THE AFTER GIRLS, a contemporary young adult novel that follows two teen girls as they try to uncover the mystery of their best friend’s suicide, makes a great book club selection for both teens and adults.
Ages 12 and up / Young Adult Contemporary / Merit Press / 304 pages / $12 hardcover, $8 for Kindle
“A sensitive look at the wake of a friend’s suicide, infused with genuine emotion, hope, and just enough well-placed romance.”-Booklist
“The Writing King of Difficult Subjects has to be John Green. After reading The After Girls, I would definitely put Ms. Konen in his court.”-Ink and Page
“A striking debut and an eerily good book… THE AFTER GIRLS is a vivid portrayal of interrupted lives and enduring friendships. It is as much about the known as the unknown and as much about healing as loss.”-Michael Northrop, author of TRAPPED and GENTLEMEN
1. How do Ella and Sydney grieve for Astrid differently? Is one way better or healthier than the other? Is there a right way to grieve for a friend or loved one? Do you relate to the way Ella or Sydney grieves more?
2. Music plays a large role in THE AFTER GIRLS, through Sydney’s band and Ella’s interactions with Jake. How do Sydney and Ella use music to cope with Astrid’s death? How does it affect their relationships with the other characters and each other?
3. Much of THE AFTER GIRLS is filled with messages, texts and calls that are seemingly from Astrid. After reading the ending, what do you make of these messages? Do you think there is one right way to interpret the end of the book, or has Leah Konen left room for debate?
4. THE AFTER GIRLS is filled with lots of romantic entanglements: Ella and Ben, Ella and Jake, Sydney and Max, and Sydney and Carter. Which relationship or couple do you relate to most? Which is the healthiest? The most destructive? The most romantic? Do any mirror the kind of relationships you’ve had or would like to have?
5. A story about suicide is undeniably sad and tragic. What did you find uplifting or positive about the book? How did it leave you feeling after finishing it? Hopeful? Distressed? A little bit of both?
I am happy to call-in, Skype or Google Hangout with your book club. I can also meet with your group in-person if you live in Northern California. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your request.