A Note to the Reader:In order to provide reading groups with the most informed and thought-provoking questions possible, it is necessary to hint at certain aspects of the plot – as well as the ending. If you have not finished reading Afterwards, we respectfully suggest that you wait before reviewing this guide.
1. What do you think of the two mother/daughter relationships?
2. How do you think Grace and Jenny’s relationship changes during the course of the story?
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3. Why do you think the author chose to have the two main characters as spirits? What did you think of this choice?
4. What made Grace run into the school to rescue Jenny? Did this same reason drive the rest of the novel? Are there people in your life for whom you would risk as much as Grace does?
5. What do you think of the relationship between Sarah and Grace? How did Grace’s feelings about her sister-in-law evolve?
6. What kind of marriage do you think Grace and Mike have? What did you think about the connection between them even though they are not able to communicate with each other?
7. Grace loses so much while she is disembodied, but she gains a deeper knowledge of those around her and is able to make difficult sacrifices. Talk about what this time as a spirit offered Grace, and what she was able to accomplish in this state.
8. There are images of water and air throughout the novel; for example Grace’s breath in Adam’s armbands keeping him afloat. Can you think of any imagery that struck a chord with you?
9. Did you guess who the arsonist was? What do you think the motive was?
10. Domestic abuse is featured in this story – is this something you were shocked by? If you were Maisie’s friend, what would you advise her to do?
11. Could the story have ended any differently?