The following is a list of discussion starters. Be aware that some of the questions below may hint at action in the book so don’t read the list until you’ve finished DARK PARTIES.
Share your response or pose new questions by emailing Sara at sara (at) sara-grant.com. Some reader response may be posted anonymously on this web site.
- What are the central themes of DARK PARTIES? Did they resonate with you?
- How would you compare and contrast Neva and Sanna?
- How is light and dark imagery used in the story? What is the significance?
- The book starts with a party in the pitch black. Neva and Sanna want to “discover who they are without the burden of sight.” How would people identify you at a Dark Party? How much of your personal identity is tied to your physical appearance? What else makes you unique?
- Neva, Sanna and Nicoline create physical identity marks – a snowflake tattoo, an S-shaped scar and a red star. What identity mark would you give yourself? What personality traits or quirks make up your “identity”? Would friends and family have different “identifiers” for you?
- Homeland closes its border so its culture isn’t gobbled up by globalization. What is lost and gained by a global marketplace and culture?
- Neva and her classmates rebel against the government by pledging celibacy so they don’t create another homogenous generation. What does it mean to rebel? What are the big and small ways people rebel against authority?
- Neva falls in love with her best friend’s boyfriend. What is the nature of attraction? Can we control who we are attracted to?
- When Sanna catches Neva kissing Braydon, Neva says that the kiss ‘just happened’. But Neva thinks that statement is a lie. She believes nothing just happens. Neva says, “Car crashes take two people making a series of decisions that will end in a collision. Even death takes a final breath and a surrender.” Do you agree? Are we ever not responsible for our actions?
- Homeland’s citizens are growing to look more and more alike – “like living in a maze of mirrors.” The birth rate is decreasing and the death rate increasing. DARK PARTIES attests to the power of diversity. What are the benefits of a diverse society?
- Neva’s dad is the Minister of Ancient History. He not only edits Homeland’s history but also manages the daily news. Who shapes the information we receive?
- Winston Churchill said that history is written by the victors. Has our history been “shaped”? If so, how? How do we re-write our own personal history?
- When Neva receives the message from her grandma, she has a difficult decision: to stay and try to save her country or leave and save herself. If you were put in a similar position, what would you choose? Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?
- Neva risks everything to save her best friend. Neva’s parents take risks to protect their daughter. Who or what would you risk everything for? And at what point does self preservation outweigh your desire to help family, friends or a cause?
- Homeland closed itself off to people and ideas by creating a protective dome, closing its borders, and locking its citizens and others out. Some people never leave their country or explore beyond their borders. We all create personal Protectospheres. How do you limit yourself? How do others limit you – governments, parents, friends, etc.?
- Why is it the women in Homeland who lead the rebellion?
- Margaret Mead said, “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Can you think of examples in history or in the news that prove Mead’s point?
- How do you want to change the world? Your country? Your city? Your neighbourhood? Yourself?