Reading Guide for Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton

Waiting for the Night Song

by Julie Carrick Dalton

Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton X
Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton
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Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. What were your initial theories about the secrets Cadie and Daniela share? How did your impressions of the characters shift as more revelations were uncovered? In the end, who (or what) is ultimately to blame for those layers of deception?
  2. From the mountain pine beetle to Bicknell's thrush, what did the novel help you see in the intricately interconnected worlds outside your door?
  3. In chapter ten, Cadie and Daniela take a blood oath to live by the Poachers' Code, and they agree to use the code only for good. Re-read the code and discuss the wisdom as well as the potential risks in those ten rules.
  4. In what way are Garrett, Daniela, and Cadie all outsiders in their community? What does it mean to belong in their town? How do girls and women fare there?
  5. As Cadie and Daniela created an underground library for Garrett, with references to classics like Kidnapped and The Call of the Wild, what memories did this stir for you? Which of your own favorite books would you have wanted to share with the Summer Kid?
  6. The books Cadie and Daniela deliver to Garrett do not represent a diverse range of authors. Their book selections are based on reading material that was readily available in most US libraries at that time in history. What contemporary books do you think would be on Sal's reading list? How important is it for young readers to read from a diverse list of authors, including authors who represent their own identities?
  7. What does the novel demonstrate about the power of family ties? How does Daniela's family life compare to Cadie's? How does the fracturing of a family affect Garrett? What legacies do Raúl and Dolores pass down to Sal, intentionally or not?
  8. In chapter twenty-nine, we watch Piper offer a survival-of-the-fittest theory regarding forest fires; the author tells us, "Cadie wanted to admire the purity of Piper's motives, but her naiveté was dangerous." How did you react to their debate? How does their conversation compare to the sound-bite approach to conflicts over environmentalism? What are the benefits and challenges of hashtags like #CadenceUnderFire?
  9. The budding romance between Cadie and Garrett is cut short when they are young, but they eventually have a chance to pick up where they left off. If things had ended differently, do you think those secrets would have created a bond between Cadie and Garrett? Or would the differing nature of secrets have driven them apart?
  10. Cadie and Thea take a stand and are willing to lose their jobs over federal attempts to quash their research. Yet scientific discovery relies on public funding, which is tied to the attitudes and opinions of voters. What would it take to resolve that power struggle?
  11. If you could write new legislation to protect immigrants in Raúl and Dolores's situation, what new systems would you introduce?
  12. The friendship between Daniela and Cadie is tested throughout their lives. This is sometimes exacerbated by the fact that Cadie will never be the target of racism, and she has the advantage of citizenship. Would their friendship have been the same if these differences did not exist?
  13. The novel's theme of survival is reflected in the concept of habitats and home—such as the bear trying to escape the flames, and Cadie's attachment to the rustic house of her youth. How can humans fulfill their need for shelter without putting other living creatures in jeopardy?
  14. The author wove beautiful details into the setting for Waiting for the Night Song, including Ice Age glaciers dropping chunks of granite on the forest floor. As you read the book's closing paragraph, what did you predict for the future of Cadie's world (and ours)?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Forge Books. 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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Book Jacket
Waiting for the Night Song
by Julie Carrick Dalton
A startling and timely debut about friendships forged in childhood and ruptured by the high price of secrets.
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