Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
What drove Kate into an imaginary detective world? What sort of heroism does she fantasize
How was Kate influenced by her father, both before and after his death? How did his approach
to parenting compare to her grandmothers?
What makes Green Oaks so appealing to Kate? Why is it important for her to go where no one
How did you react to the shift in point of view after Kate disappeared? How did the adults
perceptions compare to hers?
How does Lisa cope with the aftermath Kates disappearance has on her brother and her
How would you characterize Kurt and Kurt Sr.? How do the differences between Kurt and his
sister, Loretta, affect their roles in the family?
Discuss Green Oaks itself and the closed factory that looms in its history. What do shopping
and stores such as Your Music bring to the community? How pervasive is mall culture in our
How did your understanding of Teresa unfold? What had the dynamics between Kate and
Teresa been like when they first met? How was Teresa affected by abuse once she reached
Ultimately, who was responsible for Kates death? Could it have been prevented?
What is evoked by the top-secret detective notebook entry that forms chapter 41 in the novel?
In what way do Kates observations in those last scenes bring her story full circle?
How would you describe the relationship between Lisas co-workers? What do their
interactions with each other and with the customers say about their personalities? Why do they
stay in their jobs? How does Lisa handle the task of disciplining the volatile Steve in chapter
25? Why did Ian string Mr. Wake along for nearly two years regarding the classical-music
cassette (chapter 31)?
Discuss the novels title and its double meanings. In what way does Kates disappearance serve
as a metaphor for the other lost souls depicted by Catherine OFlynn (including the mall
generation itself)? How did Lisa and Kurt become lost? Is their apathy indicative of their
generation as a whole?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Henry Holt and Company.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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