As a caveat, if you have not read The Girl Who Stayed, please come back and print this list of questions for your book club after you’ve read the entire book. I’ve had so many questions from readers wanting to know why I ended The Girl Who Stayed the way I did. The original working title of this book was “Closure.” The novel speaks to this concept, challenging readers to examine how they view this elusive, but crucial human experience. For your convenience, this list is now also present in the newest editions of The Girl Who Stayed. If you’ve already read the book, on to the questions!
Reading Group Questions Begin Here:
- In the end, we do not get “closure” in The Girl Who Stayed. Do you believe Zoe should have been able to have concrete answers to the mystery of her sister’s disappearance? Why?
- Do you feel Nick already has closure and why?
- For most of Zoe’s life, she has been holding on to her past, unable to move on. What, precisely, about her relationship with her sister do you believe is holding Zoe back?
- Do you believe Zoe has other ghosts in her past, and if so, what are they?
- Zoe’s feelings about her sister are complicated. Does she love her sister? What are three things in the story that make you believe Zoe loves Hannah? What are three things that make you as the reader question Zoe’s affection for her sister?
- How do you summarize Zoe’s relationship with her mother? With her father? How do you feel each of these relationships has shaped who Zoe has become?
- Do you believe Walter killed Hannah? Why, or why not? Do you think it’s important to know whether Walter was responsible for Hannah’s death in order for the story to be resolved? Why do you feel Zoe walked away from Walter’s “gift”?
- How do you feel about the fact that Zoe spent so much time worrying about Chris? Was she right to do so? Do you think doing so may have blindsided her to other dangers that lurked nearer?
- At various times, Zoe fails to listen to her intuition. Why do you think this is? At other times, she seems to see danger where there is none. Do you think this is related in some way to her gender?”
- If you could ask one question of Zoe, what would it be?
- Sullivan’s Island is as much a character in this novel as Zoe is. What is your favorite tidbit about the area? Did you expect the setting would lend itself to a much lighter story? And why?
- What does the title The Girl Who Stayed mean to you? If you were to recommend this book to someone else, how would you summarize it?
If you have lingering questions, please feel free to write Tanya at email@example.com. Tanya welcomes emails from her readers.