Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm in the minority on these two...

I just didn't love them. All the other reviews I've seen on both these YA novels have been, for the most part, glowing. Bloggers everywhere are loving Shiver and really liking The Lost Summer, but for me, "eh" on both. I didn't really care for either main character and the ending of one of them had me wanting to scream: "You did NOT just do that." Sigh. Oh well. I'm not big on writing negative reviews, but I do want to honestly share my thoughts on what I'm reading. And we go.

Shiver, written by Maggie Stiefvater, gives us the story of Grace and Sam, two teens caught between the human world (Grace) and the werewolf world (Sam). Grace has been intrigued by the wolves since she was attacked as a young girl, always watching them in her backyard, though Sam was the one that always caught her eye. When she meets Sam in his human form for what may be the last time, they (of course) fall in love amidst adversity and have to fight to keep Sam human or risk never being together again.

Shiver has a beautifully unique cover that really caught my attention. I love the colors and the bright red dot of the "I," definitely intriguing and thought provoking. And the whole werewolf thing was interesting as well, being the hot topic of the moment and I think the author worked in a nice spin on the whole werewolf/human love affair and the idea of the cold being the cause of the change. That being said, Grace drove me crazy. She was so nonchalant about the entire process. Oh, Sam's a werewolf? Well, ok, no big deal. Oh, and I might be a werewolf too? Well, ok, no big deal. She just came off as gloomy and depressed and that irritated me.

Honestly, I was at the point by page 200 or so, that I just wanted to be done reading it. I, unfortunately, didn't really care what the ending had in store for the characters, but once I got there, did think the ending was done well and left room for the sequel I've heard is coming. Will I read it? Probably...I still like the whole werewolf concept, but I just hope for some better character development in the coming book.

The Lost Summer, written by Kathryn Williams, had a lot going for it until it got to the end. Then it turned into a bad soap opera...but more about that later.

Helena has been going to camp at Southpoint for years, feeling that it's the one place she feels most comfortable with herself and most at home. This year, however, she's going as a counselor for the first time and her best friend Katie Bell is still only a camper, changing the whole summer for both of them.

All of a sudden, Helena is hanging with the in-crowd of counselors and boys from the brother camp, leaving her camper ways behind and Katie Bell in the proverbial dust. When a tragic accident results in Helena almost being killed, she learns that growing up often means letting go of part of one's self, and for her, that means letting go of camp.


So...the camp part was good. A nice coming-of-age summer story, good for the teens to relate to. And then came the soap opera-esque ending where Helena is in a boating accident and suddenly knows that she can never return to camp. The accident came out of nowhere and to me, was completely unnecessary to convey the whole "growing up and moving on" thing. The boy she likes and her friends all come to be by her side in the hospital to convince her she doesn't have to let go of Southpoint, but in the end, she just must. Urgh. It was more than a bit annoying.

As I mentioned previously, lots of others have loved both these books. Maybe, in time, I'll go back and revisit them and see what I'm missing out on. For now, they were just ok for me.

Thank you to Scholastic and Disney-Hyperion for review copies :)

Maggie Stiefvater
400 pages
Young Adult
August 2009

The Lost Summer
Kathryn Williams
272 pages
Young Adult
July 2009


Susan said...

Huh - I don't think I've read anything bad about Shiver yet. Interesting. I'm actually giving away THE LOST SUMMER on my blog right now. I haven't read it yet, so I skipped that review - I'll have to come back when I've read it. It's always refreshing to read honest reviews :)

Janssen said...

I'm always a little disappointed when I find myself underwhelmed by wildly popular books. Such is life. . .

Staci said...

I too was drawn into Shiver by the cover....I'll probably still read that one for sure. Thanks for your reviews!

Abby said...

I enjoyed Shiver... and I can see your point about Grace's reaction to the werewolf thing, but I guess what I took from it was that part of Grace always knew. Grace had always had a special bond with Sam and part of her was in love with him from way back when she was attacked and he saved her. Which is why I was more easily able to buy the fact that she just accepted the whole werewolf thing.

But I'm a firm believer in to each his own! I'm struggling a little bit with THE PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS, of which I've read several good reviews. It's just not speaking to me.

Thoughts of Joy said...

Well, you were braver than I! I stopped reading Shiver at page 100. It was soooo bland and flat that I couldn't give it another page.