By Nan Rossiter
Kensington BooksApril 2014

Trade Paperback352 pages, $15.00, ISBN: 9780758283917
Subject: Family / Relationships / New Beginnings

  1. Faith is a predominant theme in this book. Do you think people shy away from openly talking about their faith? Why?
  2. Many people are turned off by religion and don’t even like to see it included in books. It seems Christianity is increasingly a target for oppression—especially at Christmastime. Why is this happening? Do you think it plays a role in the decline of our society?
  3. One night at dinner, Asa, Maddie, Micah, and Beryl discuss the behavioral problems of today’s children. Asa blames the lack of discipline in the home and the breakdown of the family structure; Maddie, on the other hand, believes the inherent personality of the child must also be considered. With whom do you agree? Why?
  4. Asher witnesses Jeff telling Jared he is going to kill him. Do you think if Asher had told someone it would have made a difference? In today’s society, threats are often taken lightly. How should this issue be addressed?
  5. After Jared’s funeral, Noah and Laney have a similar discussion. Laney believes the world is a safer place without Jared. Noah counters that if Jared had been placed in a loving home and taught responsibility, he could have been rehabilitated. Who do you think is right? Do you think a boy like Jared—who seems inherently cruel—can be rehabilitated?
  6. Laney worries that Asher will be a victim of cyber bullying someday. At the same time, she’s dismayed when he reveals he might not want a Facebook page. How has cyber bullying become a problem in our society and is there a way to prevent it?
  7. One theme that threads through the book is the struggle to be forthcoming. Laney, Asa, and Asher all withhold critical information. Discuss their reasons and the impact their decisions have on others. Do you agree with their decisions?
  8. From the beginning, it is clear that Noah feels very strongly about being honest and forthcoming . . . no matter what the consequences. In the end, his conviction is shaken. What is his dilemma and how is it resolved?
  9. The Coleman household is often filled with chaos, or as Noah likes to call it, “blessed pandemonium.” Our lives, too, are filled with appointments, meetings, deadlines, and demands; and the overwhelming expansion of technology only seems to exacerbate the situation. Do you ever wish for simpler times? What are some ways we can slow down and get back to the basics?