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- “‘There can’t be any . . .’ She paused, careful to select the least offensive word. ‘Issues’” (page 5). Ward’s publicist, Gwen, hints that there have been problems with previous book signings. How does this set the stage for the chapter and the book as a whole? After the big plot twist reveal, go back and reread the first chapter. How has your perception of it changed now that you know how it ends?
- Bree’s best friend, Maggie, is a psychologist. How do you think that affects their friendship dynamic? Do you think overall it is a positive thing? How do Bree’s conversations with Maggie help drive the plot?
- Analyze the two main female characters, Bree and Ward. How are they different, and how are they similar? Do they complement each other in any way? Why is Bree so drawn to Ward’s disappearance in the beginning? Does Bree see herself in Ward on some level?
- Discuss the male characters. Many of them who appeared caring, helpful, and harmless at first turn out to be just the opposite. Why do you think Liebert decided to develop her male characters this way? Do you think it was a purposeful decision? Which character ends up being a surprise hero?
- Examine the mother-daughter relationships in the book. How is Bree’s relationship with her mother similar to the relationship she has with Chloe and how is it different? Do you think incorporating many scenes with Chloe—who is the same age as Stevie—is meant to highlight Ward’s loss? How is Ward’s relationship with Patricia different from Bree’s relationship with her mother? Do you think Bree and Ward’s relationships with their mothers mirror their interactions with their daughters in any way?
- Bree becomes entangled with two very different men: Scott, who is reliable and kind, and Evan, who is mysterious and passionate. What is it about Evan that makes Bree so smitten with him? Do you think her attraction is rooted in the fact that he’s helping her find Ward or does she actually like his personality? Do you think she is really attracted to the danger after her life of being a stay-at-home mom?
- “Remarkable how one tragic incident can change your entire outlook” (page 169). Ward is describing how Patricia never used to be suspicious of others until the Stevie inci- dent. Do you think it’s true that one moment can impact everything? Has there ever been a moment—either good or bad—that completely changed the way you look at the world and those around you?
- What were some of the clues that foreshadowed the twist about what really happened to Stevie? Were you completely taken by surprise or were there moments when you were able to piece it together? If so, what were those moments?
- Discuss Ward’s decision regarding Stevie’s safety. Do you think it was the right choice for the time or do you think it ended up causing more damage, stress, and complications? What do you think you would have done in Ward’s situa- tion? Would you have gone in a similar direction?
- What are some of the tools that Emily Liebert uses toward the end to increase the pacing of the book?
- When did you begin to suspect that Christopher and Evan were the same person? How does Liebert hint at it before- hand? Go back and analyze the parts where Bree brings up Christopher’s name in Evan’s presence. Are the clues easier to spot now that you know the truth?
- In the flash-forward at the end, Bree and Ward have almost reversed roles. Bree is now the star author signing the book she and Ward cowrote. Discuss how—in some ways—everything has come full circle by the end.
- Talk about the very last scene. How does it change the way you interpret every interaction that Ward had with Alex? Does it make you question Evan’s involvement at all? Do you think Ward should have been more cautious of Alex when she found out that he was at the same bar as Stevie on the night she was attacked?