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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Ways We Hide

1. Did your impression of the child on the cover change by the novel’s end? What about the title? Describe the various meanings it holds throughout the story.

2. From the Italian Hall Disaster and its parallel tragedy at Bethnal Green Station to the efforts of MI9, Houdini, and the Dutch Resistance, plus those of the Engelandvaarders, The Ways We Hide highlights myriad stunning pieces of history. Which among them fascinated and/or surprised you most?

3. Love, loss, family, and sacrifice are major themes of the novel and the driving force behind many of Fenna’s and Arie’s actions. Did you largely agree or disagree with Fenna’s decisions? What about Arie’s?

4. Several objects throughout the story—including the toy train, buttons, and, most frequently, a ball of string—help forge lasting bonds between characters. Which item was your favorite? Likewise, which possessions in your own life carry deep sentimental value given their link to a person or relationship?

5. Were you familiar with MI9 prior to reading this book? Which gadgets did you enjoy learning about most?

6. From Fenna’s childhood, the stampede on Christmas Eve contributed significantly to shaping her life, even decades later. What childhood experience(s) most altered your own life? Were there resulting obstacles you later learned to overcome?

The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris