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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Everything That Follows

1. What motivates Kat to defer to Hunter and not immediately go to the police? Do you think their decision to delay is defensible? Is it ever defensible to choose self preservation over what’s morally right?

2. Much of Kat’s perception of justice is shaped by her class and lack of power, particularly relative to Hunter. Does that make her behavior more or less justifiable?

3. A major theme of this story is who gets to control the truth and whether it matters at all. Did Kyle’s mother deserve the truth about her son? Can withholding some truths be an act of kindness?

4. Sean’s deep sense of morality is admirable, but it also makes him rigid and judgmental. Do you think he made the right choice about what to do with the truth? How would you have handled it differently?

5. The setting of Martha’s Vineyard is a strong presence in this story; it’s both naturally striking and culturally unique for its mix of vacationers and year-rounders. Have you ever lived in a place where others go only to play? How do you think that dynamic might affect your feelings about home?

6. Kat’s guilt and her quest for cosmic justice drives much of her subsequent behavior. Is guilt ever a constructive force? Do you think she is absolved in the end?

7. Memory is a slippery thing in this story as Kat’s memory of the night in question --- and of Kyle --- warp and change over time. How reliable do you think her memory would have been if she told the police right away?

8. The tragic incident in this story is triggered by Kyle’s aggression toward Kat, but he never actually acts on his perceived threats --- and we’ll never know if he would have, given the chance. Is Kyle a predator? What did he deserve in that moment?

9. In many ways, this is a story about redemption. Kat wants it for herself, but she also ultimately wants it for Kyle, even though she’s ambivalent about whether or not he deserves it. Even Hunter wants it in the eyes of his father. Who deserves redemption in this story? Can we ever be truly redeemed after doing what these characters have done?

10. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, do you believe it’s possible to escape the hauntings of our past? Kat and Hunter ultimately decide that their escape has to be physical as well as mental. Have you ever been haunted by a person or a memory? How did you escape it?

Everything That Follows
by Meg Little Reilly