By R. A. Nelson
Read the words that surround the apple on the cover and then make predictions about the relationship that will take place inside the covers. What will the characters be like? Will it be a happy ending?
Questions for Discussion:
- How does the poetry of Emily Dickinson get entwined into the story? Which poem in the book is your favorite? Why?
- Describe Mr. Mann. What kind of teacher is he? What does he do to captivate his students? Would you like to be in his class?
- Who do you think holds most of the responsibility for what happens between Carolina and Mr. Mann? Do you think the position of power that a teacher holds over a student’s life makes them ultimately responsible? Defend your answer.
- Why doesn’t Carolina tell Schuyler what’s happening? Do you think it would have made a difference if she had? What would Schuyler have done?
- Carolina tells Mr. Mann about sex “It’s just so important, you know? Who it is, why you do what you do. I think everybody’s here for a reason. We’re not supposed to waste our lives just messing around. There are too many fantastic, amazing things to do. You can’t screw it up.” Does she keep this attitude throughout the novel?
- What actions does Carolina take to get revenge on Mr. Mann? Is it really possible to take revenge on romantic relationships gone wrong? Do you think she should have told her parents or school officials what had transpired between them? Why or why not? Would you?
- What does Carolina learn by visiting the parents of both Alicia and Mr. Mann? How are they different? Does it help explain Mr. Mann’s behavior? How?
- What do Carolina and Schuyler do at the poetry reading? How else might this scene have ended? Can you ever imagine getting to the point that you would do something this drastic? How does a level-headed, career-minded, intelligent girl, act this irresponsibly?
- Do you think Mr. Mann learned his lesson or do you think he’ll have another similar experience with a student? What makes you think so?
- Predict where Nine will be next year. What will she have learned from this whole experience? Will Schuyler and Nine still be friends? Would you stay friends with Nine? Why or why not.
Study the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Find one the poems that means the most to you and write a brief journal about why you picked it.
After choosing your favorite scene in the book, find a piece of music you think would accompany it. Explain your choice.
Create a piece of art that reflects the emotions of Nine using collage. Create your own images or gather them from the internet, magazines and newspapers.