Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. A Master Plan for Rescue tells two different love stories—Jack’s love for his father and Jakob’s love for Rebecca. Discuss what happens when those two stories come together. How do you think Jack’s life, or Jakob’s life, would be different if they had never met?
2. Why does the radio hold such magic for Jack? How do the radio stories affect him?
3. What do you think Jack’s father would say if he could see the risks Jack is taking? What if he knew Jack’s motivation for them?
4. Consider the author’s use of secret messages and codes. How are codes and messages used as a recurring theme, and in what ways? Discuss the different forms of communication between the characters and how this affects their relationships.
5. Multiple characters suffer from hearing loss and learn to compensate. How does this relate to Jack’s eyesight and the ways he compensates? Is there a way in which sign language is a code in itself?
6. Many characters in the novel possess a special ability: Jack can hear if people are telling the truth, Jack’s father can read people, and Jakob can fix things by seeing how they work inside his head. Discuss how these special abilities play into the story. How do they contrast with a certain character’s disability (i.e., Jack’s eyesight, Rose’s hearing)?
7. How does Jack’s obsession with heroism help him see something special in Jakob?
8. Do you think the similarity between the names “Jack” and “Jakob” is meaningful? How so? Or why not?
9. What would Rebecca ultimately think of Jakob’s life decisions?
10. Consider the setting—how does the author write about both New York and Berlin? How are these two settings similar, and how do they differ? Discuss the importance of place in the novel.
11. Have you ever done something in memory of a lost friend or family member, the way Jack and Jakob do?