Yay! It’s our very first Suspenseful Clues and Thrilling Reviews book club discussion! If you’re new to the blog, I’d like to extend a big, warm welcome. This month’s pick was Bring Her Home by David Bell, a suspenseful mystery surrounding the disappearance of two teenage girls and the havoc it wreaks on one widower in particular. If you missed it, you can find my review HERE. Sam and I both were blown away by the detail and emotion laid bare in the narrative; even though I don’t have teenagers myself, I could feel what Bill was experiencing in the many ups and downs while searching for his daughter Summer. We’ve chosen to use the official book club questions provided via the publisher for this book, and I’m going to lay out what to expect below.
First, if you haven’t read the book yet, go ahead and stop here. There will be spoilers below and you can always join in at a later date once you’ve completed the novel. We won’t be closing these threads and would love to have you join in anytime you feel ready. With this being our very first month, we aren’t set on a format or formula for these discussions yet, so please bare with us as we try a few different ways of doing this. For the first month, we’ve decided to spread this out over two days; we will each host a post with 6 different questions as to not take up too much time for each reader and allow you the chance to visit both our blogs. We’ll answer a handful of questions and also be posting some blank as well; you are welcome to answer any of the questions you see in the comments below (dictating which number in your answer if possible) or feel free to post your own inspired comments and questions! Finally, David has generously offered up a copy of his successful previous novel Cemetery Girl to one lucky winner! To be considered for the giveaway, you must participate in the discussion via both blog posts, whether it be a thought you had on the book, an answer to a discussion question, etc. We have to keep it to US entrants only, but the discussion is open to everyone worldwide! We’ll be closing the giveaway Friday, August 18 at midnight, so make sure and leave your comments by then. Enough blabbing from me; let’s talk about the book!
ONE) Bill alludes to difficulties he had with Summer before she disappeared. Do you think this was typical teenage rebellion, or was it exacerbated by her mother’s death?
– This was a detail I thought extensively about while reading the story and I felt it was a bit of both. While yes, any young adult would have extensive struggles after losing a parent, and most fall into a rut of rebellion and acting out, I also felt she had a bit of personality that made her a leader and an influencer. We saw multiple examples in the book where she had taken the lead and encouraged others to resort to her level of behavior, some of which were before the loss of her mother. Would Summer have been a model adolescent if fate were different and Julia’s life hadn’t ended so abruptly? Probably not, but I do feel it played a role in defining who she became in the time following her mother’s death.
TWO) The reader learns that Bill once grabbed Summer, leading her to call the police. Do you think the police made the right decision when they chose not to press charges? Did finding this out about Bill make you feel differently about him?
– I found the scene where Bill grabbed Summer to be one of the most excruciating in the book. As a parent, I have experienced what he felt many times and can see it happening easily in a tense moment. While I feel the police made the right decision (based on the information provided in the narrative), I have to admit it did slightly change how I viewed Bill as a parent and a human in general. My view? I wanted to keep as open a mind as possible to what that family endured. Between Summer’s many manipulations and the grief Bill was working through, I felt what happened wasn’t something the law was required to intervene in. The extra lumps of guilt and fear seemed retribution enough; eventually a person has to stop punishing themselves for past transgressions. This scene and how the remainder of the book played out felt like an example of forgiveness and second chances at it’s finest.
THREE) Bill thinks of Adam as one of his closest friends. Why do you think Bill was so drawn to Adam?
– I love this question! I thought about Bill and Adam’s relationship quite frequently throughout the book, and I felt this was the classic case of a psychopath being exactly what they are- charismatic and manipulative. We see more of Adam’s true nature as the story progresses; it was eery and unnerving just how much he changes in those 400 pages. He appeared completely trustworthy and dependable in the beginning, but by the end of the story he’s completely broken and exposed for the monster he has become. Honestly though, I think a part of why Bill was so drawn to Adam is because we all tend to be drawn to those who appear to have all the qualities we lack. Adam was youthful and good looking in appearance, and seemed to be without many of the responsibilities Bill had. Add on the athletic talents and choice of women to date, and I could see why Bill would want to spend time with him and, in a sense, want to be him.
FOUR) Bill turns to his sister, Paige, in times of crisis, even though their relationship is sometimes contentious. Do you think their sibling relationship is typical?
FIVE) Taylor has a difficult time turning over her daughter’s dental x-rays to the police. Do you understand why she hesitated to learn the truth?
SIX) Candy seems to imply that Summer was a bad influence on her daughter, Haley. Do you think this is true? Is it normal in a teenage friendship for one kid to be more of a leader than the other?
*Thanks so much for participating in this month’s discussion and please be sure to find the second half of the questions on Sam’s blog Clues and Reviews tomorrow! Best of luck to those entering the giveaway and I look forward to chatting with you below! ❤