Friday, December 30, 2011

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Bethany Wiggins

Grade: A+

Description from
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.
My thoughts on the book:
This is by far the best novel I've read all year. Maggie Mae is a character that you can't help but fall in love with. From the first page, she is extremely endearing, and you are overcome with the need to know her story. She's a foster child who has been bounced around within the system in Albuquerque, NM. After multiple arrests for indecent exposure, she gets transferred to Mr. Petersen's (her social worker) mother's home in Silver City, NM. Mrs. Carpenter, her new foster mother, is a lovable character as well, and she helps Maggie Mae accept who she is. 
Once in Silver City, Maggie Mae meets Bridger O'Connell, an extremely rich boy of Navajo decent. They get off to a rocky start, but they become fast friends. Bridger comes to her rescue when the mean girls at school tell everyone of her past and say that Maggie Mae used to be a prostitute. Maggie, of course, is not a prostitute, she's just a shifter. The bullying scene where some of her secrets come out, though, is heartbreaking. 
While parts of the novel can cause you to get teary eyed, there are also some funny parts, such as when Maggie tries and fails to change into certain animals, but ends up getting stuck in between being that animal and her human form. There are also some really intense fight scenes and enough mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat. 
The relationship between Bridger and Maggie is believable and develops at a slow, natural pace. There is no insta-love, thankfully, and they become friends before they decide they like each other as anything else. Maggie is not co-dependent. She does not need Bridger to survive, and after all she's been through, she still has a will to live. She is not a self-sacrificing heroine, instead, she looks out for those in her life as well as herself to the best of her ability.  She's a fighter, and she's an excellent role  model for girls and women alike. 
My favorite parts of the book are the Navajo legends that are woven into the story. Wiggins treated the Navajo with extreme respect, and she put some very interesting Navajo lore into the story. I really enjoyed the explanations of skinwalkers and the various protection rituals that the Navajo use. She obviously did her research before writing this novel, and it paid off. 
The climax of the novel is a bit shocking, and it will have you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails until you make it through. The ending wraps the novel up nicely, and it feels like Maggie Mae's story is over, but I still hope for a sequel because I loved all of the characters so much that I want to see more of them! 
The romance is sweet, the fight scenes have plenty of action, but aren't graphic, and there is no cursing in the novel. There is also no drinking or drug use by minors. Because of this, I'd recommend this book to anyone 12 years of age or older. 
Shifting is a beautiful story that will keep you hooked until the very end. Be prepared to lose some sleep with this book!

Want to read Shifting? Print Kindle E-book

Barnes and Noble: Print
Barnes and Noble: Nook E-book


  1. Wow. Thank you for ending my year on such an amazing note!!!


  2. Amen to this! I loved Shifting and your review sums up my feelings about it. :)

  3. You're welcome, Bethany! I can't wait to read what you write next.

    Nisa, I'm glad you liked the review and the book! :)

  4. I agree fully, I am not one for Young Adult novels but Bethany Wiggins pulled me into her book with her fluid writing and her amazing characters. They became real in the mind and she did great. Can't wait for her next book.

  5. Hi Liberty! I agree Bethany's writing is superb! Thanks for stopping by! :)

  6. I really enjoy your reviews. I think its because I feel like we're having a conversation instead of the review being a 'this was ok, and this was good and what not' type of review. :)

    1. Thanks! I started this blog so that I could talk to people about the books I've read. I'm glad my reviews come across that way! :)


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