Review Blog

Nov 24 2014

Shiver the Whole Night Through by Darragh McManus

cover image

Hot Key Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471404092
(Age: Senior secondary). McManus sets his narrative in a small town in Ireland where we are introduced to our hero, 17 year old Aidan, whose world is far from perfect. He has become a victim of the schoolyard jungle, subject to physical, verbal and cyber abuse that is a part of the bully's toolkit. Apart from his best friend, Podsy, he has become ostracized by the student community and the reader cannot help but sympathise with his hideous situation and hope that things change. And they do! The body of Slaine, a local girl, is found in Shook Woods. She appears to have 'frozen to death' but after Aidan receives a mysterious message he is determined to investigate further. Ironically it is this death that gives Aidan a purpose which his life had hitherto been lacking. As the story, and Aidan's investigation continue the reader is taken into the world of the supernatural with all its inherent characteristics: demons, zombies, strange physical phenomena and of course the inevitable clash of good and evil. That an uncharacteristic cold freeze descends on the town and more and more people die mysteriously adds to the sinister atmosphere.
Shiver the whole night through also explores the notion of revenge and, given the reader's sympathy for Aidan, invites us to consider the morality of such actions.
The story is not without its light hearted moments and Aidan's sometimes black sense of humour provides relief from the intensity of the plot. His friend, Podsy is a delight. It would be interesting to meet these two at a less dramatic time.
This is Darragh's first Young Adult book and while almost formulaic in its structure Shiver the whole night through would have appeal for disciples of this genre.
Barb Rye

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