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!

(Okay, I couldn’t resist, with much love and many thanks to Jon Stone, the author of one of my other, all-time favorite books!)

Moving on now.

I just read Maggie Stiefvater’s  Shiver.

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. 

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38 thoughts on “SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater: Plots & Subplots, Twisting & Weaving

  1. I’d never thought about this before, but you’re right — no one in SHIVER is wimpy! Yet another reason to love this book. I could read it again and again (if I hadn’t just given my copy to my sister-in-law-in-training). Great review! Jeni

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  2. Nancy Laughlin says:

    This book has been on my “to buy” list. Now after reading your review, I want to read it even more. It sounds great!

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    • beckylevine says:

      Nancy, it’s one of those books that is just a sheer pleasure to read (even with the tension!), and that–as a writer–seriously impresses me with the level of craft. I think you’ll like it!

      Like

  3. Nat says:

    Wow! Your blog just gets better! It was only two days ago a friend recommended this book to me, with similar high praise! One way or another I intend to add it to my reading pile. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Nat xxx

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  4. Don’t enter me — I’ve already read it, loaned it and bought copies to give away as well! I just wanted to say how much I loved this book for all the reasons you mentioned and more. It is simply just brilliant writing. I’m glad we’re of the same mind 🙂

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    • beckylevine says:

      Okay, I won’t enter you–unless you think of someone else who really needs the book that you could give it to! Have you read her other series?It’s on my list now.

      Like

  5. Dori says:

    I haven’t read it yet either, but I did walk past the author (and met her briefly) on the sidewalk of Philadelphia (during NCTE) last November.

    Like

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