Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book Review: Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Walker Childrens (September 27, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802722806
ISBN-13: 978-0802722805
Series: No
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Cover: I like this cover. I get the sense of the native american feel with the braid and the snake at the end is super creepy but does explain the title. I'm not sure if this cover jumps out at me but I do find it very interesting.
First Sentence: I woke to the sun setting behind mountains and peeled my forehead from the car window.

Mini-ReviewShifting is absolutely addictive from beginning to end.


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.

Shifting brings something completely new to the paranormal genre, giving the reader a rich background, new creatures and a cast of characters that jump off the page with their vivacious personalities. Bethany Wiggins' writing is flawless and the pacing is literally prefect, with a plenty of twists and turns until the very end. Shifting is absolutely addictive from beginning to end.

Maggie Mae's voice drew me in instantly as did the circumstances behind her being passed around from foster home to foster home. What I found when I read further was a resourceful, intelligent and independentyoung heroine. As her story unfolded I began to bond with her, feeling sorry for those holes still in her heart and rejoicing when she began to find people to fill them. Her voice just rolled off the page and I loved that she seemed like a normal girl but that she was completely capable of taking care of herself most of the time. But she wasn't against letting someone take care of her when she simply couldn't. Plus, this girl was smart, funny and had major guts which I loved!

Bridger O'Connell and Maggie Mae's relationship is everything I want in a love story. They start out slow and build to a strong crescendo with plenty of sexual tension and suspense sprinkled in. Once the spark is fanned, their relationship spreads like fire. I liked Bridger because he was difficult to figure out. I had no idea what his role would turn out to be in the book and was surprised twice over as it unfolded. He was the perfect blend of sweet without being corny and sexy but sometimes aloof. Mrs. Carpenter, the lady Maggie Mae moves in with, was just as vivacious, delivering most of the lines that had me laughing to myself at the middle of work. Every character in here, even the little bitty secondary characters, felt real to me. We might not have known their thoughts and motivations but we certainly know that they were there.

The single thing that impressed me the most was Bethany Wiggins writing because it was invisible. Not once did I feel like Ms. Wiggins was telling me a story but rather Maggie Mae was. The voice had a life of its own that lifted it off the page and made me forget that this was a character out of someone's head and not a living breathing girl. It's extreme rare for me to read a novel and not notice the prose but I was never broken out of Maggie Mae's story because of the writing. It was incredible!

Another highlight of this book was the Navajo mythology and background that is soaked into every page. I'd never heard of Skinwalkers before and was eager to find out what it all meant and how it tied into Maggie Mae. Everything in the small town Maggie Mae moves to is tinged with the Navajo ethnicity from the house she moves into to the kids she goes to school with to the restaurant she gets a job at. It really helped immerse me in that world.

Shifting truly is a unique reading experience filled with people you've not met before and things you probably don't know. These characters will carve a place in your heart and this debut isn't something you're likely to forget. Exciting, adventurous and tinged with magic, Shifting was everything I didn't know I wanted and more. Pick a night, crack open this book and prepare to be blown away.

Favorite Quotes:

"Dear Lord, thank you for this glorious morning. And thanks for blessing me with the chance to foster this child. But please Lord, let her keep her clothes on while she's in my care. Because if she doesn't I might be tempted to spank her bare butt."
--Pg. 12 of "Shifting" by Bethany Wiggins spoken by Ms. Carpenter
"Don't worry about what anyone in this gym thinks about you expect for me. I'm the one you're with. I think you're beautiful. That's all that matters."
--Pg. 70 of "Shifting" by Bethany Wiggins spoken by Bridger 
This stuff? Oh, I tried to turn into a fairy with wings and pixie dust this afternoon and it backfired, I thought sarcastically...
--Pg.128 of "Shifting" by Bethany Wiggins (it appears this was not in the final version as this scene was cut but I LOVE this line.)
I tore my shirt off in the middle of the dining room. The college boys I'd been waiting on cheered and clapped, and left me a really good tip.
--Pg. 130 of "Shifting" by Bethany Wiggins


  1. This sounds like a great book! I love when the mc can accept/ask for help. I've read another book about Skinwalker, creepy but cool. I definitely need to keep am eye out for this one.
    Great review!

  2. I really enjoyed this one too! Maggie Mae was a great character. I agree with a lot of what you have to say - I was a little befuddled by Bridger too. :)

    Nice review!

  3. I've seen this one around and it sounds good!! Glad you enjoyed it. =)

  4. You had me at Navajo. I am a HUGE fan of native myth retellings (even got to spend some time on a reservation when I was younger) and I have so much love and respect for these people and their culture and history. So I am absolutely looking forward to reading this book!!!


  5. I am a huge fan of this book too, and I'm thrilled to see your review because not enough people are reading it!

    I absolutely love what you said about Bethany's writing being invisible. So true. The scene were Maggie was being bullied actually made me tear up and I suddenly sat up and thought "whoa, this isn't actually happening...?" I love when books can pull me in like that.

  6. WOW! This sounds like a fantastic read. I kept seeing the cover and it made me wonder what this book was I know :-) Thanks for the great review!

  7. Wow! This sounds so amazing! I've got to get my hands on this one! This is the first review I've seen of it, so thank you!

  8. I hadn't heard of this book before. Your review was great - Shifting is now on my TBR list. Hopefully I'll win a copy from you! Thanks for doing an awesome review!

  9. I have heard a lot of good things about this book but your review has me hooked! I am so excited to get my hands on a copy of this!

  10. Thanks so much for this review! I hadn't heard about it but skinwalkers, and shape-shifters and Navajo legends all sound so awesome. As does Maggie Mae

  11. I have to start this one soon, it might even be my next read when I am done with Lies Beneath. These characters seem really great and like they will be alot of fun.

  12. Wow, I love how the author made you forget that she was acutally writing the book. I love how Maggie was "actually" telling the story. That is so rare! Amazing review!

  13. Great review!! Your opinion on this book makes it incredibly hard not to purchase it and get my own copy.

  14. Awesome review, I really want to read it for myself now!!

  15. Thanks for the review! Sounds fantastic :)
    And the cover is so dreamy-scary with those eyes and the snake-hair.

  16. Great review! I saw this the other day in a bookstore and I so regret it that I don't 'bandersnatch it'. I guess I'll be ordering it online ;)

    Fara @ Tumbling In Books


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