Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. How would you describe the relationship between Oliver and Cameron? Is it purely a familial one, or are there romantic undertones? What creates such a tight bond between them?
2. What do you think made Sonia write to Cameron? Can you imagine writing such a letter? What does Sonia mean when she says, “Sometimes without you to confirm these memories I feel like I’ve invented them”?
3. Oliver believes that “all times exist simultaneously,” a concept Cameron returns to several times over the course of the novel. What does Oliver mean by this? How is this notion at odds with Cameron’s statement, on page 215, that “once you know the end of the story, every part of the story contains that end, and is only a way of reaching it”? Which of these ideas strikes you as most true?
4. Why does Oliver force Cameron to seek out Sonia? What does he want for Cameron’s life?
5. On page 51, Cameron says, “To belong nowhere is a blessing and a curse, like any kind of freedom.” What do you make of this? How have her frequent moves shaped her? How have they affected her worldview? How might she be different if she’d lived her entire life in one place?
6. What connection does Cameron make between her personality and her height? How does she imagine her height causes others to see her?
7. What role does Sonia’s dyscalculia play in her life? How has it affected her idea of her herself? Her approach to the world? Why do you think she chooses to let Cameron in on this secret, and what’s the effect on Cameron when she tells her?
8. How are Cameron and Sonia shaped by their relationships with their parents?
9. Do you think that what Sonia did to end her friendship with Cameron is forgivable? Why or why not? Why do you think she did it? Why does Cameron find it so difficult to forgive? Is what Cameron did in response forgivable?
10. What draws Cameron to Will? Should Cameron be held responsible for her feelings for Will when he was Sonia’s boyfriend, even though she didn’t act on them? When she meets him again as an adult, why are her feelings so hard for her to express?
11. Sonia tells Cameron on page 205: “You’re a dreamer who doesn’t believe in the dream.” What does she mean by this? How do you see this play out in Cameron’s behavior?
12. Which of the two friends do you sympathize with more, Cameron or Sonia? At which points in the novel do you most sympathize with Sonia? With Cameron? At which points do you sympathize with them the least? Why?
13. In the prologue, Sonia tells Cameron that every decision we make affects the rest of our lives. Do you think this is true? What are the crucial decisions in Cameron’s life? Sonia’s? Oliver’s? Why did they make them?
14. Why are friendships between teenage girls so intense? What brings Cameron and Sonia together? What does each bring to the friendship? What does each get out of it?
15. On page 114, Cameron says that these intense teenage friendships can’t last. Is this true? Why or why not?
16. What kind of relationship do you imagine Sonia and Cameron having after the end of the novel? Have they begun a new phase of their friendship, or simply achieved closure?