The Perfect Girl
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1. What advantages do Zoe’s abilities give her? Can you understand why Maria pushed her daughter musically? What responsibility do you think parents have to a child showing strong aptitude for something? What is fostering and what is pushing too hard?

2. Zoe makes a very difficult decision towards the end of THE PERFECT GIRL, one that will certainly have significant and long-lasting consequences both for herself and others. Do you think she did the right thing?  How much sympathy do you have for her?

3. To what extent do you think of Maria as a victim, or as somebody who is deliberately deceiving others?

4. What does the character of Zoe’s solicitor add to the novel?

5. What is the importance of music and its redemptive power in the novel?

6. At the end of the book both Tess and Richard seem to have an inkling that Zoe has deceived everybody but they don’t discuss this. Do you think they will talk about it eventually, and work out what might have happened and, if so, what do you think they’ll do as a result?

7. Lucas is a quiet character. How do you feel about him? Do you think he’ll thrive in his new family, or could he be in danger of ultimately remaining loyal to his father and telling the truth about what happened?

8. A number of novels deal with the burden of a deadly secret --- how well do you think this idea is handled in THE PERFECT GIRL?

9. Do you recognize some of the pressures that the family find themselves under more generally? Is that urge to keep up with others, to be a successful unit, to put on a good show familiar to you?

10. "My mother: who never talks about what really matters…" How far is this question explored in the book?

11. The ending is both satisfying for Zoe and enigmatic --- how successful do you think it is, and do you think Chris deserved what happened to him at the end?

* Some questions from Reading Group Guides.

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