I’ve been looking forward to reading Shifting by Bethany Wiggins ever since first hearing of it. I love Native American folklore! Also, the synopsis mentions skinwalkers, which of course makes me think of the awesome Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series. So basically, I knew this was definitely the book for me. Turns out I was right! I absolutely loved almost everything about it.
In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes a paranormal/fantasy author can make is sacrificing characterization for the sake of developing the supernatural plotline. Oftentimes, authors make the characters the second priority and the book suffers for it. Bethany Wiggins definitely knew better – I established an emotional connection with Maggie Mae almost from the get-go. She is finally about to graduate high school and grow out of the foster system she has been a part of almost her whole life. When the book starts, she is being shuttled to yet another new place, in order to finish her education.
Almost nothing gets to me as fast as seeing a kid get treated badly when they don’t deserve it. Misunderstandings have plagued Maggie her whole life and she has definitely not had an easy life. Things don’t get a lot better for her in Silver City, New Mexico (at least not at first). There is a scene where she is surrounded by other kids getting bullied that literally had me crying before I even realized – I was so deep into the story that it took me a few minutes to realize how much it was affecting me! It was a truly horrific scene, freakin’ bullies.
The love interest, Bridger, is also one heck of a complex dude. For the majority of Shifting, I couldn’t figure out how I felt about him! His involvement in the climax of the plot also gave me pause – things got a little weird, y’all. I’m actually a teeny bit disappointed in the end, things worked out a little bit too easily considering all the suspense and build-up. Still – it was engaging to the last, so I’m being pretty forgiving.
Overall, I loved Maggie and Bridger’s story and I highly recommend it to everyone. I loved seeing the characters be the top priority while still balancing an extremely interesting shifter/skinwalker plotline. Shifting is definitely a book worth reading!