Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Deadly Little Secret

Deadly Little Secret
by Laurie Faria Stolarz
About the book:
Until three months ago, everything about sixteen-year-old Camelia’s life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at an art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school Camelia’s life becomes far from ordinary.
Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend’s accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She’s reluctant to believe he’s trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead she’s inexplicably drawn to Ben… and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help—but can he be trusted? She knows he’s hiding something…but he’s not the only one with a secret. From the best selling author of Blue Is for Nightmares comes this new story of paranormal romance that’s sure to be a thrilling a chilling teen favorite.

About the author:
Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of several popular young adult novels, including Project 17 and Bleed, as well as Blue is for Nightmares, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets and Red is for Remembrance. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, please visit her web site

Discussion guide:
  1. Why do you think the author opened the book with the scene in the parking lot? What do we learn about the main character? What questions does it set up in the reader’s mind? Why do you think Ben denies his involvement?

2. Why are some chapters in an odd font? Who is speaking in those chapters? What do we learn about him or her over time? What is the most disturbing thing about this voice? How does the voice change over the course of the novel?
  1. Describe Camelia and her friends, Kimmie and Wes. How do the friends compliment each other? Who would you want for your best friend out of the three? Why?
  2. What does Camelia begin to receive in the mail? Would you be flattered or freaked out by this kind of attention? Are all secret admirers a little bit creepy? Would you want one for yourself or not? Why?
  3. Who is Matt? How was he the perfect boyfriend? Why didn’t Camelia want his particular kind of intensity? Would you date one of your guy friends or not? Can it ever end up well? Is he trying to make her jealous?
  4. Ben has a reputation for having been a part of his ex-girlfriend’s death. How do people treat him because of it? Do you this kind of gossip and cruelty is pretty typical of American high schools? Does Ben deserve it?
  5. Why is Knead such a perfect place for Camelia to work? What would be the perfect part-time job for you? Who works at Knead? How does Spencer push Camelia about her sculpture? Why does he criticize her? How do you take criticism of your own artistic endeavors?
  6. Explain how Ben and Camelia end up going out on dates despite his reputation. Would you be willing to date someone who had a violent past or not?  Do you think part of the intensity between them is the sense of danger that Camelia must feel? What creates attraction between two people?
  7. What do you think of Ben’s extra-sensory perception? Would you like to have this ability or not? Why? Find six adjectives that describe Ben.
  8. How is Ben connected to Debbie Marcus? What ends up happening to her? How does it add drama and suspense to Camelia’s own story? In the end, what happens to Debbie?
  9. Why doesn’t Camelia turn to her parents? When would you have called them in for help? Do parents tend to overreact to these types of situations? In the end, what happens? How do you think the experience will change Camelia?

Create a character map on the character who most intrigues you as a reader. Take notes on the four ways a reader gets to know a character- what they say, what they do, how others react to them and how they change over time. Be sure to list page numbers that show these details.
Laurie Faria Stolarz has an amazing ability to write dialogue that sounds like friends who have known each other for years. Try to write a scene of dialogue that sounds like your friends (without actually stealing words just out of their mouths!)

Create a playlist to listen to while reading this novel. Explain your choices in a brief journal.

Sculpture, of course with an open subject. Follow Spencer’s advice: “Search. Examine. Sculpt from the inside out, and not the other way around. Don’t be afraid to screw up along the way.” (p. 175)