Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Shifting, by Bethany Wiggins

shifting1Shifting is one of my first novels where shape shifting is the main premise. I really enjoyed this story, and I think many teens will too.

The orphan theme seems to be pervasive in YA lately, and this books follows the trend—17-year-old girl, been through many horrible fostering experiences, finally lands in a home with a good person. Fortunately, after the beginning of the book this is no longer a major plot line in the story.

Maggie Mae has been moved from Albuquerque to a small, rural town in Navaho country. It seems Maggie has been in trouble with the law a few times because of indecent exposure. She soon meets Bridger,our other main character, who is very mysterious.

Maggie is a Shifter. Whenever there is a full moon, she shifts into an animal. Maggie soon finds out she can shift at will, and uses this power to escape from her stressful life at a new school. She and Bridger become friends, and it seems like they could be more than friends, but Bridger is extremely rich and is not allowed to date anyone who is not a part of his social class. So they try to remain friends, but there is much tension in the relationship, because they both cannot deny their feelings.

While Maggie Mae is shifted, she is hunted and almost killed by a pack of wild animals. There’s also a strange man who is hunting for Maggie Mae. Suffice it to say, there are many mysteries to be exposed here. What is Bridger hiding? Why does he disappear at the most inopportune times? Why does Maggie Mae have this power? Who is the strange man stalking Maggie Mae? Why are these animals after her?

The plotting is well-paced, and keeps you reading to find out all of these answers. The characters are interesting and their emotions are real. There are a few times when Maggie Mae makes stupid decisions for the benefit of the plot, such as moving her room into the barn when the danger is the greatest. And…my biggest complaint…was the very abrupt and startling foreshadowing at the end of chapter 23. It was jarring, unnecessary, and somewhat ruined the ending of the book. It was as if Wiggins decided, “I need to use some literary technique somewhere. OK. I’ll used foreshadowing and I’ll stick it in right here.” I’m already 2/3 through the book. I’m invested. Hook me with the story, not with two sentences that jump out of nowhere. I’m hoping this will be removed in the final copy…..

The Shifter/Skinwalker legend is well-described and the ending is satisfying. There are some tense moments that had me flipping pages rather quickly.It was an easy book to read. I would recommend this to paranormal fans, both boys and girls.

Note: I have seen three different covers for this book. The ACR I have has the cover pictured above (and I like this one the best.) The other two involve her ponytail having a snake head at the end. While intriguing, there are no snakes anywhere in the book. Why would you put that on the cover?

Published by Walker & Company, September 27, 2011
ARC provided by Linworth Publishing for review
353 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 3.5/5

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1 comment:

  1. Hum...sounds interesting and worth a read, even with the odd bit of foreshadowing in it. Haven't heard of this one before -- thanks for the heads up.


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