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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Someone Knows

1. SOMEONE KNOWS begins in the present, but then moves into the past as Allie remembers her teenage years. Discuss the way that the present is informed by the past throughout the novel. How does the structure of the novel reflect the influence of the past?

2. Discuss the ways that the members of the Garvey family cope with Jill’s death. Why do you think that they express their grief so differently? Some characters in the book think that Mark’s way of grieving may have cost him his wife. Do you agree? Do you feel sympathy towards him?

3. Scottoline captures the ups and downs of adolescence perfectly in her characters. Some research shows that teenage brains work very differently from those of adults. Where do you see this in the novel? How do the voices of the teenager narrators differ from those chapters narrated by adults? Do you see Allie’s voice change over the course of SOMEONE KNOWS?

4. Why are each of the teenagers motivated to go along with the game of Russian roulette, and what do those motives reveal about them?

5. How are the four main characters each affected by guilt over Kyle’s death? What are mental and physical manifestations of guilt that follow them into adulthood?

6. The relationships between parents and children are at the heart of many of the events in SOMEONE KNOWS. Discuss the different parent/child relationships we see --- Allie and Mark, Kyle and Barb, David and Bill, and Julian and Scott --- and the ways that these relationships affect the teens as they become adults. Similarly, how do you think Sasha’s was affected by her parents’ neglect?

7. What do you think Larry’s role is as a narrator in the novel? What was it like to hear from a character who was not connected to Kyle’s death? What would you have done if your spouse or family member had kept a major secret from you, like Allie did from Larry?

8. Discuss the role of memory in SOMEONE KNOWS. How does it work for or against the characters? Is it reliable? How do the characters’ memories of the same events differ?

9. Do you believe that Allie was right to tell Barb about the true events surrounding Kyle’s death? What would you have done had you been in her place? And how would you have felt if you were Barb?

10. What role does justice play in the novel? Is justice truly achieved after Allie confesses to Barb? Consider the “City of Refuge” Barton describes. Do you believe that people can heal by admitting and sharing their guilt with others?

11. Are any of the characters in SOMEONE KNOWS truly “innocent”? What are the different factors and actions that lead to Kyle’s death? And does hiding the truth of that death make certain characters “guilty,” even if they did not fire the gun?

12. What do you imagine will happen to Larry, Allie and their child after the novel’s end? Do you think that Allie will be a “good” parent? What are the different representations of good parenting in SOMEONE KNOWS?

13. Take a look at the prologue to the novel. Do you know who is speaking? What do you think about the point made by the speaker, namely that readers don’t always apply fiction or novels to their life, or that fiction is considered less serious than nonfiction? When you read a novel in your book club, does it give you any new insight about your life? Does it confirm or negate things you thought before? What is the purpose of fiction, in your view? Scottoline herself thinks that novels build empathy, nurture the self, and connect us by the truths they contain. Do you agree or disagree?

Someone Knows
by Lisa Scottoline