Book Discussion Questions
The Way We Fall is written in journal format rather than a straight-forward first person narrative. How did that influence your experience of the story? How might the story have come across differently if it was a standard narrative?
During the course of the book, Kaelyn mentions a few different reasons why she’s recording what’s happening. Do you think her journaling helps her cope with the epidemic? How? Have you ever kept a journal, and how was it beneficial to you?
The medical authorities in the book don’t realize the virus is a real threat for several days. Do you think they should have acted sooner? What else could they have done to contain the epidemic?
Many people leave Kaelyn’s town out of fear of the disease, before the quarantine is implemented, which means they may have carried the virus to the mainland. Do you believe people have a right to protect themselves by any means, even if it puts others at risk? Why or why not?
How does the book’s setting—on a small, easily closed-off island—contribute to the atmosphere of the story? How might events have unfolded differently if the virus had appeared in a large mainland city instead? What would happen if an epidemic emerged in the place where you live?
How do you feel about Gav’s claim that he can’t trust the government or others in charge to look after the town? Should he have taken matters into his own hands?
When Kaelyn’s mother is so sick she starts speaking without an internal filter, Kaelyn wonders whether everything she’s saying reflects how her mother has really felt. How does the inability to consciously choose what you say affect a person’s honesty? How might it result in comments that aren’t totally true?
Kaelyn’s father often keeps information from her about the virus. Similarly, Kaelyn tries to play down the horror of the situation when talking to her cousin Meredith. When do you think it’s okay to hide uncomfortable truths from others? When is it not? Why?
Even though Quentin has hurt her and her friends in the past, Kaelyn decides to help him when she sees he is sick, whereas Tessa is happy to leave him. What would you have done in a situation like that? Do you think it’s possible to have too much concern for others?
How does Kaelyn’s perception of herself change throughout the book? Has a traumatic experience ever brought out qualities in yourself that surprised you?
Do you agree with Kaelyn’s conclusion that “The trying was what was important” even if it results in failure? Why or why not?
At the end of the book, Kaelyn sees her friend Leo returning on the ferry. Why might the ferry be operating again? What do you think will happen when Leo arrives?