SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater: Plots & Subplots, Twisting & Weaving
Hey, everybody, watch out! There is a contest at the end of this post! And it is a contest for a scary book. And I, Grover, am here to warn you and to tell you not to keep reading. Do not scroll down to the end of this post!
Moving on now.
Yes, I know it’s been out since last August and that it’s sequel, Linger, is coming out this July. I know it’s been talked up all over the web and by booksellers and librarians and kidlit readers. Hey, I can’t keep up with everything!
I do get there, eventually, however, and I am here to say that Shiver is worth every bit of that talk. It blew me away, for several reasons, not least of which is the wonderful love story based on two absolute non-wimps—active characters that take on the world and actually do something about it.
I’m not going to talk about character, though, today. I’m going to talk about plot. Complicated plot. With lots of important subplots. All woven together into one beautifully connected, intense story.
Watch my juggling act as–without dropping one spoiler–I tell you what Stiefvater does.
- Writes a love story filled with clear and seriously problematic obstacles and what-will-happen-ifs
- Complicates that love story with a soupçon of family and personal background, just enough to add believable (and still non-wimpy) vulnerability to the participants
- Inserts a paranormal element that complicates that love story even more
- Creates secondary characters with strong subplots that tie strongly and with individuality into that paranormal element
- Brings each subplot and each secondary character back into story with exquisite timing, just when the reader needs to be reminded about them and at the exact moment/place to amp up the tension
- Does all of this seamlessly, with the magic wand of writing that makes it look, to the reader’s eye, easy and effortless
And did I mention that NOBODY IS WIMPY?! Think Romeo and Juliet with not one swoon, not one set of hands clasped woefully to a bosom, not one despairing glance. Sam and Grace never stop fighting for themselves, for each other, for their friends. I love these guys.
I love them so much that, even seven months after publication, I must put a copy of this book into somebody’s hands. Somebody who (while inhabiting the same faraway planet as me) has not yet read it, or someone who picked it up at the library or borrowed it from a friend and now wants their own, always-available-for-a-reread copy.
The contest is open! Leave a comment to this post, between now and next Tuesday (March 30th). Son and I will draw the winner’s name, and I’ll announce it here on Wednesday the 31st. Make sure and come back to check if you’ve won! Then everybody will be happy.