Good Neighbors
    Home    Print This Page

1. Before tragedy strikes on Maple Street, Julia and Shelly have a growing friendship. Other than the circumstance of being neighbors, what do you think bonds the girls together? Discuss what they have in common.

2. A parallel friendship is that of Julia’s and Shelly’s mothers, Gertie and Rhea. How does the arc of the mothers’ friendship mirror that of their daughters’? How does it differ?

3. The suburban setting of GOOD NEIGHBORS is integral to the book itself. How does Sarah Langan describe Maple Street? What are its physical characteristics? How do these characteristics influence the neighbors who live there? Do you think this novel could have been set anywhere other than a wealthy suburb?

4. Maple Street is in the middle of two environmental crises: a heatwave and a sinkhole. Why do you think the author chose to incorporate very physical emergencies into the internal emergencies the characters experience in the novel?

5. What typically suburban, idyllic summertime activities are distorted by the sinkhole and its surrounding tragedies? Would you consider GOOD NEIGHBORS satirical?

6. Discuss the author’s choice to include book excerpts and newspaper articles throughout the book. Did you feel this was an effective storytelling technique? Did any of the characters’ fates surprise you?

7. What qualities make the Wildes good scapegoats for the problems on Maple Street? Why do the longtime residents of the street believe the rumors about the Wildes so readily?

8. Almost every resident of Maple Street hides a secret. What are the neighbors’ attitudes about keeping or revealing secrets? What does it say about their characters?

9. Was there one character or family in the neighborhood whose story most intrigued you? How did your opinions change as you learned more about them?

10. While gossip may have fueled many of the plot’s shocking events, all of the rumors and whispers stem from fear. Discuss what you think each of the main characters fears. What are the collective fears of the neighborhood? How is fear expressed on Maple Street?

11. Do you feel that Shelly receives justice by the end of the novel?


* Some questions from Reading Group Guides.


Home l About Us l Features l Contact Us l Share l Submit Book