Book Clubs and Classrooms – Study Questions on All Is Silence

Now that ALL IS SILENCE has been out for a while, folks have started doing bookclub readings of it. In order to help out, I have created discussion questions for ALL IS SILENCE.  I found questions written for Mindy McGinnis’ awesome book, NOT A DROP TO DRINK and adapted them.

I would be very excited to visit your book club in real life if you are within Western Washington or virtually if you are not. We can meet online via Skype or Google Hangouts. If there is another venue you would like to meet virtually on, please let me know.

If you are interested in doing a book club or class study of ALL IS SILENCE or STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS, please contact me about special prices for larger quantities of the book. Every 10 books will get you a free book and free shipping. Smaller quantities will get a graduated discount.

Here are the questions. If you have questions that go deeper into the meanings of the ALL IS SILENCE or the rest of the Deserted Lands Universe, please share them below.

AIS Half-Title BastardDISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Download as word or pdf.

  1. In what ways is Lizzie forced to mature and take on adult roles? Provide examples of this.
  1. Lizzie notes that she’s always breaking promises as she decides to go outside. Does she always break her promises in the book? What are the exceptions?
  1. Lizzie’s relationships with adults are rarely positive. What about her life sets this up?
  1. Lizzie cares deeply about many things. What is important to Lizzie and why?
  1. How far in the future do you think the novel is supposed to take place? What makes you think that?
  1. What do you think is the theme of ALL IS SILENCE? Trace the theme throughout the book and provide examples.
  1. How do the teen-agers face the end of the world differently than the adults and why? How do they differ from each other? Why?
  1. One of the aspects of ALL IS SILENCE readers have questioned is the continuation of electrical based services. Talk to someone in your local area about power sources, cell towers and how long would it take to lose what services and why?
  1. The title of the novel is a reference to a rock and roll song. Which song does it reference? If you are unfamiliar with the song, once you locate it, read it. What do you think the novel has in common with the song that would cause the author to choose this title? Think critically and creatively.
  1. Each of the sections also has a rock song title. How do they connect to what happens in that third.
  1. This novel has been described as both dystopian, post-apocalyptic and apocalyptic. Which is the better definition and why?
  1. Outside of the human equation what will the effect be on other animals, domesticated and wild, as time goes by?
  1. If 95-98% of the human population dies, how long will the food last? Most apocalypses immediately assume that people will be fighting over food and valuables. This author takes the opposite approach—there is suddenly plenty of everything.
  1. What is the role of parenting in this novel, and who plays the role of parent and in what ways?
  1. Different communities have responded very differently to the crisis, from hippy-peaceful-sharing to martial law. Which way do think things would be likely to go in your local community.
  1. The author has created a subset of survivor who has been impacted, losing many of their higher reasoning skills. They are variously referred to as drones, dog-people and the simple ones. Which of these terms is most appropriate and why? What would be the best way to help these people?
  1. Are there clichéd characters or plot elements in this novel that either escape the cliché or are sunk by it?
  1. Many people consider the level of profanity excessive in ALL IS SILENCE. Do you think it is excessive, why or why not? Would it work as well if the language was tidied up?
  1. The writer who wrote ALL IS SILENCE is a forty-something male? Are there moments where the character of Lizzie does not seem to be a teen girl? Does it matter what the gender of the author is?
  1. According the American Library Association, Young Adult Literature is a term that refers to literature written for an audience of 12-25 year olds, with a median age of 18-19. Though some disparage literature labeled such, in fact much of classical literature taught in high schools and colleges has been designated for youth or even children, including books by Dickens, Twain, Austen, and even Shakespeare. Given that the target audience of books such as this novel seems to be this age group, discuss why it might especially appeal to the young adult audience or be especially relevant for your generation. Why might you also want adults of an older generation to read and consider this work?

Adapted and inspired by questions on
Mindy McGinnis’ Not a Drop to Drink.

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