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You Were Here Reader’s Guide

By Gian Sardar

You Were Here by Gian Sardar


   1. You Were Here wonders if the mistakes of the past can ever be corrected in the future, perhaps beyond our own future. Do you believe in past lives? How do you think the past can affect our present day?
   2. Abby is plagued by nightmares. Have you or anyone you know ever had a repeating dream? If so, what was it?
   3. The note Abby finds for Edith tells her to “right the wrong” (p. 109). What does the note mean? Do you believe that this “wrong” can be righted? Why or why not?
   4. Abby is obsessed with objects from the past. Why do you think this is? Did you relate to her nostalgia?
   5. On p. 57, Eva remembers that when she was twelve years old “overnight . . . the world shifted and people no longer said hello to her on the street.” How do Eva’s looks shape her character? Did you feel sympathetic toward Eva?
   6. On p. 113, Claire thinks about her family’s cottage by the lake “waiting and her own.” What does this cottage represent for Claire? Does its meaning change by the end of the novel? Why do you think Claire struggles to reach out to her husband even though she loves him?
   7. How did you feel about William? Were you angry about his affair? Why?
   8. Abby thinks a lot about Aidan, Beth, Marc, and Brittany as she heads back to Makade for the first time in fourteen years. Are there specific people from your childhood that you still think about? If so, why? Have you gone back home for a high school reunion? Would you?
   9. Abby realizes throughout the novel how little she knows about her grandmother. Do you feel like you know your grandparents and their history? Just as Abby’s obsessed with her grandmother’s ring, is there an item in your family that is special to you?
   10. Claire’s relationship to motherhood and her own mother are complicated. Do you think Claire represents women of her time or is her mother more typical?
   11. Were you surprised by the ending?
   12. What did Aidan mean by saying, “Guilt can rewrite history”?
   13. What other connections between characters did you see, both in the past and in the present?
   14. Have you ever met someone with whom you felt a connection right off the bat that didn’t make sense? As if you already knew them?
   15. At one point, in the restaurant when Eddie visits Eva again, she feels strongly that she’s at a crossroads, that this very moment was when she needed to pick a path. Have you ever felt a moment like that so intensely, when you knew your choice would set you on a different path? What choice did you make?
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