Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. How do the political issues of the 1950s portrayed in Summerlings resonate today? How have things changed, or not?
2. Elena, goddess of Connors Lane, is both a nurturing character and an illicit “agent of influence.” How do you feel about her?
3. Is childhood different now from the fifties? How so? Were children generally better off then, or now?
4. The 1950s were a time of iconic music-making. Discuss the music in Summerlings, and compare it to music and its appeal, production, and availability now. What part did music play in American culture then, and now?
5. What other books, movies, and TV shows does this novel remind you of?
6. What was your favorite scene in the book? Why?
7. The narrator, John, is looking back on his childhood as an adult. How did the narration affect your reading experience? Did you enjoy that perspective?
8. The characters—especially John, Ivan, Max, and Beatriz—have a lot more life to live after the last page of Summerlings. What do you think happens in their lives after the novel ends? If you had to guess, where do you think they’d be today?