Author: Bethany Wiggins
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
ISBN-10: 0802722806 (Bloomsbury Childrens)
ISBN-13: 978-0802722805 (Bloomsbury Childrens)
Reviewed by: Kayla
After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she’s eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she’s determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O’Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it’s not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.
Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.
Quick & Dirty: One word: angst. This book is full of it. The romance tears at your heart, the mythology is unusual and exciting and the minor characters are unusually helpful!
Opening Sentence: I woke to the sun setting behind mountains and peeled my forehead from the car window.
Love this book. Just saying.
Maggie has finally come to the last foster home before she turns 18, but it’s not everything its cracked up to be. Sure her current family is just her agent’s mom who’s strict yet understanding. Sure she’s going to prom with possibly the cutest guy in town. Sure she’s got the track coach under her thumb. But there is someone out there on the hunt for her, following her tracks and eventually sniffing around her work. Even worse: she’s not sure why animals keep attacking her. As in trying to kill her. Is it just coincidence or is it because Maggie has a special gift – or curse – the ability to shape-shift into almost any animal by just thinking about it. Just when her life starts taking a turn for the better, the attacks start getting worse and the only person she feels safe with abandons her. And Maggie thought that this new start is just the next step before freedom…
This book. Agh. It was some of the most angst filled books I’ve read in a while. And I LOVED it. From the torn and broken characters to the Navajo mythology, I loved every second of this book (except the beginning. It was boring. But once Wiggins introduces Bridger O’Connell, there is no going back.) Wiggins’ writing can be so intense at times, but there are the light, fun times that give the reader a breath before the next intense scene comes and destroys your heart. AH! It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride.
So you know how whenever a minor character isn’t the least bit helpful or friendly, they usually end up dying? (No? Maybe I’ve just read too many dystopian stories lately.) Well, I kept expecting somebody to die, but I kept reading and nothing. Nobody dies. (This is a misleading sentence, nobody nice dies.) And I appreciate this. It’s refreshing when you expect a character you really like to die, and they don’t. This is just one of the many positives about this book. (I feel like this last sentence is a cliche in a school essay…and since this isn’t an essay I’m keeping it. Take THAT English teachers!)
Maggie is such a lovable character. She’s been though multiple arrests for indecent exposure, shifts into an animal on a full moon, and has jumped around from family to family without really getting know people for fear that she’ll just leave anyway. She just wants to get through senior year and move on with her life. I love when a main character is already broken, yet they keep on persevering though the hard times. Maggie has obstacle after obstacle fall in her path, yet she comes back with more determination the next time. Although her own emotional roller-coaster is easier with her best friend at her side.
Bridger O’Connell. In the beginning he’s just a jock and cold shoulder supreme until he finally breaks down and gets to know Maggie. (Cliche, right?) But despite the predictable relationship that develops, Bridger is still one of my favorite YA boys. He has his own personal responsibilities that he has to keep secret from Maggie and yet he still tries to get to know her. He’s banned from dating “local girls” (one of the reasons this makes the book so angsty) yet he still wants to befriend Maggie. I love him for his bravery and determination to still care for Maggie, despite his parents’ wishes. It’s both endearing and sweet.
Overall, there’s not much I didn’t like about the book. The character arcs were pretty predictable, but it’s the how’s that kept me reading. This could have been such a great series, but the book had a satisfying ending. My suggestion: READ IT. You won’t regret it.
“I’ve really missed you,” I whispered, looking into my empty mug.
He let out a long breath of air. “Believe me, I know.”
I look at him.
“Maggie, I don’t know what’s wrong with me–I feel everything you feel. Even when you aren’t beside me. Even when I’m asleep.” For the first time I noticed how tired he looked–how miserable. Black half-moons darkened the skin beneath his eyes and his cheeks were almost gaunt and covered with black stubble. “I took Angelene all the way to Deming for dinner, hoping to get you out of my head, but no. All that evening, all I could feel was miserable anguish. Your miserable anguish! And this morning at Wal-Mart, it was all I could do not to fall to the floor and cry, your emotions were so strong.” He reached his hand across the table and took mine. His eyes turned haunted. “And the night you were at the mine…” A shiver racked his body. “What happened? Why were you there?”
“You were there, too,” I accused.
“Of course I was there! Your fear–it was just like tonight! I thought you were going to be killed!”
FTC Advisory: Walker Childrens/Bloomsbury provided me with a copy of Shifting. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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