After Maddy and Olly touched, it seemed inevitable that she wouldn’t be content with life inside the house anymore. How surprised were you that she left her house, bought plane tickets, and went to Hawaii with Olly?

Were you afraid that Grann was going to be really hurt while traveling around the jungle? Do you think the ruins Heckenberger showed him was the elusive Z that Fawcett tried to find?

Do you think that Grann will be able to discover a lost city by the end of the book? Do you have any ideas about what might have happened to Fawcett during his last journey?

The Lost City of Z is a true story of Percy Fawcett, a British explorer who traveled all over the Amazon in search of a lost civilization he called “Z,” and the modern author who tried to trace the steps of Fawcett’s mysterious final journey.

The section where Deborah and Zakariyya finally get to see their mother’s cells in the lab was really cool. I was so glad that they were able to have a positive experience with a scientist. He was so patient to explain everything, and he explained everything in terms that they could understand.

Henrietta’s family has struggled to understand how Henrietta’s cells have been used, and they felt taken advantage of by different people and groups. What did you think of the family, especially Dorothy? How do you think you would react if you were in their shoes?

Rebecca Skloot, the author, makes some efforts to connect with Henrietta’s family in this first section, but they are hesitant to meet with her. How do you think Skloot will break through their defenses and get to know more about their mother?

Ben’s meeting with It in the library was horrifying, and Beverly encounter with It at her childhood home was incredibly unsettling. Do you have any guesses as to how the group united and beat It back in 1958? Do you think they will be able to beat It once and for all now that they are adults?

In Chapter 1, Pennywise the Clown hid in a storm drain and killed Georgie. Thirty years later, a group of teenagers attack a young gay man and throw his body into a canal, where a clown grabs and eats it.

Stephen King’s It is set in a small town in Maine that is terrorized by a devil-like creature that preys on young children. It’s not for everyone, but if you enjoy horror stories and thrillers, you’ll love it.

Isn’t amazing how the dogs make a difference in the lives of many people, not just the families that they are eventually placed with? I loved learning how 4 Paws for Ability takes dogs to the prison to be trained, and how they have such a big impact on the prisoners who train them.

I think my favorite part of this chapter was the fact that the dog, Casey, helped Connor connect with kids his own age. It was so cool that when he went to the playground with Casey, kids came up and talked to him, asked him about his dog, and wanted to play with him.

In the first two chapters we meet Juke, who is trained to help a teenager named Logan who suffers from uncontrollable violent outbursts, and Barkley, who aids Ben, an autistic boy who frequently escapes from home. Were you surprised by the tasks these dogs could perform?

The Underdogs, this year’s Big Read book, highlights the work of the Xenia-based service dog academy 4 Paws For Ability. 4 Paws is particularly well-known for providing service dogs to children who usually can’t get a service animal.

What did you think when Jane accused Perry of being Saxon Banks? And after Celeste found out about Max, do you think she would have actually gone through with leaving Perry?

We learn a lot more about the characters in this section: Why Jane worries Ziggy is secretly violent, Celeste’s fears about her husband’s abuse, and Madeline’s issues with her teenage daughter.

Madeline keeps stirring the pot with Renata throughout this first section. What do you think of her? Why is she so dead-set on including Ziggy and Jane? How do you think this relates to the murder?

In Big Little Lies, an elementary school’s trivia night turns violent. We don’t know exactly what occurred that night—just that someone was murdered, and that parents were involved. There are a lot of twisting, interconnected relationships to unravel as we solve the mystery.

In the first chapter of this section, we see Cassie from the perspective of someone called a silencer—an alien or someone employed by the aliens who is hunting Cassie down. But at the end of the chapter, he runs away instead of killing Cassie. Are the invaders capable of compassion?

Cassie is by herself when we first meet her, but she wasn’t always that way. What did you think of the flashback where she explains the experience she has at the campground outside of Wright Patterson? Where do you think the bus was taking all of the kids, and why do you think they just wanted kids?

After aliens sweep through the Earth in waves, our protagonist Cassie is alone and fighting desperately to stay alive. The past couple of months have taught Cassie that she needs to fight alone, but to rescue her brother, she must trust a mysterious boy she meets after she is wounded.

This man in black seems too good to be true. He’s able to climb up that really steep mountain, he beats Inigo in a duel, and he beats Fezzik in a fight. He even bests the Sicilian. How can one man be so good at so many things?

The Princess Bride is the story of an incredibly beautiful girl named Buttercup who falls in love with a boy who is taken from her. She is forced to marry a prince, but before they can marry, she is kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen. Buttercup ends up getting rescued by a pirate, and that’s when the real fun begins.

I wasn’t alive during the space race time, so I was really interested to see all of the pressure the people at Langley were under to get a man in space. Were you surprised that getting a man into space was so important? How would you have functioned under that kind of pressure?

Katherine Goble begins working at Langley during this section, and from the beginning, we see that she is a special worker. After only working for two weeks with Dorothy, she moves to the Flight Research Division. Katherine immediately makes an impact in that division, proving her incredible intellect and insatiable curiosity.

The first person we really get to know is Dorothy Vaughan, an alumna of Wilberforce University—what a cool local connection! I couldn’t believe she was willing and able to leave for Langley at such short notice, even though it was a great opportunity to provide for her children.

Hidden Figures is the story of a group of African American women who overcame numerous obstacles to become integral parts of NASA’s early space missions. These women faced daily prejudice and worked through unfair segregation policies; however, they proved themselves to be some of the brightest mathematical minds of their generation.

This section starts with Tom getting arrested and Lucy getting taken from Isabel to be reunited with her birth mother, Hannah. I think the hardest thing for me was how confused Lucy was through this whole last section.

We can see, right from the beginning, that Isabel is going to want to keep the baby that washed up on the island. Meanwhile Tom, feeling the weight of his responsibilities as a lighthouse keeper, wants to report the baby’s arrival. How do you think it will affect the pair if they follow Isabel’s wishes instead of Tom’s?

The Light Between Oceans is the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who live on a remote island in Australia. An unexpected surprise washes up on the island, and the way the two deal with it changes the course of their lives forever.

Did you feel sorry for Jim? Eilis had a responsibility to come back to Tony, but do you think Jim felt blindsided once he realized that Eilis went back home?

In this section, Eilis falls in love. She’s slowly making a life for herself, enjoying school and her job, and then she meets Tony. What were your first impressions of him?

In the second section, Eilis arrives in Brooklyn and starts her new job. It seemed like she was going to seamlessly transition into her new life, but then she experiences a horrible bout of homesickness.

Brooklyn is the story of Eilis Lacey, a girl who leaves her small town in Ireland to travel to the United States. Just as she starts to find her place, a tragedy back in Ireland makes her question everything she has learned in the U.S.

I first read this book years ago when it first came out, and I had completely forgotten the ending, so when I re-read it this month, I was shocked.

How surprised were you when Sienna pushed Vayentha, the woman who had been chasing them, through the cloth ceiling? Do you feel like Sienna was justified to kill Vayentha, especially since we weren’t really sure who she was, who she was working for, or if she really wanted to harm them?

The first clue that sends Langdon on his journey around Florence is a Botticelli illustration for Dante’s Inferno. But while Langdon and Sienna are rushing around trying to interpret this first clue, they are also being chased.

In Inferno, Robert Langdon is a professor of symbology at Harvard who is tasked to use his knowledge of symbols to help save the world.

In this section, Mark finally makes contact with NASA—but after being alone for so long and after surviving so much, he gets annoyed with how NASA tries to tell him how to do everything.

Can you imagine being Mark, stranded in space and feeling completely and utterly alone? Mark’s journey really reinforces how terrifying space travel could be.

The Martian tells the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars after his crew endures a horrible wind storm, and his efforts to make food and stay safe while NASA plans a daring rescue mission.

From the first moment we meet Madame Mallory, we see that she has a deep sadness and fears that she will never get her third Michelin star. I think that really colors her impression of Hassan’s family.

I was on pins and needles reading about Seabiscuit’s last race. I was so nervous that something tragic was going to happen at the Santa Anita Handicap.

The most arresting parts of this section were the scenes about the bombings in London. I found those to be the most revealing about each character.

I didn’t have any knowledge of the struggles that Jamaican immigrants had in England, so I was saddened to read about the discrimination and hatred that Gilbert faced.

Small Island follows four main characters: Hortense and Gilbert, WWII-era immigrants from Jamaica, and Bernard and Queenie, their married British landlords.

This book is an in-depth look at the lives of Orville and Wilbur Wright. It’s full of historical facts about Dayton, the beginnings of flight, and life during the turn of the century.

I think the saddest thing about the end of this book is that Chris was ready to emerge from the wild but was unable to escape due to the raging river that surrounded him.

In the first eleven chapters, I found myself flip-flopping on my opinion of Heathcliff. At first, I felt sorry for him because Hindley was so mean to him. But then he turns into a monster, and I really didn’t like him at all.

As you can imagine, this book and movie garnered some controversy. The ending is incredibly sobering, so I hope that you were able to get through it all.

I feel like the birthday dinner scene was a turning point in the story. It shows how Lou and Will are growing closer, and that maybe they have deeper feelings for each other than they originally let on.

When she loses her beloved job at a bakery, Louisa struggles to find a job and really just stumbles into the job with Will. At first, he seems to be impossible to be around.

When Louisa Clark loses her job, she becomes a caretaker for Will, who is a quadriplegic. The pair get off to a rocky start, but soon learn to get along.

This last section was incredibly disturbing. Were you able to make it through until the very end, or was the book too hard to get through?

As The Receiver, Jonas is responsible for having all of the memories of the whole world transferred to him from The Giver. Would you like to receive other people’s memories, or is it enough to just have your own?

Whenever I read about the kind of scenes like the selection process in Jonas’ society, I immediately think about myself and how I would be placed. Did you try to imagine what kind of job you would like to have?

This month we’re reading The Giver, a dystopian novel in which a young boy named Jonas realizes that his perfect society is not as perfect as it seems.

The end of this month’s book deals with the production of the film version. I was interested to see all of the work that goes on before a movie can even begin filming.

This week, I thought we could watch a few video clips that show Eugene Allen talking about his life working under eight different presidents.

All of the anecdotes about Eugene Allen show him to be a generous, kind, and hardworking man. However, one story in particular really stuck with me.

This month, we’re reading about the life of Eugene Allen. Allen worked with eight different presidents as he served as a butler in the White House for thirty-four years.

After stealing a library book, foster teen Molly must perform community service. The story of the orphan train brings her closer to 91-year-old Vivian.

During community service, teen Molly bonds with 91-year-old Vivian as the woman tells the story of riding the orphan train. Join us for the 2016 Big Read!

Anthony grows up with his adoptive family, but still has questions about his birth mother. Join us to find out what happens next in this true story!

Join us to read the true story of a young Irish girl who was forced to give up her baby, and the journalist who helped her find her son 50 years later.