This is Shyness is an unusual and quirky read. But for a book to be different isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the world of young adult fiction.Usually I have a lot to say about the novels I read but this one I am struggling with what to tell you. It wasn’t at all what I expected and kind of threw me because the story world is quite hard to figure out. But the characters are interesting and relevant and the growing relationship between Wolfboy and Wildgirl was something I was interested in hearing more about!
Basically, the first thing you need to know is that ‘Shyness’ is a place. In Shyness, the sun has stopped shining and it is always night. I still haven’t figured out exactly what country or city Shyness is in and there is very little to indicate anything beyond a modern urban environment. There are all sorts of weird things that happen there, including people who are obsessed with dreaming, gangs of kids who are addicted to sugar, crazy creatures, and of course there is Wolfboy, or Jethro, who lives there. He’s…wolfy? Like, howling and hairy.
Unlike Wolfboy, Wildgirl is not an inhabitant of Shyness. She ends up there one night at the local bar ‘The Diabetic’ and there she meets our Wolfboy. She’s a cool character and very down to earth, if a little annoying. I think she’d appeal to a lot of young readers. She’s into fashion and she’s courageous and stubborn and overall pretty normal.
The story world is interesting and intriguing but there isn’t enough information given about it to make it relevant to the plot. I assume that as the series continues that the cause of the eternal darkness of Shyness will become clear – but so far it’s only purpose seems to be as a kind of urban gothic backdrop for a really long night of activities and adventure for our protagonists.
I felt that the ending was too open and didn’t give the closure I expected. It could have done it in more of a cliffhanger way to lead into the next book, but instead it just lost impact and was vague.
Overall though, I’m still willing to read the next book and see what happens next. It’s a 2/3 from me! Which is a shame because This is Shyness has won a bunch of literary awards. Still, looking at reviews on goodreads it’s clear that either people were confused by it or thought it was awesome. I think I fall closer to the confusion category! But I can still see how it would really resonate with some readers too.