SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater
On a hot summer day, Sam is working in a book store when Grace walks in with a group of friends. He desperately wants to get closer to her, to talk to her, to tell her who he is, but she never even looks up from the books on the shelves. Graces walks out of the book store without even glancing at Sam.
A local, high school boy is killed, presumably by wolves. The town is on alert and Grace’s mom seems to reconsider what she’s always said about wolves being peaceful. Her mom is convinced the wolves attacked. Grace keeps picturing the wolves in her mind. The black, heavy-set pack leader, the white she-wolf, and, of course, her yellow-eyed wolf. Grace goes into the backyard to sit. Her wolf approaches the edge of the woods and Grace asks, “Did you kill him?” Graces continues to talk to him and she is as close as she has ever been to him before. She tentatively reaches out to touch him and is surprised he doesn’t retreat. Grace plunges her hands deep into his fur and holds him like she has wanted to for years. The white she-wolf comes out of the trees and looks directly at Grace and growls. The wolf turns and defends Grace by gently pushing her back to the house. He didn’t leave until Grace was safely locked inside the house.
The reader finds out more about Grace’s home life as we see her interact with her mother and father. When Grace goes to bed, she can’t help but think about her encounter with her wolf. A tapping outside her window gets her out of bed. The white she-wolf is staring at her through the window, growling a challenge. Grace bares her teeth and growls back. She goes back to bed using the sweater she was wearing when she held her wolf as a pillow and falls asleep with his scent all around her.
Grace’s scent lingers on his fur and he thinks about how close he was her. He knows he shouldn’t be so close to her, afraid his instincts will kick in and harm will come to her. He knows he shouldn’t – but he can’t stay away.
“Her gaze headed in my direction, and I looked away hurriedly, down at my book. She wouldn’t recognize my face but she would recognize my eyes. I had to believe she would recognize my eyes.” (9)
“I crunched out across the brittle, colorless grass into the middle of the yard and stopped, momentarily dazzled by the violent pink of the sunset through the fluttering black leaves of the tress.” (19)
“Then I did what I had always wanted to – I put a hand to his dense ruff, and when he didn’t flinch, I buried both my hands in his fur. His outer coat was not soft as it looked, but beneath the course hairs was a layer of downy fluff. With a low groan, he pressed his head against me, eyes still closed. I held him as if he were no more than a family dog, though his wild, sharp scent wouldn’t let me forget what he really was.” (20)
“I was drunk with it, with the scent of her.” (25)
Questions to consideration:
What do you think would have happened if Sam had introduced himself to Grace while she was in the bookstore?
From what you’ve read about Grace’s parents, how would describe their family dynamics?
What changed for the wolf for him to all of a sudden allow Grace to approach and touch him?
How is the white she-wolf connected to Grace’s wolf? Why does she have an intense disliking of Grace?