READERS GUIDEReader’s Guide
The Finalists by David Bell
1. At the beginning of the book, Troy speaks to the president of the college on the phone. Why is it so important for this day to go off without a hitch?
2. While everyone waits outside Hyde House, we are introduced to the students who will participate in the exam. Does the group seem like a typical cross section of today’s college students?
3. What is your first impression of Nicholas Hyde when he shows up late? Do you understand his motivations throughout the novel?
4. When the day begins, the six students have to agree to be locked in Hyde House all day. Is it a surprise that they are willing to go to such great lengths to win the scholarship?
5. When someone dies in the house, there is a debate about whether to stay and finish the exam. Do you understand why some people wanted to stay to finish?
6. During the book, we learn about Nicholas’s background. Did you ever sympathize with him, given his family history?
7. At various points in the book, suspicion falls upon each of the students. Did you suspect any of the students more than you suspected others?
8. We learn that each of the students was selected because of the challenges they are facing in their lives. Were you surprised to learn they were chosen this way?
9. Do you understand the feelings of resentment some of the students have toward the Hyde family due to their wealth and privilege?
10. Two characters behave heroically at the end. Did the behavior of either of those characters surprise you?
11. What do you think of Troy’s character arc in the novel? Why and how has he changed?