Discussion Questions

1. Novels often involve a journey of some sort. What kind of journey is Bird taking? What do you know about Bird's mother?

2. Has the author created a realistic story? Could these events really happen?

3. There are three narrators in this story. Can you describe what each narrator looks like? How would it have been different if one person had told the story?

4. Bird's stepfather, Cecil, is on the run. Do you think he is running away from something or toward something? What if Cecil had been one of the narrators?

5. Ethan developed some new food cravings after receiving a new heart. Do you think that an organ transplant can also transfer some of the organ donor's characteristics?

6. Bird spent a lot of time surviving on her own without shelter. Do you think that you would be able to do this if necessary?

7. Why do you think that Jay got into trouble? Did he see it coming? Did that matter to him?

8. Were you surprised that Mrs. Pritchard kept Bird's secret of being a runaway?

9. Bird says, "You can be almost anybody in the summer." Do you agree?

10. Recall the scenes when Bird visited the farmhouse while the family was out. Did that remind you of another story? Do you think that the author intended that connection?

11. Why do you think that Bird was able to return home without talking with Cecil? Did she find what she was looking for on this journey?

12. Do you think that this story has a fast pace or a slow pace? Are you comfortable with the author's writing style? Would you prefer a story with more information, or do you like to put the pieces together yourself? What is "minimalism"?

13. Describe your favorite part of the story. Why is that your favorite passage? Did the author do anything special in that section?

14. Create an alternative ending to the story after Bird leaves Alabama.

15. In one sentence, describe this book to someone who might want to read it. What is the theme of this book? Do you think that the author is telling us something about family relationships? Or, about personal relationships in general?