Shiver by Maggie Steifvater

August is Once Upon a Time...
August is all about fairy tales retold. Ancient stories that have been brought up to date in modern times. These are a great way to get lost in a romance, an adventure, breaking the spell, or finding your true home. Back-to-school doesn't have to mean back-to-boring.

One of Grace's first memories is of the wolves. They attacked her, but all she remembers is the piercing yellow eyes of her wolf. Despite their rough treatment, she survives, and continues to be enraptured by the wolves, especially her wolf.

Years later, when a student at her high school is attacked and killed, Grace sticks up for the wolves. It's their nature, and knowing Jack Culpeper, he provoked them. Feeling desperate when she learns a hunting party has been sent out to kill them, she rushes into the woods, unsure of what she hopes to do. Witnessing one wolf get shot, her wolf, she is amazed to watch him transform into a teenage this really happening? He begs her not to let him change back, he is Sam.

Without much more thought, she rushes him to the hospital. Finally alone after his wound is stitched up, he begins to explain. His werewolf blood accelarates his healing process, so they have to get out of the hospital before someone figures it out. The "change" between human and wolf is facilitated by temperature, the colder it is, the more likely he is to change. Grace takes him back to her house, not knowing what else to do, and not willing to let him out of her sight. The wolf, her wolf, is Sam...this desire she has always held is real. He is real.

The biggest question is when - when will he change again? The tenuous nature of his existence does nothing to alleviate the very real feelings they have for each other. It's as if a dream has come true for both of them. He has always watched her, just as she has watched him. Their devotion develops in a way that seems meant to be. His respect for her is admirable and refreshing, without being too chaste.

Jack, it turns out, is not dead. He has changed, just as those before him. As a new wolf, he is unstable. He is showing up at the school, at home, threatening to expose their secret. Sam confronts him, only to learn that Jack is convinced that Grace knows the cure. She is the only one who was bitten, but didn't change. As the winter grows ever closer, the inevitable change in Sam becomes a tangible obstacle. Will Jack's insistence that Grace knows the answer turn into violence? Will Jack's sister Isabel expose their secret? Are Grace and Sam doomed to know love, only to lose it?

This book is what Twilight should have been, in my humble opinion. Highly recommended, which means a lot coming from a person who generally dislikes romance.

"Dull orange-brown leaves, dry and dead, clung to the branches and fluttered in the wind, waiting for the gust of wind that would knock them to the ground. That was what Sam was: transient. A summer leaf clinging to a frozen branch for as long as possible. 'You're beautiful and sad," I said finally, not looking at him when I did. 'Just like your eyes. You're like a song that I heard when I was a little kid but forgot I knew until I heard it again,'" (Steifvater pg. 208, 2009).

*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

Linger by Maggie Steifvater
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

Steifvater, Maggie. (2009). Shiver. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Adrian is a beast. He used to be rich, handsome, popular Kyle...but not anymore. Now he's alone. Even his father wants nothing to do with him. Who would? He's a Beast, remember?

The witch who put him under the spell tells him the spell can only be broken by true love's kiss. But where is he going to find someone who can stand to be around him, let alone kiss him?! One night, someone breaks into his house. The man looks like a bum, a junkie, trying to score some cash. Adrian strikes a deal with him, he can leave on one condition. He must send his daughter to take his place.

Adrian has been watching her, the daughter of the horrible man, but she is far from horrible. She is lovely! He has hope for the first time in years. Perhaps she will appreciate him for who he is, instead of his appearance. He readies her room, buys her new clothes, cuts flowers from his beloved greenhouse...all for her. Will she ever accept him?

This retelling of Beauty and the Beast is a fun, modern take on a classic. It's even been adapted into a movie, which is scheduled to be released in March, 2011. Recommended for lovers of fairy tales and romance.

"...I picked her up to carry her to her room. She woke halfway up the dark staircase. 'What the...?' 'You fell asleep. I was carrying you to your room. Don't worry. I won't hurt you. I promise. You can trust me. And I won't drop you.' Her weight was barely anything in my arms. The beast was strong too," (Flinn pg. 205, 2007).

*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
The Rose and the Beast by Francesca Lia Block

Flinn, Alex. (2007). Beastly. New York, NY: HarperTeen.

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Scarlet and Rosie are not your typical teenagers. They couldn't be, after what they experienced. Scarlet lost her eye to the wolf, the Fenris, who killed their grandmother. Now they are hunters, because they know the truth. They must protect all the others who live in blissful ignorance. They are two halves of the same heart, beating as one, hunting and surviving...but is it enough?

Silas is back from California. Silas, Scarlet's partner in the hunt, something like a brother, has returned. Scarlet feared he would stay there, but once he's back, everything is forgiven. Rosie can't help but notice how handsome he looks, how her heart beats faster when he's around, how she wants to inch closer to him on the couch. But she's a hunter, and hunters don't fall in love.

The wolves are on the lookout for "The Potential", the man who can be turned into a wolf. Scarlet, Rosie, and Silas are unclear on why or how someone is chosen, but they decide to move to the city to fight the packs while they are in force. After a few disappointing attempts, Scarlet decides that they need to look for "The Potential" to use as bait.

Meanwhile, Rosie starts to give in to her feelings for Silas. Is this a mutual attraction? How will Scarlet feel about it? She feels as if she is betraying the other half of her heart. Can she be a hunter, AND something else? So many questions surround them. Without "The Potential" they have few options left to lure the wolves, and they are running out of time to find him before the Fenris do. Could it be the answer was in front of them all the time?

This modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood brings the story well into the present. Told from the viewpoints of each sister, this explores themes of love and loss, and acceptance.

"Scarlett took a step forward, then another, until she was so close to the monster that the rotting stench emanating from his throat choked her. The wolf opened his wide, long jaws, rows of teeth and bloodstained tongue stretching for her. A thought locked itself in Scarlett’s mind, and she repeated it over and over until it became a chant, a prayer: I am the only one left to fight, so now I must kill you,"(Pearce pg. 8, 2010).

*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Linger by Maggie Steifvater
Ash by Malinda Lo

Pearce, Jackson. (2010). Sisters Red. New York, NY: Little, Brown.