Shifting, by Bethany Wiggins, is one of those books that I’m not entirely sure why I wanted to read it. Looking at it now nothing about the description (or the cover of the ARC) seems as if it would be appealing to me, personally.
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.
I liked that Shifting worked in Navajo legends. Or, at least, I assume it did because it claims to. I don’t actually know anything about Navajo so, I cannot corroborate anything on that front. Either way, it’s something I don’t see too much of in young adult fiction.
I always find placing orphans with crap foster parents or something similar is a trope used to often in ALL storytelling mediums, not just young adult, and while that has happened in Maggie Mae’s past, at the beginning of this story, she is placed with a nice lady who genuinely cares for her. And that pattern is pretty much used throughout the story. Wiggins does a good job of including a lot of tropes but changing them so they feel like a part of the story.
Though, I will say, I do think the “mean-girl” trope in this one was taken a little far. That never would’ve happened at my high school. Maybe I’m wrong though, and over-estimating people. Other high school’s might’ve been worse than mine.
And then there’s Bridger. I loved that Bridger and Maggie Mae had conversations, and hung out, and had a real relationship. Bridger was still the mysterious, gorgeous guy so common in young adult, but at least he had a real relationship with the female lead. And he had his own problems. His whole life wasn’t perfect. I liked that as well.
There isn’t much of a mystery in the book so much as there’s an looming threat throughout. And that was done very well. The threatening experiences got more and more intense as the story progressed.
All in all, it was a fun story with some fun characters and a fun idea behind everything. I assume there’s going to be sequels, or a series or something as the ending left some things hanging, but thankfully was not a cliffhanger in any way. Which I always appreciate. If you’re looking for fun read with some tense moments, a good relationship, and a different feel then a lot of other books out there, I recommend giving Shifting a try.