1. At the beginning of The High Season, Carole tells Ruthie to “Just try to be . . . a little less you.” Being herself is a theme that Ruthie constantly struggles with—what moments do you think sparked the biggest changes in Ruthie’s character throughout the novel?
2. In The High Season, we meet two types of people: the “summer people” and the “year-round people.” Think about how each of these groups live their lives and connect with one another. While the differences may be obvious, how are they similar to one another? Do you think the characters can see these similarities for themselves? Why or why not?
3. The antique watch never stayed on one person’s wrist for long over the course of this novel—first landing in Ruthie’s possession, then Lucas’s, Doe’s, and briefly Lark’s. What were the intentions of each character when they took it? What did the watch mean for each of them?
4. It dawns on Ruthie that she has not been acting like herself when she realizes how much she’s been ignoring Jem. On the flip side, Jem has also been hiding her feelings from her parents. Do you think the outcome at the end of the novel would have been different for Jem if Ruthie, or Mike and Adeline, were paying more attention?
5. Throughout The High Season almost all the characters are caught lying at some point. How does each character justify their lies? How did this affect your reading of each character?
6. Lark tells Doe that “You have to look for goodness just like everybody else.” Is this sentiment true for all of the “summer people” in the novel? What about the other characters?
7. What does Doe learn about herself through her relationship with Lark? And vice versa? How do they grow together as a couple?
8. Why would Mike say his marriage to Ruthie failed? What would Ruthie give as the reasons? Do you think Adeline and Joe end up being better partners for both characters, and if so, why?
9. Do you feel the family handled the discipline of Lucas? What lessons were learned?
10. If you were in Ruthie’s shoes, how would you have responded to Jem’s confessions at the novel’s end?
11. Which characters in The High Season get the ending they deserve? Do you think Ruthie gets a happy ending?