The search for love, loss, and humanity isn’t what it seems in this heartbreakingly beautiful trilogy. When Grace falls in love with Sam, a boy who becomes a wolf every winter, both must decide how much they’re willing to risk in order to be together.
Sam’s not just a normal boy — he has a secret. During the summer he walks and talks as a human, but when the cold comes, he runs with his pack as a wolf. Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house — but never dreamed that she would fall in love with one of them. Now that they’ve found each other, the clock ticks down on what could be Grace and Sam’s only summer together.
- Grace grew up with a “pack of girlfriends.” Each of them had very different personalities. Compare and contrast Rachel, Olivia, and Grace.
- What was it about Sam’s eyes that made him stand out as a human? Do you think that his eyes were the reason he was bitten as a child?
- If Sam knew the circumstances surrounding his adoption by Beck, why was he so upset with the acquisition of the new wolves?
- Why did Sam’s parents cut his wrists? What happened to his parents? Were they monsters or did they think they were killing a monster?
- Shelby was happier as a wolf because her human life was awful. Can you imagine a circumstance where a teenager would be happier just living in the woods?
- Why is Grace the only human to be bitten by the wolves and not change? Is this something that gives her comfort or concern?
- Sam, as a wolf, was Grace’s protector the day she was bitten. When they connect as humans, he continues to protect her. List examples where he “saves” her.
- Both Sam and Grace looked to others besides their parents to give them a sense of family; Sam turned to the wolves and Grace her books. Is that a reason that they clung to each other?
- Beck talked to Grace about the pros and cons of being a wolf. What did he confess was going to be his greatest regret when he was no longer able to be a human?
- There are times in the story when Grace yearns to live with the wolves, yet she desperately wants Sam to remain human. Does she truly love Sam or is it only because he is part wolf?
Can Grace and Sam last? Each will have to fight to stay together — whether it means a reckoning with his werewolf past for Sam, or for Grace, facing a future that is less and less certain. Enter Cole, a new wolf who is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human. For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is harrowing and euphoric, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But can it be enough?
- Isabel and Grace seem like an unlikely duo. Isabel’s attitudes toward school, Mercy Falls, and fashion are opposite to Grace’s. What does each gain from the friendship?
- Why do all of the parents in Mercy Falls seem so out of touch with their children’s lives?
- Fate was not kind to either Cole or Victor after they were bitten. Cole could not stay a wolf and Victor could not stay human. Explain what you think the fates had planned for the two of them.
- The longer Sam stayed human, the more the memories of his childhood came to the surface. He began to miss his mother as he came to grips with the fact that Beck would never come back. Would you want Sam to reconnect with his mother?
- Sam was perplexed by the fact that Beck chose Cole to replace him. Sam felt they were nothing alike. Can you find any similarities between Sam and Cole?
- There is a journal in the shed where the wolves shift. It is a record of who is still changing to a human in the pack. Sam adds Victor’s name and then his own. Do you think Sam regrets not changing anymore?
- A theme of “family” runs throughout the book. Explain how each of the following fit into the characters’ lives: the wolf pack, Beck, Mr. and Mrs. Roth, Mr. and Mrs. Culpeper, NARKOTIKA, Mr. and Mrs. Brisbane, Sam and Grace, Grace and Isabel.
- What do Sam’s songs about Grace reveal about him? Why does Grace risk her health and break her parents’ trust to take Sam to the recording studio?
- While describing the teens’ actions throughout the story, the author uses the following descriptive words: ferocity, leaped, hovering, snorted. Why do you think she chose these particular words?
- When Sam put his faith in Cole and watched Grace shift without him, how do you think he felt? Was it foolish of him to let Grace go through the exact thing that he wanted to escape?
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, the story continues — only now, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. It’s becoming harder and harder to hold on to one another. In the conclusion to Maggie Stiefvater’s bestselling, breathtaking trilogy, love is the question — and the answer.
- When Grace shifted back to a human for the first time, what did she feel? How were her emotions different from Sam’s when he shifted to a human?
- Why did Shelby kill Olivia? When Grace found out Olivia had been killed, why did it take her so long to get upset?
- Both Grace and Sam have a hard time calling the place that they were raised “home.” Why? Where do Sam and Grace consider home? Is it possible to have more than one home?
- Sam surrounded himself with literature and poetry and often quoted Roethke. Do you think Sam liked Roethke’s writings because he saw himself in the words or did he see what he wanted his life to be like? How did Roethke’s words help Sam cope with the following aspects of his life: his childhood, being a wolf, his feelings for Grace, and his growing anger with Beck?
- How do you think Sam felt when almost all of Mercy Falls accused him of hurting Grace? What was it about his run-in with Olivia’s older brother, John, that made Sam the most upset? In what ways are John and Sam alike?
- When Grace goes back to face her parents, they seem to have replaced her with a cat. How does this make her feel? What does it reveal about her parents? What does it confirm or not confirm about her choices?
- After Cole forced Beck to shift back into a human, Sam had a very hard time seeing Beck again and asking about his past. Since Sam knew Beck attacked him when he was young, why didn’t Sam confront Beck sooner? Why hadn’t Beck apologized before he stopped shifting?
- Cole risked his life to save Sam from Shelby. What does this say about how much he has grown as a person?
- Who do you think played the biggest role in saving the wolves from Tom Culpeper? Why? Do you think anyone could have done more?
Opposing forces such as life and death, truth and lies, winter and summer, love and hate, acceptance and rejection, and selflessness and selfishness can be found throughout the book. Tell how each ofthe following characters had to choose between two of these forces: Sam, Grace, Beck, Cole, and Isabel.
Discussing the Series
- The teens that were turned into wolves all faced difficult personal and home situations. Why would becoming a wolf be a temporary fix for these teens? Do you think any of them had better options?
- Learning coping skills is an essential part of emotional growth. Throughout the series there was a lack of good parental role models. Do you think the characters could have benefited from strong adult figures, and if so, how?
- What are some other books that feature werewolves? How are the wolves of Mercy Falls different from other portrayals of werewolves?
- Love and wanting to be loved is a prevalent theme throughout the series. Children wanted to be loved by parents. Teens wanted to be loved by siblings and peers. Adults wanted the love of their children. Give an example of each from the series.
- Only being human for part of the year would have its advantages and disadvantages. Discuss three pros and three cons of living as both a wolf and a human. If you could become a wolf every winter, would you?
- Sam feels that shifting is horrible. He is terrified to lose his humanity, whereas other wolves like Beck, Ulrick, Shelby, Cole, and even Grace and Olivia seem much more comfortable when they become wolves. Why do you think this is?
- Each chapter in Shiver begins with the current temperature. How does knowing the temperature add to the story? Why do you think that there aren’t any temperatures at the beginning of each chapter in Linger and Forever?
- Officer Koenig had heard tales about humans turning into wolves from his father. How would things have been different for the pack if Tom Culpeper had known of these stories? Would it have made life easier or harder for the wolves?
- Change is a theme that runs through the books. How did the following characters’ views change: Sam, Grace, Beck, Cole, Olivia, Isabelle, and Rachel? Do you think change is good or bad? Why?
You can have interesting discussions comparing the themes in the following books to those in the Shiver trilogy.
- Meg Cabot. Airhead. Scholastic, 2009. Being Nikki. Scholastic, 2010. Runaway. Scholastic, 2010. A normal teen gets trapped in the body of a supermodel.
- Andrea Cremer. Nightshade. Philomel, 2010. Wolfsbane. Philomel, 2011. Werewolf Calla falls for a human.
- Alex Finn. Beastly. HarperCollins, 2007. A modern re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.
Lauren Kate. Fallen. Delacorte, 2010. Torment. Delacorte, 2010. Passion. Delacorte, 2011. Fallen angels walk the earth and can’t escape fate.
- Melissa Marr. Wicked Lovely. HarperCollins, 2008. Fragile Eternity. HarperCollins, 2009. Radiant Shadows. HarperCollins, 2010. Darkest Mercy. HarperCollins, 2011. Aislinn’s world suddenly turns upside down when faeries realize she can see them.
- Stephenie Meyer. Twilight. 2005. New Moon. 2006. Eclipse. 2007. Breaking Dawn. 2008. Little, Brown. Bella Swan is drawn to Edward Cullen, a mysterious boy who turns out to be a vampire, but also befriends Jacob Black, a werewolf.
- Lauren Oliver. Delirium. HarperCollins, 2010. People are taught to fear and are cured of love in future America.
- Aprilynne Pike. Wings. HarperCollins, 2010. Spells. HarperCollins, 2010. A teen sprouts wings and finds out her true identity.
- Maggie Stiefvater. Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception. Flux, 2008. Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie. Flux, 2009. A teen finds out that she can see faeries, and her
seemingly normal life rapidly changes.
- Laini Taylor. Lips Touch Three Times. Scholastic, 2009. Three tales of supernatural love show how kisses can have grave consequences.
About the Author
Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Shiver, Linger, and Forever. Since publication, rights to thirty-five foreign editions of Shiver have been licensed. Maggie is also the author of Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception and Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie. Her latest novel is The Scorpio Races. An avid reader, award-winning artist, and accomplished musician, Maggie lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children. You can visit her online at www.maggiestiefvater.com.