Tray decides to lie to the police in order to help Pee Wee because she believes him to be wrongfully accused of starting the fire. Do you believe the “end justifies the means” in some cases? Is it ever okay to lie? Does Tray’s lie serve the purpose she intends?
Tray feels guilty about things she said to Gram for which she never apologized. Do you think Gram forgives Tray? Do you think Tray forgives herself? Do you think God forgives Tray?
Gram likes to pass on wise sayings (such as her calendar’s daily quotes) to her daughter and granddaughter. They do not always seem to be listening. Do you think the bits of wisdom make an impression on them anyway? Why or why not?
Tray worries that she might have inherited her mother’s illness. Do you think she did? How can we keep ourselves from worrying about things we can’t control?
Tray wants to be accepted by the popular gang at school so badly she is sometimes short with her friend Lori. After the incident at the bowling alley, do you think Tray still wants to be friends with Leslie, Candy, and Poppy? Why or why not?
In what ways is Tray like her father? Like her grandmother? Like her mother? Can you think of other characteristics that make Tray uniquely herself? Can you see traits of your parents or grandparents in you? When you recognize traits that you do not like, what can you do to change?
Why are Tray’s parents so reluctant to share the lottery winnings with Pee Wee? Should they have split the money with him sooner? After he confesses everything he did to Tray and Jesse, are they right to share with him anyway? Would you have given him more or less?
Who starts the fire, in your opinion? Do you believe Pee Wee plays a critical role in the fire incident? Do his actions at the tennis court make up for his threats? Can we compensate for our mistakes with future “good deeds”?
Why doesn’t Tray tell her parents about the incident at the tennis court? Why doesn’t Gram tell them? Weigh the reasons for and against telling from Gram’s perspective.
What sorts of mistakes does Gram believe she made in her marriage and parenting? What does she regret in her relationship with Tray? We all have regrets. How do we move past them? Do you believe that good can come from our mistakes? Discuss instances in the novel or in your own experience.