Discussion Questions for Book Clubs

IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOKS, PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS BELOW.

Discussion Questions for Slammed by Colleen Hoover

  1. A very lovely song called I and Love and You, written by the Avett Brothers uses the lyric, “One foot in and one foot back, But it don’t pay to live like that, So I cut the ties and jumped the track, For never to return.” How does this lyric inform the emotional and spiritual place the readers discover Layken at in the beginning of Slammed? Does she need to be at a place of cleaving herself from her old life to embark on a new life?

2. Lake and Will are immediately attracted to each other upon meeting. Kel and Caulder and Lake and Eddie are similarly immediately bonded, striking up a deep friendship. What is it about someone else that creates mutual attraction? Did you know/recognize your soul mate immediately upon meeting him/her? Do you believe in love (both romantic and friendship) at first sight?

3. Lake and Will share their first date at a poetry slam in which Will is called upon to perform a very revealing and raw piece about the death of his parents and the aftermath that event had upon his life. However, he and Lake have not yet shared the banal details of their lives. Was it easier for Will to share the deeper elements of his life before he shared the biographical details? Why or why not?

4. Did Will act inappropriately in assuming that Lake was a college student and not a high school student? What should he have done differently once this truth was revealed? What was Lake’s responsibility in this situation? Did Will, as the adult in a position of trust, have a greater burden in divesting himself from Lake? What should the players have done differently?

5. Will and Lake experience significant pushes and pulls while trying to avoid one another. Should they have made attempts to stay away from each other or just maintained their relationship in private? Is it possible to be “just friends” with someone for whom you have deeper feelings? Is it better to cut off the relationship completely?

6. Lake equates the sorrow of not having Will in her life to the Elizabeth Kübler-Ross Steps of Grief. Is the loss of a relationship a death of sorts? In your experience, does the loss of first love feel like a death? Do subsequent losses feel as intense as the loss of first love?

7. Julia reveals that her health is in crisis and the move to Michigan was planned before Lake’s dad’s death. Why do you think she kept such information under wraps for so long? Did she do the right thing? Is full disclosure the right policy in every situation? How do you think she should have handled this differently?

8. It becomes clear that Lake is going to be Kel’s guardian in a twist of fate similar to Will’s fate. Was she right to refuse Will’s advances with the insistence that “she is first” in his life? Could she have made similar assurances to him, had he demanded them, at that moment? Was she being fair to ask that of him? How are those demands different to those asked by Vaughn two years prior?

9. Lyrics, poetry, and quotes figure prominently in Slammed’s narrative. What makes a poetic line powerful or meaningful? Was Will’s poetry to Lake any more important or better than her dad’s poetry to her mom? What’s the point of poetry if the poetry doesn’t have points? What are the elements that lead readers (or listeners) to regard a line as good or bad? Is there a line that is particularly important to you in your life?

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

  1. While Lake is the narrator of Slammed, Will is the narrator of Point of Retreat. How do their perspectives serve the story? Did the character who served as the voice of the narrative earn more or less sympathy from you? Do you understand the protagonists better having “seen” them through both lenses?

2. Point of Retreat finds Lake and Will one year into their relationship. They very much have a shared life and household distributed between two houses, with shared day care, meals, and entertaining. Did your predictions at the end of Slammed come to fruition? Were there any surprises? Disappointments?

3. Lake and Will promised Julia that they would wait a year before becoming sexual with one another. Do you understand their abstinence? Did waiting ultimately help their relationship? Did they place too much emphasis upon sex in “waiting for the perfect time?” Likewise, should they have moved in with each other?

4. Lake and Will struggle with balancing their relationships with Caulder and Kel, measuring their reactions to situations as parents and siblings. How successful are they with this balance? Do their reactions to the trouble they run into at school jibe with more sibling-like or parental reactions?

5. Sherry describes her youthful first love as having the same kind of magic that Lake and Will have. However, that relationship did not end well. Is true love necessary to happiness? Is it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all? How has true love impacted your life? Does the magic last? Does is have to last in order to insure happiness?

6. Julia leaves Will and Lake with a vase filled with pearls of wisdom. The wisdom figures prominently within the plot and helps to guide Will and Lake. What was the best piece of advice you were ever given? Who is the wisest person you know? How have they impacted your decision making?

7. Will and Lake, for better or worse, are joined by and due to their devastating losses. Lake is concerned that this is their common ground that joins them. Is she right to be concerned? Is there something to be said for sharing similar experiences? Are they better equipped to deal with each other because they have parallel lives and responsibilities? Are they more capable of happiness because they both experienced such sorrow?

8. Vaughn discovers Will in a shared class and it becomes clear that she is interested in rekindling a relationship with him. Did Will proceed appropriately? Should he have been more aggressive in indicating his disinterest? Was Lake justified to feel threatened by Will’s behavior toward Vaughn?

9. Lake is injured in a devastating car accident. Was something that dramatic necessary in order to provide Will the opportunity to show Lake how much he loves her? Would his words have been good enough? Why do some need to be shown love while others need to be told love?

10. Will proposes to Lake with her mom’s wedding ring. Do you think it was important for Lake to know that Julia gave her blessing to the union?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR HOPELESS

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

  1. Holder tells Sky, “Sometimes you have to choose between a bunch of wrong choices and no right ones. You just have to choose which wrong choice feels the least wrong.” Is there truth in this statement? How does this statement apply to Karen’s actions? Did she make the “least wrong” choice? Why or why not?
  2. The motif of the sky and stars repeats throughout “Hopeless”, especially as a token of comfort and distraction. How do stars factor in the connection between Sky and Holder?
  3. The use of names in Hopeless is critical in informing the essential nature of the characters. What do the names “Holder”, “Dean”, “Hope”, “Sky”, and “Les” reveal about the essential nature of their bearers?
  4. Sky does not recall the first five years of her life at the beginning of the story; however, her habits and preferences are shaped by her early years. Holder cannot forget his early years with Hope. How do memories shape who we are and how we react? How do memories impact Sky and Holder?
  5. Both Lesslie and John Davis commit suicide. Is one suicide nobler than the other? Did John give Sky a gift by killing himself when confronted? Would Sky have been able to discover the truth about her own life if Les had still been alive? Why or why not?
  6. Was Holder “hopeless” or simply without Hope/hope? How is he hopeless at the end of the book?
  7. Sky perceives herself as disconnected from Hope. Do you identify with this perception? Have events in your life changed you to the point at which you would be unrecognizable to your earlier self? Is there something about one’s essential nature that is preserved in spite of the trauma one has experienced? How does the following quote describe the synthesis of the two halves of Sky/Hope: “It’s what happens when two people become one: they no longer only share love. They also share all of the pain, heartache, sorrow, and grief.”
  8. At the conclusion of the story, what elements of her character embody “Sky” and which ones are a ray of “Hope”?
  9. Holder’s response to Sky at the outset of Hopeless was intense and he appeared to have some connection to her that she did not understand. As you were reading Hopeless, what were your working theories about their connection?
  10. Holder discusses his future with Sky without reservation from the very beginning of their relationship. Where do you see Holder and Sky in five years?

33 responses to “Discussion Questions for Book Clubs

  1. I found myself grasping my chest and reaching for the kleenex with both books. I’m a total book nerd and your books seriously have a place in my heart. And it doesn’t hurt that I’m a Detroiter either! Loved every character and I adored the way you wrote her Mom’s story. Just coming through a cancer scare myself, my biggest fear was for my daughter. I think her Mom’s (Julia) story was an important one. These books touched me, and I hope hope hope that hopeless leaves me feeling butterlying amazing afterward or I may go postal because I love these characters so much! Because of this story I went to NOLA in September to see the Avett Brothers, so I should thank you for that too!

  2. Hi, I have just discovered these books through the great reviews and would like to start reading them however, as per my usual, I jump onto the authors web sight to find a reading order. Can someone please help me with this or are the 3 books all stand alone?????? Websight really needs to state this fact pleeeeaaasssse.

    • I just finished reading Hopeless and absolutely fell in love with this story. Will there be any sequels or like April asked above, a book from Holder’s point of view? With those two characters (and Six, of course!) it would be a shame not to continue on with their stories…… Here’s to “hoping”!!!

  3. I hope you might decided to write Hopeless in Holder’s point of view….I think there is a GREAT story behind that!!

  4. I have never cried reading a book. Hopeless stole my heart. I LOVED it. Every touch from holder had meaning & that alone got me. This book touched emotions in me that I never thought I had. The fact that you can do this to me through your book is amazing. I hope you decide to write another Hopeless but from Holder’s point of view because the little Christmas present you gave us on your blog, I LIVED it! ;)

    Now… I’m off to buy Slammed. Thank you!

  5. Will there be discussion questions for Hopeless any time soon? Our book club meets at the end of February and we are pretty excited to discuss it!

  6. Same question as Melissa. I just finished reading Hopeless but have convinced a group of people that they can’t go without reading this book. Because of this we are going to start a book club. Our first get together will be in February. Will you have questions for this fantastic book? BTW your book is phenomenal!! Love them all!

  7. All three books were fantastic! Cant put them down from the first page till they’re done. And always have a box of kleenex nearby! Waiting on the next book…..when can we expect it??

  8. Just introduced to you through reading Hopeless! The story was told perfectly and I didn’t want it to end! I will definitely read the rest of your books.

  9. I started with Slammed and could not hold put off for the other two book I just had to read the. I am in LOVE with your work. It has made me cried & laugh in a god a good way. I can’t wait for your future work. You are buy far my ONLY favorite author.
    Thank you!

  10. Pingback: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover | Recent Reads of a Jail Librarian·

  11. Are you planning on writing anymore books under the SLAMMED series? I totally love the story and the characters…thanks

  12. I work in a bookstore in Germany and that’s how I got Slammed into my hands (Weil ich Layken liebe). I read it in a day and I think it’s a wonderful story, which makes you wanna laugh out loud or cry a couple of times.
    I absolutely love the characters! As soon I was done reading the book, I told my colleague to buy it for our children’s lit section and ordered it in English for myself and the store.
    Thank you for giving us such a wonderful book! Hope the movie will come out in Germany as well!
    Greetings from Germany
    Beate

  13. I read slammed first then point of retreat. Both were very good. I like lake and will story. But when I read hopeless I feel in love with sky and holder. I didn’t know weather to cry, laugh, or panic. I found myself having to take chapter breaks. lol but haven’t read a really good book and a while and that did it for me

    thanks

  14. I NEED more from Colleen! You have stolen my heart. I don’t ever remember being as captivated by a book as I was with ALL of your books! Especially Hopeless/Losing Hope. please tell me you have something else in the works so I can start the countdown!

  15. I just finish Hopeless yesterday and start reading Losing Hope today… and i have to say that so far are the best books I’ve ever read.. Not just the magic of the characters… but the way i felt everything they were going trough… its a beautiful story and i hope to watch a movie of it because is the kind of story that needs to be read,seen and heard as much as felt… Congratz… and thank you

  16. Greetings from Singapore!

    Dear Colleen, you are an amazing writer! I’ve read Hopeless, Slammed (oh my I cried so hard), Point of Retreat (love lake and will’s fighting scene, the vase and the stars!) and currently reading This Girl. Hopefully, there are more upcoming books. =) Thank you for writing these amazing books!

  17. Will you be writing a Hopeless 3? There’s no way to just leave the whole Daniel and Six story hanging in the balance. Do they go try to find their son, do they last through college? please say there is another one coming.

  18. Oiii. Começei a ler os seus livros recentemente, e posso dizer que “PAUSA” me fez vibrar. pois e uma pura poesia. Fiquei apaixonada pela Historia de Will e Lake. Parabéns !!! realmente e excelente.

  19. You need to write a sequel for Finding Cinderella! We need to know what happens to all of the characters as they go off to College!

    • A couple posts higher she actually herself addressed this when I asked. She’s not writing anymore for that series and the paper back edition has an extra epilogue to provide closure to the story

  20. I would love to know if you know someone personally with a hearing impairment or if you did a lot of research? I have a 15yr old with severe-profound hearing loss in both ears. He has a cochlear implant on one side and hearing aid on the other. This book really hit home for me. Matthew was not diagonosed until he was almost 3 and wore hearing aids in both ears until the age if 5 when he received his first surgery for his cochlear implant. This book had me in tears almost the whole time bacause even tho he wears these devices I know he still can’t hear like we can. He relies on visual stuff so he learned to sign by the time he was 10yrs old. He does speak but some people cannot understand him. I think it is great that you wrote a book that is so close to being real for some people. I can say that this book is one of my all time favorites!

  21. Last night I completed reading Maybe Someday. While each of your other books brought me to tears. Maybe Someday touched me. I am deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other. I can hear sounds but words are a constant struggle. Colleen thank you for your stories. You have a beautiful gift…. Thank you for sharing them. Keep writing.

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