I avoided these books for a while, not really wanting to read any more about werewolves, vampires and the like. I'm not sure what made me change my mind, but I think it was that I kept hearing praise for author Maggie Stiefvater and as a writer myself, I wanted to see if I agreed. I do, wholeheartedly.
In Shiver Grace loves wolves, one in particular. At the story's beginning, Grace does not know that they are werewolves and neither does the reader. Strangely, Grace was attacked by these same wolves who are often in the woods behind her house. It was eight years before when Grace was dragged off her tire swing and pulled into the woods. She has vague memories of one wolf preventing the others from killing her. And it is this wolf she constantly watches for, sometimes feeds, dreams of running side by side in the woods. The wolves in this story change back to their human form in the warmth of spring, changing back to wolves in late fall. Grace finally meets Sam, "her" wolf, when he is shot and she finds him naked and bleeding on her porch. Grace takes him to the hospital, then home. Grace's parents are often absent in her life, not really engaging her even when they are there. Sam is a secret easily kept.
The end of this first book solves one problem with book two, Linger, presenting another. In this story Grace's parents discover Sam in her bed and decide to start parenting. But Grace's problems with her parents become less concerning than her growing illness. A new character is introduced into this book, Cole, a former rock star who has chosen to become a werewolf at the invitation of Sam's adopted father Beck, who leads and provides for the wolves when they are in human form. Cole figures out the cause of Grace's illness. As she is saved from dying, she turns into a werewolf herself.
Book three Forever is a masterpiece of writing for YA. Stiefvater presents her characters in close first person point of view, each character having their chapters. Forever starts with a prologue written from the point of view of Shelby, a wolf who is angry and has a lot of hatred for humans. Shelby kills a girl who lies helpless in the woods, just as she is changing from wolf to human. Shelby is low in the pack, nearly outcast. She wants to rise to the top and later this motivates her to attack others in the pack. The story's main problem is the wolves are once again going to be hunted, this time by helicopter in an aerial shoot. Without revealing the story's ending, I applaud the rise in tension in book three and the way the author gets closer and closer into the heads of her characters. Stiefvater's writing is excellent, powerful and moving in places. Very good choices for teens who like a little fantasy, exciting action and a sweet love story.
Author of Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing December 2014:
Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel
Jeremiah needs a little help and he gets it with the sudden appearance of his guardian angel. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Jeremiah Lucky Finds Puppy Love
Jeremiah dodges a kiss from a princess and falls head over heels for a lost puppy. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Watch for these titles coming soon:
The Whispering Chimney
Eleven-year old Bethany finds a stone chimney and discovers a beautiful but terrifying past. (upper middle grade)
(Beyond the) Stone Eagle Gate
David, age fifteen, flees a false accusation and takes refuge in a haunted, abandoned mansion. (YA, historical fiction ghost story)
The Interplanetary Adventures of Yan Sunnara: Book I Rescue on Lato
Cultural scientist Yan Sunnara rescues an unusual child on the planet of Lato with the help of an exotic and beautiful Uvian archaeologist. (Adult, soft Science Fiction, Rescue on Lato is the first of a series of four novellas.)
Three teens are connected by a mysterious and sometimes frightening ability to cross over from one dimension here on earth to another. This YA novel placed in the top three in Florida Writers 2013 RPLA competition. Speculative Fiction.
Some Great MG and YA books
- Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
- Red Blood Road by Moira Young
- On Little Wings by Regina Sirois
- Nation by Terry Pratchett
- Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
- Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Printz 2012)
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- Fire by Kristin Cashore