About the book
Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed, and darkly observant. A college student and aspiring writer, she devotes herself to a life of the mind--and to the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi, her best friend and comrade-in-arms. Lovers at school, the two young women now perform spoken-word poetry together in Dublin, where a journalist named Melissa spots their potential. Drawn into Melissa's orbit, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman's sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband. Private property, Frances believes, is a cultural evil--and Nick, a bored actor who never quite lived up to his potential, looks like patriarchy made flesh. But however amusing their flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy neither of them expect. As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally even with Bobbi. Desperate to reconcile herself to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances's intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new: a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment.
What did you think of Conversations with Friends? Would you recommend it? To whom? Why?
What did you think of the book’s epistolary form (its use of emails and text messages as part of the narrative)? Did it lend the story authenticity or did it seem contrived to you?
What was Francis and Bobbi's relationship early on and how has it evolved? Who has the power in the relationship and in what way? Does the power equation change?
How is the friendship between Frances and Bobbi affected by the affair between Frances and Nick?
Frances struggles with endometriosis and self-harm throughout the novel. How would you characterize her relationship with her body? In what ways does this affect her relationships with those around her?
Social class–both in terms of material wealth and cultural capital–is a key thread running throughout the book. How do you think class influences the characters in the book and how they relate to one another?
The novel ends on an ambiguous note. Were you surprised by the last lines? What do you think will happen with Frances and Nick’s relationship?
About the book
With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.
This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.
When reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.
What did you think of the book? What was your favorite part of the book? What was your least favorite part?
Friendship and found family play a big role in this book (maybe even more than the romance?) Did you like Grace's and Yuki's friend groups? Any favorite side characters or anyone you strongly resonated with?
Honey Girl is part rom-com, part coming-of-age story. Did you feel like the book fit more firmly in one genre over the other? How did Grace’s marriage to Yuki influence her coming-of-age journey?
Grace and Yuki get married knowing hardly anything about one another other. Grace doesn’t even know Yuki’s name! Would you consider their marriage a mistake? Or something else?
Grace’s failure to meet her own high expectations and those of the Colonel play a major role in the story. What do you think about these high standards? Why do you think they’re so important to Grace and the Colonel?
There is a theme of mental health issues running through the book, and many characters have their own personal struggles. Going to therapy is a big part of Grace's journey, but not a magic fix. She still has to confront her problems and make amends to people she has hurt. Do you think that was realistically written?
How would you describe the book to a friend who hadn’t read it? Would you recommend it?
About the book
Sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus is trying his best. He tries to be the best employee he can be at the local ice cream shop; the best boyfriend he can be to his amazing girlfriend, Talia; the best protector he can be over his little brother, Isaiah. But as much as Alex tries, he often comes up short.
It’s hard to for him to be present when every time he touches an object or person, Alex sees into its future. When he touches a scoop, he has a vision of him using it to scoop ice cream. When he touches his car, he sees it years from now, totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the precipice of breaking up, and that terrifies him. Alex feels these visions are a curse, distracting him, making him anxious and unable to live an ordinary life.
And when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s imminent death, everything changes.
With Alex now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present.
Every morning, seventeen-year-old Maria Anís Rosario takes the subway an hour from her boisterous and close-knit family in Queens to her private high school on the Upper East Side, where she struggles to fit in as one of the only Latina students—until Rocky welcomes her into this new life. White, rebellious, and ignored by her wealthy parents, Rocky uses her money toward one goal: to get away with anything. To Maria, it’s a dazzling privilege.
As a bond develops between these unlikely friends, neither can see what they share most—jealousy and the desire for each other’s lives. But crackling under the surface of their seemingly supportive alliance, the girls begin to commit little betrayals as they strive to get closer to their ideals regardless of the consequences.
Told from the perspectives of Maria, Rocky, and their fathers, They Could Have Named Her Anything explores the heartfelt expectation of what it means to live up to the name you’ve been given and the more rewarding discovery of what really matters.
What did you think of the book?
What did you think of the main characters, especially Maria and Rocky? Did they seem realistic? Were they likable?
What role does identity play in the book? How is Maria’s experience shaped by the intersections of her gender, class, and racial identity? Are there ways in which she is privileged?
The title of the book is They Could Have Named Her Anything and the books pays a lot of attention to the names that characters are given and choose for themselves. What is the significance of names in the book?
About the book [CW: sexual assault]
When Mara’s twin brother Owen is accused of rape by her friend Hannah, it turns Mara’s life upside down. She is forced to confront her own trauma while navigating the tension between her commitment to believing survivors and her bond with her brother. School Library Journal calls Girl Made of Stars "a compassionate and engaging novel about what it means to tell your truth, no matter how painful it might be.”
March 11, 2021, 7-8:30 PM
We Were Liars Discussion Questions
October 1, 2020, 7-8 PM via Zoom.
Adapted from https://www.readinggroupguides.com/reviews/the-hate-u-give/guide