SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater
Grace can’t help looking at Sam as he lays, heavily sedated, in the hospital bed. Her eyes drink him in and even though it is hard for her to imagine it, she knows he is her wolf. Grace has a conversation with the nurse about Sam’s condition and it is clear the hospital thinks he tried to kill himself. As soon as the nurse steps out of the room, Sam’s eyes open. Grace is shocked he is awake, since the sedatives should have knocked him out all night. She is a little hurt when he doesn’t recognize her, but then he closes his eyes, pulls her hand to his nose, and smells her. He apologizes and explains how it takes a while for his mind to become clear after he changes. Sam tells her they need to get out of the hospital because they will soon find out he isn’t normal – his bullet would has already healed. Grace manages to get some scrubs for him to wear and they start to leave the hospital. Sam explains he needs to stay warm in order to remain in human form. Grace tells him he’ll stay at her house as she goes to pull the car up to the doors. She feels more alive and happy than ever before.
Grace and Sam are in Grace’s bedroom. They hear the low, keening howls of the wolves outside and Grace asks him if he misses them. Sam can’t decide – he just knows he is his true self when he is human. Sam asks Grace about when she was attacked as a child. Since she was bitten, she should have changed too. Neither know why she never did.
Sam wakes up disoriented the next morning, but soon remembers everything that happened the night before. He relishes the feel of Grace’s hands on his skin and turns to watch her sleep. Grace’s parents wake up and follow their morning routine and leave without even checking on Grace. Sam can’t believe they wouldn’t even look in on her. Sam slips out of bed and borrows a pair of her father’s boots and a coat in order to walk through the woods to one of his clothes stashes. On his way, he runs into Shelby, the white she-wolf, and realizes how vulnerable he is out in the woods in his human form. He hurriedly changes into several layers of clothes and leaves the storage shed. He sees Paul, their pack leader, slipping away. He considers the number of shifts Paul has left, he might not even come back to his human form this year, which makes Sam remember that his own shifts are numbered too. Eventually, he won’t be able to return to human form. Sam jogs back to Grace’s house, not wanting to think about losing himself forever. Grace is awake when he gets back to the house. She realizes she is late for school and decides to stay home.
“Sam reached his hand toward mine, and I automatically put my fingers in his. With a guilty little smile, he pulled my hand toward his nose and took a sniff, and then another one. His smile widened, though it was still shy. It was absolutely adorable, and my breath caught somewhere in my throat.” (67)
“‘They bit you. You should’ve changed, too, you know.’
…’Sometimes I wish I had,’ I told him.
He closed his eyes, miles away on the other side of the bed. ‘Sometimes I do, too.'” (77)
Questions for consideration:
Why didn’t Grace turn after she was attacked six year ago?
What do you think was going to Shelby’s mind when she came across Sam in the woods when he was going for his clothes?
Why do you think the wolves lose their ability to return to human form after a while?
Why do you think Grace’s parents are the way they are?