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Welcome to the Between the Lines Book Club, a book club especially for mothers and teen daughters! If this is your first time using Between the Lines, you might want to click here for an explanation and FAQs.

As a side note, these discussions will be most effective if you both read the book (Mom — no fair just using the questions to “check up” on your daughter). 🙂 Another suggestion would be for you moms and daughters to each select three to five questions before the book club so the discussion is guided by both of you.

Please let me know in the comments section what works/doesn’t work for you, and leave suggestions for future books you’d like to see here. Happy Reading! 🙂

– THE DASH-BOARD

– If I Stay by Gayle Forman
– From amazon.com:

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia’s story will stay with you for a long, long time.

! PROCEED WITH CAUTION

! There is some occasional crass language, including many uses of the f-word.
! There is a sexual encounter between two unmarried teens. The scene is described using a metaphor of a cello and a bow that is moderately graphic. The characters don’t even speak of love until after they have sex.
! Christianity is viewed as being a negative/unintelligent thing.
! The main character is in a tragic car accident and hovers between life and death. Her view of death is very out-of-line with Scripture, though fortunately it is not a very compelling view.

“ SARA SAYS

(This section contains spoilers. I’m assuming you have read the book at this point, so I won’t attempt to summarize or re-cap the whole book.)

 It is interesting to me that another bestseller for teens right now involves death. I think this generation of teens is longing for meaning and purpose in their lives and they seem to be willing to face their mortality head-on, which is an interesting shift.

 I didn’t love this book. I didn’t enjoy the writing style, and I found the characters and their lives to be obviously contrived. If I were choosing a book about death to read with my teen, I would opt for The Fault in Our Stars.

” “First Times” in these books are always wonderful, always with the right person. Never with regrets or consequences. This is misleading and dangerous and oddly idealistic in the middle of books that make a point to deal with “real life.”

? DISCUSSION STARTERS

(Since a wide range of girls will be participating, questions are written at differing levels of analysis. Feel free to highlight the questions that would be most appropriate for you and your daughter and best guide the discussion. Also, I try to match the questions with the level and depth of the book.)

General Questions

The title “If I Stay” refers to Mia’s big life/death decision, but also to her decision to go to Juilliard or stay with Adam. Do you think the decisions are related? If so, how?

Do you think Mia should go to Juilliard or stay with Adam? Why?

The author states in the afterward that “Love can make you immortal.” What do you think she means by this? Do you agree or disagree?

Faith Questions

? How are Christians portrayed in this book? Kerry’s funeral (p. 168-170) involves several Christian characters.

? Mia’s mom is pro-choice, and even has a bumper sticker that says “If you can’t trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?” Do you agree or disagree with the sentiment? If you disagree, how would you respond to it?

? Adam’s band has a code: “loyalty to feelings is important” (p. 104) What do you think this means, and do you agree? Is there anything higher than feelings that should garner our loyalty?

? Kim says there are two types of people in the world: those who imagine their own funerals and those who don’t. Which one are you? Does/Would thinking about your death make you uncomfortable? Why or why not?

Family Questions

? Do you think Mia’s parents are true-to-life? What did you like/dislike about them?

? Mia’s dad goes through a pretty drastic personality shift — from a late-night, rockstar hippie to a button-down teacher. Do you think he changed for the better or for the worse?

? Toward the end of the book, Kim tells Mia that she still has family, meaning all the friends that have rallied around her. Do you have friends that you consider to be family? What makes the difference between considering someone a friend and considering them part of the family?

Life and Death Questions

? Mia says that she gets to decide whether to live or die (p. 88). Do you think people have a choice? Why or why not?

? What is Mia’s view of the afterlife (p. 179, 216)? Do you think she’s right?

? How does a person’s view of the afterlife affect how they live now? If Mia had your view of the afterlife, do you think she would’ve chosen differently?

? Mia decides to live after Adam reminds her of the cello and of the possibilities still ahead of her. Are the possibilities ahead of us what give life meaning? If there’s meaning beyond this, what is it?

Relationship Questions

? What criteria do you think Mia used for deciding whether or not to have sex with Adam (they had sex before they even said “I love you”)? What criteria do you think should be used? Do you think she will regret her decision if they break up? Why or why not?

? Mia’s mom says that “seventeen is an inconvenient time to be in love” (p.209). Do you agree? What age is a good age to start dating/open yourself up to falling in love? Is it possible to date and protect yourself from falling in love?

? Mia’s mom also says that “Love’s a bitch” because Mia has to lose Adam or Juilliard. Have you ever felt that that statement is true? Is there a type of love that doesn’t behave this way?

Relationships are compared to music: “All relationships are tough. Just like with music, sometimes you have harmony and other times you have cacophony” (210). How is this true in the mother/daughter relationship?

Questions, Comments, Suggestions? I would love to know how I can make Between the Lines more helpful for you. I would also love your suggestions for our next book! Please leave a comment below. Thanks! ~Sara

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