SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater
Chapters 33-36: Sam and Grace
Sam has a dream about Mr. Dario’s (a neighbor of Beck’s) dogs. When Sam was thirteen a new neighbor moved in who had vicious guard dogs. He showed them to everyone living in Beck’s house; he explained that they had electric shock collars so they wouldn’t be able to get off the property. The power box for the shock collars was near the house, covered in black powder. Sam was worried about the dogs, he continually asked Beck to show him how to kill the dogs so he would know how if he had to. Beck started with raw chicken, then videos of dog fights. All of this made Sam sick, but he needed to know how to kill them so he fought through it.
One day towards the beginning of fall, he heard a dog fight break out nearby. Two of Mr. Dario’s dogs were fighting with a black wolf, Paul, and were viciously tearing him apart. Sam started yelling at the dogs and one turned toward him and rushed at him. Sam called for Beck. Sam grabbed the dog attacking Paul, while the other had a death grip on Sam’s shoulder. Sam didn’t let go of the dog attacking Paul, choking him, and the dog attacking him was causing him to lose feeling in his other arm. He threw up that hand to cover the dog’s nose, trying to suffocate it. Ulrik (as a wolf) and Beck showed up; Ulrick jumped into the fight as Beck shot the dogs. Shelby stood in the background, her hands smeared with black powder.
Sam woke up to the sound of toenails on the deck.Over the weekend the two of them watched TV, and Sam asks Grace about her parents. She tries to avoid the subject, but she blurts out how she really feels: neglected and unloved. Later her parents get home and she introduces them to Sam. Even later while grace was doing homework, Sam wanders into Grace’s mother’s studio and she shows him around. Sam plays her a song he wrote for Grace. They sit in silence for a moment after he finishes. Downstairs there is a sudden scream, followed by a snarl.
‘Is that you, Grace?’ Mom’s voice called lightly from the hallway. ‘Or are you a burglar?’ ‘Burglar,’ I called back. ‘I’m going to wet myself,’ Sam whispered in my ear.” (223)
It’s the summer of our lives; we’ll contain it for awhile/She holds the heat, the breeze of summer in the circle of her hand/I’d be happy with this summer if it’s all we ever had (232)
“Shelby put her shirt back down. ‘It must be hell when we kill something. We must be the worst way to die’ (233).
Questions for consideration:Why do you think Shelby released the dogs?
Grace is clear about how her parents make her feel, but how do you think her parents feel about Grace?