She has a few good friends at school and a pair of scatterbrained, distracted parents. What particularly grounds her is watching “her wolf” who lives in the forest behind her house. What Grace doesn’t know is that the wolf is named Sam, and he turns human in the warm weather and stays a wolf during the cold.  Sam and Grace’s worlds collide when a local boy is believed to have been killed by the wolves, and the town launches into a full-scale wolf-hunt. The tension is heightened by the fact that each time Sam changes into a wolf it becomes less likely that he will change back into a human. He has to struggle after each change to throw off the wildness, the dreams of howling and blood on his lips.
 
Shiver is told in chapters alternating between Sam and Grace’s viewpoints. The plot is fast-paced and compelling, but it’s Sam and Grace’s relationship that really grabbed me as the reader. When Sam is human, he and Grace are like normal teenagers. They go on a date. They nap during the afternoon, raid the kitchen, and read novels out loud to each other. But Sam realized that he was “bringing the violence of [his] world to Grace’s. Wolves are in her school, her friend’s house and now hers. Wolves that hid human hearts within their pelts.”
 
The second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Linger, was recently published and promises to be another great read. Browse the Shiver Web site, where you can find playlists to accompany the book, videos, and more.