--wait. First, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve done an “official” Book Talk, so let me bring out Ye Olde Disclaimer:
In case you haven't read one of my Book Talks before, I'm not so much interested in "reviewing" or summarizing the plot, nor do I give this-many-stars or happy faces or what-have-you...I just love talking books.
Okay then, that still holds true from my earlier blogging days. Newer readers, now you know!
What I loved most about Shifting is that it’s full of emotions that are so real; the loneliness and hurt that Maggie Mae feels is palpable, and it made her come alive as a person. A part of me feels like I could head to New Mexico right now and find her if I tried. True-to-life characters make or break a story for me, and Bethany did an outstanding job in writing Maggie Mae. Mixed in with romance, suspense and Navajo magic, Shifting is an incredibly unique and well-written story I loved every minute of.
First, I have to share how much I loved Maggie Mae. I really enjoy when the thoughts of a character don’t exactly reflect what that character chooses to show the outside world. Maggie Mae has a defensive, numb-to-the-world exterior that hides the pain she holds inside, and I think most of us can relate to that on some level. Bethany did an incredible job of portraying Maggie Mae’s solitude. It made every positive thing that happened to her feel like a burst of warm light. When she repeatedly said things about not being able to count on anyone, “No one ever came back into my life once they’d left it,” I wanted happiness to happen for her so much. When she remarked about her hair looking better in its natural, blondish-red color but how she FELT better when it was dyed black, I put the book down for a second because I remember wanting to dye my hair black in my first year of high school. It was like Bethany had snuck into teenaged-me; I wanted to reach into the book and hug Maggie Mae. It’s those small details that made Maggie so real and relatable. My heart ached for her and I couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to see her wrapped in love; I wanted to see her heal. Well done, Bethany.
And of course, there is Maggie’s awesome ability. As the title implies, she is a Shifter-- able to shapeshift into animal form, though she can’t seem to control her power. I just want to say, I loved this. I’d never read a story about shapeshifters and it is a power I loved being able to vicariously experience through the pages of a book. The first time Maggie Mae fully shapeshifted I cheered! And the descriptions while Maggie was in animal-form were gorgeous.
Add to this a compelling element of suspense-- Skinwalkers are tracking Maggie down and it seems like they want her dead. All while Maggie tries to navigate her confusing feelings over Bridger, the sweet and protective boy who seems to want to kiss her one minute and push her away the next. She can’t bring herself trust with him with her secrets, but she can’t handle the terrifying Skinwalkers on her own and has to turn to someone. There’s a heartbreaking moment that made me want to yell at both Bridger and Maggie --actually, there were a lot of moments like that-- but that only tells me how real the world and these characters were to me. I was so happy there was an epilogue because I just didn’t want this story to end.
This is a great book. I loved it.
Before I close I want to say that this is an amazing feeling for me. I’ve always held a little dream that one day I’d be writing a Book Talk for someone I actually knew. When I first started blogging and making friends online, Bethany was one of them. She’s a gem of a person and has a special place in my heart; writing this Book Talk for Shifting feels surreal and incredible-- happy doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’m elated. I hope that this is the first of many Book Talks I write for her and for so many more of the friends I’ve made online.
I’m all misty-eyed now, gosh!! When I first sat down to write this I was sure I’d be hyper-SQUEE high energy, and instead I’m sentimental!! *Hugs* to you, Bethany. You deserve this.
And since this is an ARC tour, be sure to check out Katrina's review here. And check out Bethany Wiggins' blog here!