Chapter 1 – The Sea That Was
- Who do you think Robin is?
- Why is it important to Teacher that Eider get “the sea out of your system” (pg. 4)?
Chapter 2 – The Desert Ranch
- We learn that the world has ended at least three years earlier. Why is structure so important now that the world has ended?
- Why do you think the Word Books have missing pages?
- If the world has really ended and there is nothing beyond the desert ranch, why would anyone need to keep making the fence taller and stronger?
- Why would Teacher interpret meanness as confidence?
Chapter 3 – Fairytales
- If you were one of the only people left in the world, how would you feel? Special? Important? Lonely?
- Why should Eider feel the need to keep her papers secret?
- Why does she still think (hope?) Teacher is mistaken about things, for instance, the sea?
- An alarm sounds. If you are the only people left in the world, what kind of danger could there be?
- Paper is to be conserved only for important things. Is Art important?
Chapter 4 – The Night Lesson
- What does darkness help the kids to do?
- While looking up at ‘star soup,” Eider faints. Why do you think this happened?
Chapter 5 – Nonsense Things
- The storage room is filled with food which never seems to diminish. Where does the food come from?
Chapter 6 – Bone Deep Kind of Wonder
- Who is the Handyman? Where do you think he comes from? What about the stuff he delivers?
- When Eider is discovered at the fence by Teacher, Teacher comments, “I just want to make sure you’re looking inward instead of outward” (pg. 47). Is looking outward bad? Is looking inward good?
- Later when Eider goes to the fence, she is more careful. Why does she feel the need to hide her curiosity?
- When Eider goes through the gap in the fence Beyond, what does she find?
Chapter 7 – Extrasensory
- When practicing the mazes, Teacher is trying to learn whether or not the kids are ‘a natural’ at certain activities. What are Eider’s natural talents? Are these valuable things?
Chapter 8 – Welcome Home
- Teacher has begun sharing the results of her lessons with the kids. Eider thinks she did better in the mazes than Linnet, yet she scored lower. What might this mean?
- What do you think of the paper that Eider found Beyond?
- Teacher claims she can’t control what the kids think, but she can guide their thoughts. Do you think she is controlling them or is she really guiding them?
- Families are a distasteful topic. Teacher claims, “Families aren’t special… they were common” (pg. 64). Does the fact that something is common mean it is not special? What do you think of Teacher’s ideas?
Chapter 9 – The First Step
- Eider encourages Finch to go beyond the fence with her. Is this wise?
- Eider finds a shard of ceramic. She keeps it because she thinks it is pretty. Finch says it is not useful, but Eider asks, “Does everything need to be?” (pg. 71) What do you think?
- What do you think Finch’s secret is?
Chapter 10 – Something Special
- What do you think of the third Extrasensory lesson?
What do you think of Teacher’s comment: “Brains are like clay. They can become almost anything with the right pinching and prodding.” (pg. 77)
- Eider gives the pretty shard to Linnet. Why does Linnet think it is so special when it is not useful?
Chapter 11 – All That World
- Finch builds a radio. Why does he think there may be something “out there?” When the results are disappointing, why doesn’t he just give up?
Chapter 12 – War Games
- The kids are all playing pretend war games. During the play, Jay mentions that soldiers sometimes go M.I.A. – like Robin. If Robin is an imaginary sister, why would Jay say this?
- What is the cause of Teacher’s disappointment?
- Teacher doesn’t often talk about when or why the world ended. When she does, she says it is because “the world was going rotten” (pg. 95). And she says it doesn’t matter what happened to the Other People. Why do you think Teacher doesn’t want to discuss the topic more thoroughly and deeply?
Chapter 13 – Natural Causes
- Why doesn’t Eider trust Jay? Why doesn’t he trust her? If they are the only ones left in the world, shouldn’t they trust each other?
- What do you think of Jay’s collection? Why does he hide it?
- Finch’s radio works and they hear the voice of someone broadcasted loud and clear. What does this mean?
Chapter 14 – Other People
- Now that the kids have proof of Other People existing, Eider feels more confused than ever. Why?
- Eider guesses that Jay’s word is scorpion. Do you believe this is telepathy?
Chapter 15 – The Point
- Teacher explains the point of all their lessons. The world is beginning again and one of the kids is going to be the leader, not only of each other but all the Other People. Teacher claims the Other People are dangerous and evil. How do you think she can know this?
Chapter 16 – Allies, Not Enemies
- One of the kids is “better and more brilliant and more special than the others” (125). Why is it Teacher’s job to figure out who that is? Who do you think it might be and why?
- Eider becomes much more focused on her lessons. After all, she wants to be the best she can be. She thinks about Robin much less often. She isn’t interested in the radio any more either because the Other People didn’t matter. She considers them “pointless.” What do you think of this change in Eider?
Chapter 17 – Secrets
- What do you make of Nurse’s words: “the world didn’t end just once”? (pg. 132)
- Someone has taken Teacher’s permanent marker. She accuses them, saying someone is keeping secrets. She claims keeping secrets, even for someone else, is dangerous. Who is keeping secrets and what are those secrets?
Chapter 18 – Intrepid Explorer
- Eider decides she must get rid of her book and papers. Will this really get rid of her secrets?
- What is more important to Eider: exploring or earning Teacher’s approval?
- In the Beyond, Eider meets a hiker. Does he seem evil to you? He talks about his children. Does he seem like someone for whom the world has ended?
Chapter 19 – A Disease of the Mind
- When Teacher discovers Finch’s radio – and that all the kids know about it – she says his curiosity is “a disease of the mind.” Is curiosity a bad thing? Why would Finch’s curiosity make her so angry?
Chapter 20 – The Space Between
- Finch has been disciplined. What do you think of Teacher’s punishment?
- Why does Eider think that it is a relief that Robin is not real?
- How does Eider know that Robin is real?
Chapter 21 – Once Upon A Time
- Eider clearly remembers what has happened to Robin. Why has Teacher lied and told her that she has no sister?
Chapter 22 – Memories That Were
- What do you think has happened to Robin?
Chapter 23 – Lies
- What do you think the point of Teacher’s lies are? What about the lies of the other kids and Nurse?
Chapter 24 – Missing Things
- What does Eider learn during the drill?
Chapter 25 – Only Here
- Where has the world ended? Why has Teacher lied about it to them?
Chapter 26 – Choices
- Eider confronts Teacher about her lies. What do you think of Teacher’s responses?
- Teacher admits to telling the kids lies, claiming that it was for their own good. Do you think this is a valid argument?
Chapter 27 – Darkness
- The other kids distract Teacher so that Eider can make her escape. Do you think their idea will work?
- Do you think Eider can make it across the desert?
Chapter 28 – The Sea That Wasn’t
- Would you feel nervous if you were Finch or Eider?
- How far do you think Robin could have walked?
Chapter 29 – Real Leaders
- Let’s talk about choices. Eider realizes we all have choices: “You could choose to trust. You could choose to listen. You could choose to believe” (pg. 244). What do you think of her choice to jump?
Chapter 30 – West
- Do you think Eider is going in the right direction?
Chapter 31 – Birdsong
- There are clues all around Eider. What are they?
- What do you think has happened to the other kids as Eider hikes away from the desert ranch?
Chapter 32 – Like A Fox
- What do you think of the world Eider finds? How do you think she feels?
Chapter 33 and 34 – Wish You Were Here/Ever After
- What do you think of Eider’s (and Robin’s) fairytale?
Don’t forget to check out my review of Race the Night from earlier this week!