Book Group Discussion Questions
- Whitney’s family is not available to her for a variety of reasons. Can your family be present but still unavailable? Is it a survival skill that she has found other sources of support? In this way, does Whitney accept she is responsible for creating the best situations she can for herself?
- Whitney does not wear a watch but believes life is all about timing. Is this a contradiction? How does this relate to her personality?
- Whitney has a lot of survival skills before she meets Reid (target shooting, kung fu, etc.) but what more does she need to learn?
- Whitney sometimes has to follow her gut instinct, even when there is evidence to the contrary. What does that say about her? Is it easy or hard for her to do?
- Do you know Whitney has leadership skills before she is chosen to lead Sunrise? If yes, what do you think they are and why?
- How does Blair help Whitney? What is the most important thing she does for her? Is Whitney a good friend in return?
- How important is it for Whitney to have good friends who accept and help her? Does this increase once she learns she has a macadamia nut allergy? Can friends be important for survival?
- Ruth and Shannon dress differently than everyone else in high school. What does this say about them?
- Ruth is always direct with Whitney. Is that a sign of a real friendship?
- When Reid tells Whitney he loves her, does she believe him? Why doesn’t she consider him as part of her future?
- Reid has to “find” Whitney’s empathy since she has buried it deep in her mind. Why would she have done that? Why is empathy so important for the survival of the human race?
- Does Whitney know she can trust Reid? Why do you think so? Has Reid shown her she can trust him?
- Why doesn’t Reid tell Whitney he has a peanut allergy? IS wearing a medic alert bracelet like wearing a target in high school? Do you think the feeling of social isolation is valid?
- High school students with food allergies have unique hurdles. How does a food fight in the cafeteria impact a student with a food allergy? A kiss? Should Reid have told Whitney he had a peanut allergy before he kissed her? Why or why not?
- What does Whitney’s reaction say about how she feels about Reid when she does find out he has a food allergy? Does keeping it from her do more harm than good?
- Reid has EpiPens in his car, his backpack and all over his house. Does having a food allergy help you to anticipate potential problems and be prepared? After Reid saves Whitney’s life, what does it teach Whitney?
- In a world running out of resources, how critical is it to find a renewable fuel? Do you agree with Carson that the country that controls the fuel has the ultimate power?
- Genocide is the intent to destroy a group and requires a particular mindset. Dehumanization of a group and those individuals who comprise the group is necessary. The state or the government often plays a fundamental role as they define “enemies” and find ways to marginalize them. If that is true, how powerful is Carson Noir? How does fostering hatred and fear play into the strength of her plan?
- Do you think there could there be genocide in America? Would the discovery of a powerful renewable energy source within a specific human group be enough of a catalyst for this kind of extreme violence against fellow humans? If Carson Noir said that group planned to annihilate the rest of the human race–does that make it more acceptable?
GENERAL BOOK QUESTIONS
- Dr. West is an intellectual while Mr. Parks is a realist. How well do these two characters bridge theory with reality? Do you agree with Mr. Parks that everything is a lesson?
- Why does Vlad Dune turn away when he sees a glimpse of himself in Whitney’s sunglasses? Why does Whitney see them as more alike than different?
- What roles do Kevin and Karen play? Should Whitney be upset about the way Karen acts around Reid? Does Reid owe Whitney more of an explanation than he has provided? What reason does Whitney have for questioning Reid’s ability to be forthcoming? If you could change one event in the plot of the book what would it be?
- If you could change one event in the plot of the book what would it be?
- What is a more challenging setting for Whitney and Reid–high school or Chernobyl?