- Faith is a predominant theme in this book. Do you
think people shy away from openly talking about their
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?