Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Club Discussion Questions: Royally Crushed

Since the release of Royally Crushed, which includes all three books in the Valerie Winslow trilogy, I've received a number of e-mails asking me to post discussion questions for book clubs and reading groups who've selected the book.  I've also received several e-mails asking for ideas for book report topics.

First, I want to say THANK YOU for choosing Royally Crushed for your book club or book report!  Second, here are the promised questions.  Feel free to add your own in the comments.  I'd love to see what topics have captured your interest.

Book Club Discussion Questions:  Royally Crushed
1)  In an early scene in Royally Jacked, Valerie and her friends are smoking behind Wendy's.  Cigarettes come up again later in the story.  While we often see characters smoking in fiction, it's not usually in a romantic comedy meant for teens. Is it ever appropriate for teens to smoke in fiction?  Does the fact that Royally Crushed is comedy change your answer?

2)  The entire series (Royally Jacked, Spin Control, and Do-Over) is told in Valerie's point of view.  How might the story have changed if some scenes were written in Georg's point of view?

3)  It's clear in the early chapters of Royally Jacked that Val thinks of herself as open-minded; she even states that she doesn't care whether a person is gay or straight.  However, Val has obvious issues with her mother's sexuality.  Is Val as open-minded as she thinks?  Do her issues stem more from the divorce itself than from the fact her mother is gay?  Would her distrust of her mother have been any different if her mother left her father for a man?

4)  Schwerinborg is a fictional German-speaking country.  Did it seem real to you?  What about the descriptions made it seem that way?

5)  Who is the better match for Valerie in the long run, David or Georg?  Is she better off alone?  What makes you feel that way?

6)  In Spin Control, Valerie's mother and Gabrielle drop her off at a PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meeting without telling her about it first.  Was this appropriate?  Was it a valuable meeting for Valerie?  Were the situations and reactions of the others attending the meeting reflective of the real world?

7)  Royally Crushed is a lighthearted romantic comedy, yet the characters deal with some serious issues in the story (divorce, relationships, sexuality, politics, media.)  Is it appropriate for such issues to appear in a romantic comedy, or should these issues always be addressed in a serious manner?

8)  How does the media change the nature of Valerie and Georg's relationship?  Do you think they should be more open with their friends at school?

9)  How does Valerie's relationship with each of her parents grow and change over the three books?  There are times where she's confused about each of their actions, times when she's angry, and times when she appreciates them.  Are her reactions appropriate?

10)  Some of the communication between Valerie and her friends is via e-mail.  Many YA books have e-mail exchanges between characters.  Does it change the nature of the story when some interaction between characters is in person and some is online, and they can't see each other's faces?  What do you think of e-mail exchanges in fiction?

11)  The author wrote a bonus short story, Reality Check, for readers of Royally Crushed who wanted to see more of popular character Jules Jackson.  What do you think of "bonus" chapters in books?  What about the new trend of publishers posting prequels to popular series?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Good Editing = Dog Insurance

This is why I must give everything one last read before I hit send.  Abandon the laptop for even a second and THIS happens:

Tipper is the extra character queen.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Video Blog: Forgive My Fins Series, And Then Things Fall Apart

In today's video blog, I recommend two books from author Tera Lynn Childs, Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever. I also recommend Arlaina Tibensky's debut YA novel And Then Things Fall Apart.

Bonus:  I'll give away copies of all three books on October 31.  Simply leave a comment about what you're reading or what you'd like me to address in my upcoming blogs, and you'll automatically be entered to win.  Good luck!