Book Club

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1. Why did Verona Lamberti’s parents name her Verona? Does she like it?

2. What does the calendar count down to HOME FREE mean to Verona? When does she stop counting down? Why?

3. What prompts Leanne Morris to start hanging around with Verona? How does Leanne reach out to Verona? After that, how is Verona’s high school experience changed?

4. Each Transcender’s is given a supernatural power that runs counter to that person’s normal attributes. What power does each Transcender receive and why is it ironic for that particular person to have received that particular gift?

Evangelical symbols from bible coverThe Eagle? The Lion? The Angel? The Sacrificial Bull (as Alex)?

5. Good vs bad is a big theme in this story. Obviously, demon = bad and angel = good. Give specific behavioral details to explain ways these characters are good and/or bad:

  • Coach Chortov vs. Mr. Zeke
  • Leanne Morris vs Amber Claussen
  • Ben and Alex

6. Gradual change is usually manageable, but when unwanted change comes suddenly it is unsettling. The 9/11 attack abruptly changed New York City’s skyline and took the life of Verona’s Uncle Jimmy. What events in the story keep bringing this tragedy and the horror of sudden loss back into Verona’s consciousness?

7. “Life isn’t fair,” laments Verona…”but is it wrong to wish it were?” Verona wrestles with the injustice of bad things happening to good people–like Ross Georgeson, Ty Blanchard, and Mr. Zeke. How does the poem by Benjamin Malachi Franklin the female preacher recited at Ross’s funeral suggest we view the injustice of bad things happening to good people?

 

8. Verona gets contacts which changes her outward appearance. Name three ways Verona’s inside character changes through the events in this story?

ANSWERS:

1. Why did Verona Lamberti’s parents name her Verona? Does she like it? Verona’s parents, Tom Lamberti and Cheryl Newman, met in an English Lit class in college. They honeymooned in Italy and believe Verona was conceived in Verona, made famous by Shakespeare as the setting for Romeo and Juliet. At first she hates her name because what it connotes (her conception and a tragic love story) embarrasses her.  When Ben says it, she starts to like it.

2. What does the calendar count down to HOME FREE mean to Verona? When does she stop counting down? Why? The countdown is based on the number of days until Verona is a student at New York University. NYU is in New York City (HOME) and she will be FREE from her parents’ craziness.

3. What prompts Leanne Morris to start hanging around with Verona? How does Leanne reach out to Verona? After that, how is Verona’s high school experience changed? Leanne (Everybody’s Best Friend) sees Verona slumped over in her SUV and, being a compassionate person, rushes to see if she can help. She joins her at the lunch table and introduces Verona to her friends.Instead of being the invisible outsider, Verona gradually starts to feel like she’s part of a group, she belongs.

4. Each Transcender’s is given a supernatural power that runs counter to that person’s normal attributes. Luka’s Aunt May says that is so God gets the glory. What power does each Transcender receive and why is it ironic for that particular person to have received that particular gift?

The Eagle? Verona suffers from very bad myopia (can’t see distances). In addition, she is so often in her thought world, she misses things (a shirtless Justin Timberlake, jokes Luka).  Verona’s gift of acute vision predicting the future or, in some cases, uncovering the past, is opposite of her normal attributes.

The Lion? It’s ironic that petite little Leanne Morris, extremely kind and compassionate, never wants to hurt anyone and always looking to help becomes the fierce King of Beasts to stop evil.

The Angel? Angelina Jett is described as the bad girl cheerleader in the opening scene. She’s a popular party-girl, but also will fight if provoked and has no qualms about breaking rules to do what she wants. She never thinks of anyone, but herself. Using prayer and answers to prayer-divine intuition runs counter to her reputation. Angie’s character traits are direct opposites of those of an angel, whose sole purpose is to serve God.

The Sacrificial Bull (as Alex)? Throughout the book, Alex is a self-focused coward. He leaves the scene of his girlfriend’s accident. Instead of visiting her in the hospital, he hooks up with another cheerleader. He does nothing when the jocks and cheerleader’s in the lunchroom joke at Angie’s expense and finally, he agrees to help his father try to scare Verona and ends up attacking her-trying to get her to cheat on his brother. The moment of truth comes where he could continue being a self-focused wuss and get the blanket so his father can kill Verona, or protect her because he knows his brother loves her. Love wins out and his self-sacrifice at opposing his father (and getting shot), while completely his choice to make, is divinely-inspired strength and self-sacrifice.

5. Good vs bad is a big theme in this story. Obviously, demon = bad and angel = good. Give specific behavioral details to explain ways these characters are good and/or bad:

Coach Chortov vs. Mr. Zeke: Coach Chortov predominately cares about winning in an effort to push his sons to be professional football players. HIs focus is on this because he knows if he is instantly rich with the stolen ruby, the Russian mob would kill him. He believes it to be safer to appear to become gradually rich when his sons are earning professional salaries. He is willing to kill for this greedy dream. He also has a bad temper and killed the twins mother in Russia when they were babies. Mr. Zeke cares about others–he volunteered as a Boy Scout Leader for years. He comforts Angie and his mother in the hospital. He mentored Jeremiah Cleveland when his mother died, and he helped Verona come out of her shell by encouraging her to tutor Ben and visit Angie in the hospital.

Leanne Morris vs Amber Claussen: Leanne Morris is kind, forgiving, and inclusive with her friendship. Amber is jealous and exclusive–wanting to be the most popular. She wants it all. She betrays Rachel by pursuing Ben behind her back.

Ben and Alex: Alex likes to party and takes the easy way out, while Ben is more thoughtful and willing to challenge himself in school. Alex typically runs from trouble (Angie’s car accident and the cafeteria joking), Ben runs to help. Alex gets what he can from women, Ben tries to show restraint.

6. Gradual change is usually manageable, but when unwanted change comes suddenly it is unsettling. The 9/11 attack abruptly changed New York City’s skyline and took the life of Verona’s Uncle Jimmy. What events in the story keep bringing this tragedy and the horror of sudden loss back into Verona’s consciousness? The realization of the huge impact missing a leg will have on Angie’s life. Ross Georgeson’s death. Mr. Zeke’s death.

7. “Life isn’t fair,” laments Verona…”but is it wrong to wish it were?” Verona wrestles with the injustice of bad things happening to good people–like Ross Georgeson, Ty Blanchard, and Mr. Zeke. How does the poem by Benjamin Malachi Franklin the female preacher recited at Ross’s funeral suggest we view the injustice of bad things happening to good people? When we don’t understand the why of something, we should focus on God and His eternal plan, trusting that He will make everything turn out for good in the end.

8. Verona gets contacts which changes her outward appearance. Name three ways Verona’s inside character changes through the events in this story? 1. She stops wishing her life away when she stops counting the days to home free on her calendar. 2. She learns to forgive (Rachel) 3. She opens herself up to more than one friendship and ultimately love.

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