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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Just Beyond the Clouds

1. Where is Cody Gunner emotionally at the start of this book? What clues lead you to that conclusion?

2. Where is Elle Dalton emotionally at the start of this book? What clues lead you to that conclusion?

3. What does Carl Joseph understand about independent living? How does he feel about reaching Goal Day?

4. Do you know anyone with Down Syndrome? What is your experience with that person, and have you ever been surprised at how much that person is capable of?

5. What do you think about independent living for people with Down Syndrome? Explain your answer.

6. How does Cody feel about Carl Joseph? What causes their relationship to be strained over the course of the story?

7. What are Cody's feelings about independent living at the beginning of the story? Why do you think he feels that way?

8. Describe how Cody's feelings change as the story develops. What causes his change of attitude about independent living for people with Down Syndrome?

9. Do Carl Joseph's feelings for Cody change during the story? Explain Carl Joseph's relationship with his brother and how it affects him.

10. How is Daisy's level of independence different from Carl Joseph's? Discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

11. Discuss Elle's former heartbreak. Has anyone you know had a similar experience? How did this heartache leave Elle feeling about herself?

12. Cody and Elle shared a few misunderstandings over the course of the story. Explore a few of those and how they could have been avoided.

13. Have you or someone you know ever experienced a troubled relationship because of a misunderstanding? Explain.

14. Carl Joseph's situation was complicated by his health issues. When have you seen health issues complicate a goal for you or someone you know? Talk about it.

15. Describe Mary Gunner's feelings about Carl Joseph. How difficult was it for her to accept the idea of independent living despite Carl Joseph's health issues?

16. How does Mary Gunner handle her fears regarding her son? How do you handle fears regarding your children or the lives of people you love?

17. Throughout the story, Elle talks about having an open hand in regards to relationships. What does this mean to you, and how can you apply it in your life?

18. In what ways is Elle a perfect match for Cody? Talk about how important it is to have like interests and passions when making a decision to start a relationship.

19. Fear posed a serious threat many times in this story. Explore those incidents. How should we respond to difficult situations?

20. Describe a time when fear threatened to prevent you or someone you know from making an important decision. How did you or that person work through the fear, and what were the end results?

Just Beyond the Clouds
by Karen Kingsbury

  • Publication Date: September 14, 2007
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Center Street
  • ISBN-10: 1599956772
  • ISBN-13: 9781599956770