I run a book club. From time to time, I find it almost impossible to find good study guides/discussion questions for the books we are reading. So I thought I would share the study guides that I created myself and offer them for your use with your own book club. I do not mind if you use these, but would greatly appreciate feedback if you found them useful.
Discussion Questions for Barely Breathing by: Rebecca Donovan
1. What motivates Emma to want to move into with her mother?
2. “I knew this was going to happen. I just wanted to be wrong.” Why does Emma stay with Rachel even after her drinking problem re-emerges? Does Rachel know or care about what happened to Emma while she lived with Carol and George?
3. Why does Evan’s dad dislike Emma? Why does Emma allow that to get to her?
4. What does Jonathan see in Rachel?
5. From the very first moment that Emma and Jonathan meet, there are a lot of awkward coincidences. Did Emma really “accidently” run into Jonathan in the shower or do you think Jonathan planned it? Is Jonathan on the level?
6. Why does Emma skip class and go with Jonathan on his motorcycle?
7. Using the author’s own words, “Jonathan is a character that walked on the edge.” Is Jonathan a good guy?
8. Does what Jonathan feels for Emma amount to true love?
9. Gross factor!!! Compare Jonathan’s relationship with Rachel to his relationship with Emma.
10. What are Evan’s hang up? Is he completely innocent in this whole situation? Do you think he likes Analise?
11. “That night, when you were lying there, broken and barely breathing, I promised. I promised to always love you and that no one would ever hurt you again.” (Evan) Why does Emma confide in Jonathan instead of Evan? How does this affect her relationship with Evan? Evan wants to be a “Jonathan” for Emma. Could Evan have handled Emma’s needs better than Jonathan?
12. What did Emma write in her note to Evan’s mother?
13. Emma makes a promise to Evan’s mom: “I want to promise you that I will never do anything to hurt Evan, and I will not come between him and his family.” (Emma) Does Emma keep her promise?
14. Why does Emma leave Evan at the end?
15. Rebecca Donovan wrote the ending of Barely Breathing 5 times. In the original ending, Emma stabs Jonathan after Jonathan becomes anger and violent when Emma ultimately denies him and chooses Evan. Do you think the right ending was selected? Why or why not? How would this ending have changed the book and your perception of Emma?
16. Predictions for book three? Is Emma redeemable? Is Jonathan redeemable? Will Evan forgive? Should he?