BOOK CLUBS ARE THE BEST KIND OF CLUBS. (This is obvious, I know, but it had to be said.) Truly, the only thing better than reading a new book is sharing it with your friends. I have been so honored and delighted by all the book clubs that have reached out to me about The Thousandth Floor! Please keep sending your pictures (and your glittery decorations, and your themed cocktail recipes!)
Several of you asked for a Reader’s Group Guide to help prompt your book club conversations, so I teamed up with my fabulous team at HarperCollins to make the series of questions below. (If your book club is anything like mine, the main point of the questions is to keep you from wandering too far off topic ;)) I hope you guys enjoy! Happy book-clubbing!
Discussion Questions for The Thousandth Floor
- Why do you think Katharine McGee chose these five characters to narrate, rather than other characters such as Atlas, Cord, or Mariel? How do you think the perspectives of our five narrators change the way we readers perceive the other characters?
- In the prologue, the girl who falls thinks “only of the past few hours, the path she’d taken that ended here. If only she hadn’t talked to him. If only she hadn’t been so foolish. If only she hadn’t gone up there in the first place” (2). How did your interpretation of those sentences change over the course of the book? Were you surprised by the ending? Why, or why not?
- Standing alone on the roof, Avery thinks about the Tower: “beneath her bare feet was the biggest structure on earth, a whole world unto itself. How strange that there were millions of people below her at this very moment, eating, sleeping, dreaming, touching” (7). Later, at church with Mariel, Eris feels connected to the strangers around her in a way that surprises her. Considering these two moments, do you think that living in a thousand-story supertower would be exciting, or anonymous and lonely?
- Avery tells us that “her mother was achingly self-conscious about the way she looked. It was the whole reason she’d insisted they pay so much, to ensure that Avery would never have to worry about it” (252). Yet Avery hates when people compliment her beauty. Do you think she would be happier if she looked “normal”? How has Avery’s custom-ordered beauty affected her relationship with her parents? With her friends?
- Thinking about her history with Atlas, Leda says that “the longer she kept it to herself, the more of a secret it became” (20). Do you think this is a universal truth of secrets, that they become more powerful the longer you keep them? Is it true of the other secrets in the novel?
- When we first meet Eris, she’s stealing her mom’s earrings and running late to a party where she kisses Cord in a closet. Three months later, she’s “not in the mood” for a party, and running after Rylin on Cord’s behalf (417). How does Eris change over the course of the novel? What do you think sparks those changes?
- Rylin and Cord come from very different backgrounds, but they both lost their parents. What do you think caused them to fall for each other in spite of their differences? What would it take for them to work things out?
- How different is the futuristic technology in the book—Hyperloop trains, hoverboards, computerized contact lenses—from technology today? What do you think the author is trying to say about society’s reliance on technology?
- Watt guesses a girl’s drink at the bar and is accused of “cheating somehow” (43). Later, Nadia helps him fill in the answers to a history test at school. Do you think that the way Watt uses Nadia qualifies as “cheating”? If you could install a quantum computer in your head, would you?
- Consider the proverb “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” The novel features various types of families, from Rylin’s deceased and absent parents to Leda’s overbearing ones, to the revelation that Leda’s and Eris’s families are actually linked. Do you think that the friendships in the novel are more stable and reliable than the families? What about Avery’s friendship with Leda?
- Dreams recur throughout the novel: Avery dreams of Atlas, Rylin and Cord both dream that their parents are still alive, and Leda is haunted by nightmares. Eris uses a machine called the Dreamweaver to choose precisely what she will dream about, the way that you might order an on-demand movie. What do you think all of this says about the line between dreams and reality? If you could select your dreams, what would you choose to dream about?
- Do you think Leda is to blame for the events at the end of the novel, or is she the victim of terrible circumstances?
- What do you predict will happen to all of the characters in the next book?