Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Discussion Questions

Question #1 - What do you think about stereotypical characters? Do characters like "Honey bun" - the evil stepmother & Shelby - the teen acting out, bother you, or are you accepting of them?

Once, a long time ago, I was a troubled teen with an evil stepmother. It is easy to identify with a teen who feels the step-monster is out to get them…. whether she actually is or not. However, the completely spineless father and the fact that none of the characters had any characterization beyond “rich” did bother me. Also, as for acting out…. Shelby was nowhere near that. I work with 90 + kids a day who could give a better example of acting out, but then I work with gang members, druggies, biters, cutters, drama queens, princesses, nerds…. real high school kids. - She Reads

I find it hard to say characters are "stereotypical" in a book. The author wrote the character's personalities to best fit the story. Readers can relate and better understand the stereotypical characters. Besides, the story would have been totally different had the stepmother not been evil and the teen been a happy, obedient child. I don't think the characters in this particular story was a generalization of their groups. Not all stepmothers are evil, and not all teens act out. They just did in this story. So I guess I'm accepting of the characters the way they were written. - All Things Print

I think the characters seem to part of fantasy books or not even having a mother i.e. disney movies. It seems that teens do act out, but not all teens. - My Five Monkeys

It really depends on how the stock characters are used, I guess. Sometimes it's easier to use an archetype that everyone is familiar with in order to jump start a story or to keep a story moving instead of bogging it down with unnecessary details, but other times, using the stock characters can water down the story. Honey Bun is a good example of that- for someone who's so evil (at least from Shelby's point of view anyway) she does things that are ultimately in Shelby's best interest, even though Shelby doesn't feel like it at the time. - What book is that?

Teens do act out. Its in our nature as human beings expressing ourselves to rebel against the system (I sound like a punk rocker) even when that system is parents. Now depending on parents whether they be bone heads or level heads makes a huge difference on how kids are behaving acting and dealing. - Tinasbookreviews

I don't mind stereotypes. Stereotypes are usually there for a reason. If a character acts out abnormally, people can't relate to that character. What teen can't relate to a pain-in-the-butt step-mom or dad? I know when I was a teenager - way, way ago - my parents divorcing and the subsequent dating bonanza led to some pretty crazy behavior on my part. - ParaJunkee

I don't have a problem with stereotypes, eveyone knows what they mean and it immediately identifies a type of person. Unfortunately relationships with stepmothers and Shelby really exist, therefore I find it easy to accept them.

- Book Whisperer

Question #2 - How did you feel about the immediate attraction and relationship between Shelby and Austin? Do you think it worked in this story or not?

I like that there was a friendship first, but it happened too soon in my humble opinion. It worked but it seemed to missing something in Austin. I didn't feel that he was real like other book characters that I have read previously. - My Five Monkeys

Okay, this quetion addresses one of the issues I have with the book. I was really disappointed in the lack of punch when the two characters met. Just because they are teenagers doesn't mean that the awesomness of love at first sight (or attraction, whatever floats your boat) can't be powerful. There was no power in the "love at first sight" theme in this book. None. Zippo. Maybe a slight sizzling, but oh so forgettable. I wish it would have worked in the story. I think the story would have been ten times better had the attraction at first sight been more... more. - All Things Print

The nearly immediate attraction was more palatable in this story than in some other recent vamp stories I’ve read. She at least did pause and have some misgivings when she discovered what he was. It was just automatic lust…err love. - She Reads

Yes and no, I think it was a bit rushed like OK boom romance but it was also predictable we knew once Shelby got passed the fear he was going to be her dream boat! - Tinasbookreviews

This was actually one of my favorite parts of the story, and usually is one of my favorite parts of any romance or love story. I think it definitely works in this story, especially since the whole shebang is set at summer camp, where flings and romances are always cropping up all over. The brevity of the book almost necessitated a kind of whirlwind romance for this pair, and I think it worked for them. - What book is that?

Unlike in many other stories that everyone can relate there is usually a reason for the relationship to be immediate. I felt that this was really thrown at the reader, and while I like the relationship and what we know of Austin and Shelby's characters I felt it was very brash.- Book Whisperer

Personally, I didn't feel the relationship. But, I know how it is to be a hormonally challenged 15 year old. The second a boy gives you a compliment, you think you are in love. Do I think this is the lasting type of forever kind of love? Nope, didn't get that impression. In fact, I think by Austin's actions those feelings might be a bit deeper on his part - or is he just feeling indebted because he got Shelby thrown into that camp? Guilt can be a big motivator. - ParaJunkee

Question #3 - What did you think about the attempts the camp staff made to connect with Shelby? Were they at all effective? Did the staff have a point in their position on her personal life?

I didn't like the staff and felt that they were trying to do their job, but not all teens open up to a staff member. Sometimes they get things done through gardening or art. I understand that they were trying to help, but sometimes they aren't always trained in that field. - My Five Monkeys

I feel that Mr. Winters with his hippie, grandfather like gardening could have actually helped Shelby if he’d been given the chance. However, the pace of this book and the immediate consequences of Shelby being moved to the desert torture camp stopped that dead in its tracks. The other camp staff were just like all the rest of the characters – stereotypes of clueless camp counselors. - She Reads

I've never been to a so-called brat camp. I have no personal knowledge of what the counselors would be like at such a camp. But it bugged me how A. they never listened to her, and B. they only perception they had of Shelby came from her parents. What was Shelby's take on her personal life? Did she ever have a chance to speak up for herself? Nope. That always bugs me when a character has no say whatsoever.

I do have to admit though, that I did appreciate the counselor's advice about her mother and the issues involved with that. I also thought that the letter writing idea was genius. - All Things Print

If felt that Shelby was trying to piece her life back together in a situation that was not easily allowing her the space to progress. I got the impress Davis was trying to lead the reader softly into a relationship of a stepmother that was not open to having Shelby in the picture. It seemed as though the author want a terrible relationship, but wrote it lightly making it seem less. So yes, to answer the question I think she did need help, and the staff had Shelby's best interest at heart. I also feel that she progressed while at camp, and started moving in the right direction to begin moving on.

- Book Whisperer

Having had my own share of simultaneously hilarious and awkward summer camp experiences I can definitely relate to the portrayal of the counselors at the camp. Even though Shelby's at "brat camp" and is supposed to be seeing the error of her ways and all that jazz, the counselors there are usually present in some capacity at every camp, ever. With regards to their attempts to connect with Shelby, though, I think their biggest accomplishment was in helping Shelby to realize that moderation is not necessarily a bad thing, and that maybe some self reflection isn't so horrible, either. A huge part of growing up when you're a teenage is admitting that the grownups around you might have a point in their opinions, and that's definitely something that happens to Shelby over the course of her camp experience. And hey, Shelby's decisions so far had caused her nothing but problems, so maybe trying things a different way wouldn't be so bad. - What book is that?

This is actually the one area I thought the book was a bit serious, the staff did try but I think they based it off wrong perceptions. - Tinasbookreviews

I have a pathological phobia of psychoanalysis. Chew on that mister shrink! I think people are too hooked on their self-help novels and Dr. Phil. I really think people should stop listening to what other people have to say about their lives and start figuring out how to fix it themselves. The camp counselors in this novels sounded like they were working form lines off of talk show. Which is basically what these group sessions turn out to be. I believe the people in group sessions get more help from the other "victims" than from the therapist...but that is my opinion. - ParaJunkee

Question #4 - What is your opinion on parents who send their kids to reformation camps - the ones who need to be "reformed" and the ones who don't?

I hold a middle ground position on this one. I work with “at-risk” students…. otherwise known as the bad kids…the ones that actually do act out. While I don’t recommend that every student who challenges the rules and/or wants to be an individual be sent away to a camp of some kind, there are kids who need more help than their parents can give. Alternatively, I wish that parents could also be sent to camp when their kids go…. they need to work through as many issues as their kids do. Camps and other reform type programs shouldn’t be used just to get a kid out of your hair. The staff (who are actually highly trained and qualified) should be allowed to help the kids that need them. - She Reads

Is it okay for me to not have an opinion? I guess I was raised that if you have kids, they are your responsibility. Problems and all. Would I ever send my child to a brat camp? Probably not. Do I think badly of other parents when they do? No. It's their children and they can make whatever decisions regarding their upbringing that they want to. Who am I to judge? - All Things Print

If they can afford it, then I don't hold anything against them. But I won't be able to send my kids to camp like that, but then I'm not a millionaire. Maybe the reformed kids need their parents around, and not always to sent somewhere. - My Five Monkeys

WOW...don't get me started, some of these kids this is a last stop before jail or detention centers. Unfortunately though a lot of parents are lazy and don't want to deal with serious problems their children are having. - Tinasbookreviews

In real life, I do most of my work with students with special needs, some of whom experience a wide variety of behavioral and mental health issues. I can say with all seriousness that there are families out there who are truly at the end of their ropes when it comes to dealing with these issues and are looking for help from any available source. With that said, I think in real life a lot of these boot camp type places are scams, where the staff have no training or knowledge or anything that would help them with these kids. The camp that Shelby went to seemed a lot more like sleepaway therapy than anything else, so I'm not sure how helpful it would be to anyone who didn't really want help. Isn't the first step of solving a problem admitting that there is one? -What book is that?

This could be a very "touchy" subject. I have my own beliefs when it comes to raising my children, but for most if you discipline your children when they are young you don't seem to have this much trouble when older. Now there are those special occasions where life causes a hiccup in the balance, such as loss and tragedy in a childs life, in this case I do believe that a camp such as what Shelby was at could be beneficial. Lastly, as for discipline and beating the mean out of your kids, like the desert camp, they call that a Military School.

- Book Whisperer

Based on the philosphy, if you can't fix it yourself, send it off and let someone else deal with it. This may work for your malfunctioning XBOX - but for a teenager? These parents should be ashamed of themselves! - ParaJunkee

Question #5 - Do you wish there would have been a bit more mystery regarding Austin being a werewolf, letting us get to know his character first and then the big reveal?

The problem with this question is that it assumes that we were able to get to know any of the characters. I feel that Austin and Shelby received the most characterization, but are still fairly flat. I don’t think the early (if you count half-way through the book as early) reveal would affect this at all. - She Reads

Oh yes..more mystery..not telling her right within the first night/day. - My Five Monkeys

Yes, I do. The whole reveal went so quick! I practically blinked and all of the sudden he's a werewolf. There was no lead-ups, no mysterious happenings.. it was quite disappointing. I didn't even have time to wonder what he was, or ponder on why he wasn't quite acting "human". - All Things Print

Honestly? Not really. I mean, the book was a short one, and drawing it out too long would have not really been in the best interest of the story. I would definitely have appreciated getting to know Austin's character a little more, but I don't think Shelby not knowing there was something different about him would have helped with that. -What book is that?

I feel like the reader really misses out by not being able to learn more about Austin, or the fact that his character was MIA in a lot of the book. This is where I feel the length of the book, did not allow for the kind of character building necessary for an excellent book. - Book Whisperer

YES....I would have loved more Austin and less Prada.... - Tinasbookreviews

Yes, I think the author could have kept of the "who is the wolf" suspense a little bit. There was really no sidetracking at all. - ParaJunkee

Question #6 - Do you think this novel has enough momentum for a sequel? There was some hinting at the possibility (the scratch), do you think this would be a good follow-up?

I'm divided on the sequel question. One one hand, I wasn't interested enough in the characters or the story to continue on with another book. On the other hand.. I would love for Heather Davis to try again and hopefully write a better story this time. So if she does write a sequel, I might read it just to give her another chance. - All Things Print

I do think it left the door open another book, and seeing where the relationship goes from meeting at the camp. I do like to think it would be nice to see what happens to shelby and the scratch. It was nice to see that they got in trouble for kissing a couple more times.- My Five Monkeys

My first thought was that this novel felt like it belonged to a much longer story. Almost like the author and/or publishers either just divided a larger novel (one with more characterization and deeper story) into two parts. In this scenario, the first book is just set up. Maybe a sequel will give us a second half that will be more what we are looking for? - She Reads

I don't know.. Really I think the author did a good job for her first book, and I have read series that the first book was not all that, then a sequel went through the roof. Although, I can say that if there was a sequel I would definetly give it a try. - Book Whisperer

Any book can be a follow up! I hope Heather does write a sequel and "go there" on more daring and serious topics....... - Tinasbookreviews

I definitely think there's the possibility for a sequel, since there really isn't any explanation of the scratch or its implications offered at the end of the book. I don't know if there's enough left over material or unanswered questions to merit a sequel, but I can see the potential if the characters are allowed to grow and develop a little bit more. - What book is that?

I really don't feel it does. The relationship between Austin and Shelby is not something that I see deepening. I can see maybe it taking a turn (or Shelby taking a turn :) which could progress into a series. But from what I read, it doesn't scream sequel. - ParaJunkee

My Five Monkeys adds - Would I let my daughter read this book?? Yes

She Reads adds: I do wish there was more mystery in the story overall.