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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Count to Ten

1. On nature vs. nurture:
What is the essence of the “nature vs. nurture” debate?
In CTT, many of the characters have differing opinions on this question, specifically Mia, Reed, Dr. Westphalen, Olivia Sutherland, and the killer himself.

a. What are their opinions?
b. Are they right or wrong?
c. What do you think?

Do you believe upbringing should be a factor in dealing with offenders – those who break society’s laws? If so, how? If not, why not and what should be the factor(s) in determining punishment?

What are other movies or books that deal with this debate?

2. On surviving abuse: Many of CTT’s characters have endured abuse during some period of their lives.

Which characters have lived through abuse, and what was the nature of their experience?

How did they survive?

How were their lives impacted?
a. Physically
b. Emotionally

These characters make very different life choices. What are they? Are they realistic?

3. On "good" vs. "bad": Reed and Mia have radically different views of good people vs. bad people.
What are those views?
Who is right?
Can they both be right? Why or why not?

4. On sacrifice: Many of the characters in CTT sacrifice for one another or for society in general, specifically Mia, Kelsey, and Olivia.
What is the nature of their sacrifice?
What was lost or gained by each sacrifice?
What would you have done in a similar situation?

5. On dealing with grief: Many of the characters in CTT are dealing with grief – Mia, Reed, Beth, Olivia.

In what ways do they deal with their grief?

Are these ways positive?

6. Of living in the shadow of another: Both Mia and Beth are living in the shadow of others.

In whose shadow are they living?

How do they deal with this?

Have you ever felt as if you lived in the shadow of someone else? Why was this? How did you feel? What did you do?

7. On the poem "casper": The poem is printed in its entirety on page 552.

What did you think of the poem?

Have you ever felt that sometimes you just deserved better?

What did you do?

8. On watching your children grow up: Reed is watching Beth grow up.

How does this make him feel?

How does he handle these feelings?

Does he do the right things?

9. On foster care:

Was the portrayal of foster care balanced?

Do you have any experience with foster care?

What are its benefits and risks?

10. Fun stuff!

If COUNT TO TEN were made into a movie, who should play the lead parts of Mia and Reed?

Could it have ended any other way? What might have been an alternate ending?

What should happen to the secondary characters? Who should get his or her own book next?

Count to Ten
by Karen Rose

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2007
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446616907
  • ISBN-13: 9780446616904