After the Shiver trilogy, Cole and Isabel reunite in Los Angeles.
Cole St. Clair has returned to California and his music career. He’s teamed up with an Internet reality TV producer, Baby North, to star in a Web show ostensibly about the making of his new album. Baby’s a life destroyer who specializes in train wrecks—everyone is hoping to watch the now-clean Cole relapse into drugs, debauchery and self-destruction. Antagonist Baby is willing to engineer things if that’s what it takes to create good television. Meanwhile, ice queen Isabel is living with her mother, divorced aunt and awkward cousin while Isabel’s parents’ marriage enters the end stages of implosion. Her trust is fragile and her feelings toward Cole, complicated. Stiefvater is not overreliant on misunderstandings between the two narrators, as too many other romance writers are, instead opting for a believable, realistic portrayal of damaged people struggling to fit their quirks together in a relationship. The relationship between the richly drawn characters is the heart of the book—it is light on paranormal and wolf action. Cole and Isabel are both jerks, but they are jerks with hearts, and they keep up with each other’s witty banter. The ending wraps up a bit too neatly, but getting there is an absolute delight.
A spectacularly messy, emotionally oh-so-human romance. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)