Allie Reynolds | Shiver

shiver allie reynolds

The Book: 

Shiver by Allie Reynolds, 2021

The Characters: 

Her former snowboarding friends: Curtis, Brent, Heather, and Dale
Saskia, Odette, and Julien who were also friends of the group in the past

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Get it on Amazon.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

How far would you go to win? Hyper-competitive people, mind games and a dangerous natural environment combine to make the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular debut novel Shiver.

When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.

The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.

In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.

Click here for book spoilers for <em>Shiver</em>
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Shiver, I suggest you turn back now.

Odette and Saskia were dating.

Milla had slept with Saskia the night before their big competition.  Brent (who she was previously dating) found out the morning of. He punched Saskia when she goaded him about it, and she fell and hit her head. He panicked, and happened to run into Heather who helped him cover it up. They brought Saskia’s body up the chairlift in her snowboarding bag, unsure of what to do with her. 

Milla also crushed sleeping pills into her drink, intending to throw Saskia off her game. Brent and Heather were not sure if Saskia was dead or not.

Curtis was searching for Saskia that morning, angry at her for the fight she had caused in the bar the night before. He angrily kicked Saskia’s snowboarding bag into a crevasse, not knowing her body was in it. 

Saskia was definitely dead, but no one knew exactly who killed her. Slash they all played a part except for Dale.

Right before Odette’s run in the competition, Odette asked Milla if she had seen Saskia that morning. Milla started to answer just as Odette’s name was called. Odette messed up a trick and landed on her neck, fully paralyzing herself.

The Twist: 

Odette made a near complete recovery from her paralysis. Her brothers worked the lifts at the resort, and she was the one who had trapped the friends there and was messing with them. She knew one of them had killed Saskia, and was trying to avenge her death. She also had become an olympic biathlete, and therefore was used to shooting while on skis. 

The Ending:

Dale, Heather, and Brent all die at the resort. Curtis and Milla survive and remain a couple.

The Review: 

Oh my God, the atmosphere in this book is incredible. It was high 50s and sunny in Vegas while I read this, but Allie Reynold’s descriptions put me right on the side of the slopes. I grew up skiing (in fact, last winter was the first winter in 20 years that I didn’t make it out at least once), and I know the smell of the lodge and the shuffle of the chairlift line all too well. I don’t know anything about snowboarding or their slang, but I was still able to perfectly picture Milla’s hours spent training.

I loved the plot of this mystery, too. At the beginning of the book, the reader knows that Milla left snowboarding and fell out of touch with her old friends after Saskia disappeared and Odette got badly injured. There are allusions to fights, pranks, and sleeping around, but it isn’t clear what exactly happened that winter.

My favorite scenes were those from Milla’s past. The tension of the snowboarding competitions combined with the need to figure out what happened to Saskia and Odette kept the pages turning quickly.

The alternating timelines complimented each other nicely, letting the reader find out more and more about the past as tensions rise in the present. I really enjoyed the endings in both timelines. This was an amazing debut novel, and I can’t wait to see what Allie Reynolds does next!

Cons: The present-day scenes in Shiver are very similar to An Unwanted Guest and One by One, and I can see it getting a little flack for that. However, I definitely enjoyed it more than One by One. I think I enjoyed it more than An Unwanted Guest as well, but I read that one a long time ago (pre-blog) and can’t remember all of the details. The scenes in the past really carried the plot along and helped set it apart from other similar snowed-in-on-a-mountain mysteries.

Many thanks to Putnam for this gifted review copy.

shiver allie reynolds

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