Had this come in through my slushpile, I'd have 1) read the whole thing 2) shown it to my interns and others in the office, who probably wouldn't like it--for the reasons Anon mentioned, and 3) sent a long email detailing edits I would request. Then I'd see how she'd react.
See, this is a sneaky agent trick. If we're on the fence--not just on the fence, but loving some things and hating others--we'll sometimes send edits and see how the author responds.
It's a risk: we know there may be other agents hovering nearby, and sometimes authors will simply go with the agent who first says, "Hi! It's perfect! I'm going to make you the next bestselling author! You'll have a gold-plated private jet, an international tour (starting in Paris), and a big enough advance to buy a castle! How does that sound?"
Okay, I'm exaggerating. (It'd be a mansion, not a castle.) But really. Some authors will go with whatever agent suggests the least amount of work. Their books may be marvelous rough diamonds, but do I really want a writer who doesn't want to work? Over the long term, it's likely to cause problems. I can't say to an editor--assuming the as-is version sells--"That's right, you bought it as-is, and no, you *can't* change that comma on page 203. Nope. Nope. Sorry. Uh-uh. It's incorrect? Splice giving you a headache? Walk it off."
See, there's a little thing in publishing contracts called Acceptance. You don't just get paid when you deliver a manuscript (as per your payout), you get paid when the manuscript is delivered and accepted (approved of) by the house.
So an author who simply refuses to edit, or who doesn't take direction well, may find his/her work suddenly not accepted. Realistically, this usually means that there's an unfortunate back-and-forth between the editor, the agent, and the author, and eventually something's turned in that's accepted. Not always, though. In the worst case, it's possible to get a great big "NEVER MIND" from the publisher. That's never happened to me, thankfreakinggoodness.
Anyway, I digress. Had this been in my slush, I would have sent a long email detailing the following, which I see as problems with the work:
- First and foremost, this work doesn't follow the traditional dramatic structure (intro, development, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution) in the way that I'd hoped. I felt, instead, like there were several rising actions, climaxes, and falling actions--technically, I suppose, we could consider the injection to be the climax, but by that point, I was already adrenaline-fatigued by the earlier "Oh goodness! Look out! Oh my goodness is that...? IS THAT? Oh NO! Oh wait--oh, okay, it's fine again" moments.
- Though it's mostly likely unintentional, probably subconscious, the protagonist suffers from a major case of [word that needs to be invented that means "throwing aside everything of importance and/or stability and/or self-interest/self-preservation in order to pursue a young man who is a remarkably bad bet psychologically/emotionally"] -itis. Dude. Seriously. She's going to suddenly not care about school (she'd been doing quite well), her friends (isn't that a major sign of being in an unhealthy relationship?), her previous dreams, and her life (she wants, at one point, to be a wolf too) to go after someone who's only available a half a year, who's made her no promises, who does little other than look cute and get her into bad situations? REALLY? I know, you're going to say it's just fiction. No. There's no "just." Books you read at that age help form your image of the way the world works. It's a hefty authorial responsibility.
yea her parents were absentee parents, but these days, what parents are 100%? everything else in her life was fine. she had no excuse to be a jerk.
I think her parents were worse than normal parents--they barely noticed her and were out until 3 a.m. regularly. I'd say many parents at least manage to be 80 percent--hers were more like 50 or 60. And not everything was fine. She had friends, yes, but she felt alone and as if she wasn't connecting with them.
it seemed to me that the author was trying to make her female protagonist "strong" by making her rude and cold and sterile, devoid of emotion or interest in creative thought.
Given the somewhat un-PC and antifeminist sentiment mentioned earlier, I doubt it. I think it's just that's how she came through to the author. I agree she could be more multifaceted.
SERIOUSLY?? WHAT KIND OF HIGH SCHOOL KID STAYS HOME AND MAKES QUICHE? FOR FUN?
Um, I did. Cooking's cool, yo. Besides, they needed an at-home activity to keep them busy so they could ask Isabela what they needed to and keep her busy at the same time.
Pardon my inability to jump from 'hello, how are you' to 'would you like to sleep in my bed and fall in love with me for no reason except that we have an Unexplainable Attraction To One Another, even though we have Nothing In Common'
True dat. I love their romantic schedule: nothing, nothing, nothing (for good reason; he's a wolf); he saves her life; he becomes human and that same day sleeps in her bed--and does so regularly for months yet they never do more than kiss--and then, BAM! They "make love." Once. In the whole book. What? At the risk of making rude inferences about the author's love life...
and not mind at ALL that he used to check her out butt-nekkid as a wolf
Yeah, that's creepy. I *really* hope this doesn't mean that young women reading this will think--as the protagonist seemed to--that it's cute if men stalk you. Seriously, it was mentioned three times like, "Aww, yes, wasn't that romantic that you were looking through my bedroom window while in the body of a deadly creature?" And where were her curtains?? Geez.
oh, but they eventually fixed his (already inherently stupid and weakly supported) problem :SPOILER ALERT: with meningitis? REALLY? Really Maggie Stiefvater???
I know. I'm not a fan, either. There are so many things wrong with this. First, curing a supernatural condition with a human disease? Great, let's inject some vamps with AIDS/another blood-transmitted disease and see how that goes. Grrrr. So many bad lessons for the kiddies reading. Also, while I believe that Isabela's mother could do some charity work at the clinic, I have a very hard time believing Isabela could manage to 1) dress up as a nurse 2) sneak in unnoticed by her mother or others 3) draw blood from patients without them realizing she's not a nurse 4) store it in the fridge without anyone noticing 5) sneak everyone back into the clinic (um, don't they have security?) and 6) convince everyone to go along with it. Geeez. No no no.
and then just when you think things Might Actually Go Somewhere -- BAM. The book ends. Time for another FOUR sequels, perhaps????
Well, so far, just one. I just checked Publishers Marketplace, and it was sold as two-book, "significant" deal, at auction. Audio rights have sold for Shiver and a second (called Linger), and movie rights have sold for Shiver.
Sam was a total and complete WUSS. He likes to cry and read Rilke in GERMAN.
I didn't think he was necessarily a wuss, and I liked his reading habits. Unfortunately, emo (but still insensitive) seems to be the new YA male standard.
[He] comes up with the CHEESIEST song lyrics every time Grace does, well, nothing memorable, but somehow seems ravishing to him and his non-beastly/self-contained/sexually-repressed/i-don't-want-to-be-a-monster (Sound familiar, anyone?)/i'm-so-EMO ways
I was okay with the song lyrics. They're delightfully bad--amusing, like finding poems you wrote in high school. But they weren't *all* bad. I think this aspect was actually done quite well--injecting just a bit of teen angst and showing how deeply they feel for each other.
So, yes. I do think it's worth reading--but probably not worth buying in hardcover. For me, it was "read it in three days but only on the subway" good.
And yes, the cover is ridiculously pretty.