She pushes it back, and decides to do a lot of research because, as Mrs Castillo says, knowledge is power, and the more you have, the less you have to be afraid. Unfortunately, someone else has already checked them out. The kitchen door is open for a moment, and a plethora of good smells come out, nearly overwhelming Val.
I love werewolf details like this. They order an extra large pizza, no anchovies, Cokes for everyone, and ice water because Val is chugging ice water. In the middle of it, Val gets another whiff of that sweet scent, and has to go to the bathroom to vomit. Garlic makes werewolves sick, and sure enough, she is definitely turned into a werewolf.
Ah, PH writers this is show, not tell, and we love it. She keeps thinking about Jay, and how he looked, and how it will feel to change like that. And, more practically, realises that she will need to leave the window open and the screen loose for her to get out of the house on that night.
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She has about a 20 minute bus ride to school, and it is chaos when she arrives; all three junior highs send their students to the same high school, so a huge number of strangers to her just in her own grade, much less the others. She makes it to homeroom with Ms Phelps , who has a sour expression and gives out their locker assignments and locks.
This seems like a pretty impractical way to manage things, but okay. When she finally gets her locker, she learns she is next to a water fountain, which gives her the chance to sate her thirst a little, if not her hunger. Their principal, Mr Reynolds , welcomes them to the high school, and Val tunes out most of his speech. She spends the rest of the morning collecting her textbooks, and then at lunch, she has to keep asking for more food, because the workers keep giving her small portions because she looks like such a short, tiny girl.
She finds a seat on her own, and then Jay sits down with her, because of course he does. Nice and creepy, that boy. She tells him to leave her alone and walks off, leaving him sitting at the table, laughing. Jay shows up in homeroom every morning, and sits by her at lunch. They both have giant trays of food, and she expects watching him will kill her appetite, but it never does, and that actually scares her.
He knows what she means, but he refuses to spend the rest of his life hiding because Jay is there. Diana calls next, and says they have to talk; she asks if Val knows what day it is, and Val blows it off as Thursday.
They dance around the full moon for a minute, and then Diana actually calls Val out that they have to do something about Jay. She hangs up on Diana, and tries to focus on her homework, but eventually gives up and makes a meatloaf for dinner. Have I mentioned lately how much I love this story, and Val as the narrator, and Val the werewolf?
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Because I do. A lot. After dinner, Val sets up the window so she can get out, and then dozes off for a nap. When I opened my eyes, the whole room seemed to be glowing, and the night air was filled with smells. One scent — a familiar one — came in through the cracks around the door. Father, I named it, without hesitation.
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But there was something else about the smell — I wrinkled my brow, frowning. No, I thought.
Not afraid. About me? I felt like laughing. Silly him. The curtains at my window stirred in the night wind, and more smells came in over the windowsill — fascinating smells that pulled at me like hands, urging me over to the window. I tried to stand up, but my pajamas had wrapped themselves around me while I slept, trapping me and holding me down. Finally I curled myself around until I could tear at the elastic waistband with my teeth.
I jerked my head, and the pajama trousers tore loose with a noise of ripping cloth. I thought, and tore at the pajama top until it, too, hung in shreds around me. I shook myself, and the scraps flew away in all directions. I rolled off the bed and hit the floor on four feet, not two. The smells of the night were all around me now, blotting out the worry smell of my father moving about somewhere inside the house.
I looked again at the open window, and this time my muscles knew what to do. I went out the window in a long flat leap, knocking the screen away into the bushes below. Their Irish setter, Fleabrain, howled as I went past, and then started barking. I heard the banging and crashing as Fleabrain tried to break down the door of the sun porch where he slept. He smelled like he wanted to come out and fight.roperleidril.gq
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Val runs and hunts and eats field mice, and it is wonderful, just absolutely wonderful. She enjoys being a wolf under the moon, and I am utterly charmed. Eventually, she comes across a new smell, one that is familiar but leaves her feeling uneasy. She does tell that it is hunting, and of course we, the readers, know it is wolf!
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The moon starts to set, she returns to her room, and falls asleep curled belly-down on the rug. Her alarm clock wakes her the next morning, She realises she shredded her pajamas the night before, and left the window open for the rain to come in. There are muddy paw prints on the carpet and mud under her fingernails. While showering, she takes stock of how she feels now, and admits it feels good to be a lycanthrope.
I love that the authors let her enjoy this, the power and the adventure of it. Too often werewolves are written as pathetic beasts or, female werewolves in particular, sexually aggressive villains. Also, she now thinks in werewolf metaphors, like all her good thoughts tucking their tails between their legs and whimpering as they run off, which is cheesy as hell and utterly delightful.
Her dad has terrible news to ruin her good mood, though; Bill was killed the night before, attacked by some sort of animal, per the police, wild dogs or maybe a pit bull trained for illegal fights.
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This hits Val hard, and of course she knows it was Jay. Then Jay shows up, and there is a delightful, gross, creepy bit:. Then, so help me, he bit into a heaping forkload of spaghetti, so that the thick red sauce stained his teeth and mouth and ran in bright scarlet streaks down his jaws and over his chin — and all the time it ran he kept on grinning. She then decides that books on real wolves might help more. That worries her, but I say embrace the rage, Val. It will be great. Diana catches up with Val after school, and convinces her to come talk to her about the situation with Jay.
Diana then flat tells her that she knows Val is a werewolf, and that wolf!
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