manifesta: (Rory/Logan Kiss)
manifesta ([personal profile] manifesta) wrote2010-04-06 07:06 pm

re: healthy relationships in YA

Maggie Stiefvater on young love in YA, bold emphasis mine:
"I think true love comes if you believe in it. If teens get nothing else from SHIVER, I hope they get this: that if you are open to love and are willing to settle for nothing less than someone who is completely into you and just you, who respects you for who you are, who is happy with your boundaries and interested in keeping you happy, you will find it. I want every teen who reads SHIVER to settle for nothing less than a relationship with that kind of equality and respect. Because you'll get what you demand, and if you go into it knowing that sort of love is possible -- well, you're a heckuva lot more likely to get it. It kills me when I meet teen girls who are dating some jerk who is less than respectful of them or who is making them do things they aren't ready for or who is disinterested or condescending. Real love lets you be the person you're meant to be. It makes you a bigger person, not less of one."
Though I haven't read SHIVER, this is the kind of message I can get behind. Whether the author's intentions are translated to the text or not is up for debate (anyone care to chime in?) but as soon as I get my hands on a copy I'll discuss it here.

Another thing that interested me was what I found while digging up reviews for it. The general summary I see going around is this:
"For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human... until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever."

Here's another summary from Beyond Hollywood:
"When a mysterious boy name Sam with yellow eyes show up, Grace realizes that he’s the wolf, but can only be human for a few months during the summer. In winter time, when it gets cold, he must revert back to wolf form. Further problems arise when a local boy is killed by a wolf, and a wolf hunt by the locals threaten Sam’s life. Can Grace save her hairy boyfriend?"
The most jarring difference between the two is how Grace's agency is framed. In the former, it's up to Sam to save himself, but in the latter, it's up to Grace to save him. It could very well be that it's a mix of both (and I don't doubt that it is), but both summaries convey a very different feel of autonomy. I think they also draw the line between a book that is just another mirror image of Twilight and a book where it's up to the mortal heroine to save her paranormal boyfriend, a new twist on a tired trope, and one that could potentially counter rape culture to boot.

Whether it actually does this... we'll see.
madame_parker: (Stock - Art {Shiori Matsumoto})

[personal profile] madame_parker 2010-04-08 12:30 am (UTC)(link)
I loved Shiver. For me, Grace does all the saving. She protects Sam, I felt throughout the book that it is a relationship based on equality, Grace is always in control, she's the one who says yes when Sam tries to pull back. Also, she's damn fearless, she'll growl back at a wolf, I loved that even more. Some reviewers felt that nothing happened in the book, they even said that even less things happen in Shiver than in Twilight but that's the thing I liked the most about Shiver. Sam and Grace get to know each other. They talk all the time. About his past, her feelings about her parents, his fear that this will be his last Winter, about poetry. It brings home the fact that a relationship is more than just being in love, you've got to talk, get to know each other really well. And Grace NEVER loses herself, she is always aware of what she wants, she's never forced by Sam or anyone else to do something she doesn't want to.
madame_parker: (D.Gray-man - Lenalee {Dark Boots})

[personal profile] madame_parker 2010-04-08 10:33 pm (UTC)(link)
I really do think that it's worth the read. I know that I enjoyed it a great deal, the rest is up to you. :)

You might get the feeling that Grace and Sam are obsessive about each other but that gets shattered all the time throughout the novel, Sam keeps pointing out that it's just a little creepy how he's been watching over Grace as a wolf over the years, to which Grace points out that she watched back just as much. And it's true, Grace loves both sides of Sam and I found that lovely. And there's also a very interesting hint about Grace herself. When she was attacked and got bitten, she should have turned into a wolf but she didn't. She's got an amazing sense of smell and sometimes you get the feeling that there's something of the wolf about her too.

Sam himself never feels anything like Edward Cullen. There's something very sweet about him. And the author points out that he's the kind of boy you'd never notice. Grace walks right by him when she's in the bookshop. He's broken but there's so much hope in him that I ended up caring a lot about him.
madame_parker: (Ouran - Tamaki {happy})

[personal profile] madame_parker 2010-04-09 12:08 am (UTC)(link)
I'll be more than willing to squee about the book with you! :D It needs more readers. And thanks for adding me back. I'm working on posting soon, real life has been crazy as hell.