Discussion Questions

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read the book yet, you may not want to read on.

1. Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert? How does the way you interact with the world color your opinion of Nanette?

2. Reading The Bubblegum Reaper quite literally changes Nanette’s life. Have you ever had a similar reading experience? What books have forced you to reexamine your belief system?

3. What are the major themes of The Bubblegum Reaper?

4. In therapy, June asks Nanette with which Bubblegum Reaper character she most identifies. With which Bubblegum Reaper character do you most identify? Why?

5. With which Every Exquisite Thing character do you most identify? Why?

6. Nanette has intense relationships with two adult men—her teacher, Mr. Graves and author, Nigel Booker. Are these relationships healthy? Why or why not?

7. From firsthand experience, Mr. Graves knows how profoundly The Bubblegum Reaper can challenge young people. Why does he give his copy to Nanette?

8. Compare and contrast The Bubblegum Reaper’s effects on Alex and Nanette.

9. Discuss Alex’s poetry. What’s intriguing about his words? What’s alarming? What’s frustrating?

10. Does Nanette have good parents? In which ways do her parents succeed? In which ways do they fail?

11. Since Booker has “quit” publishing, it’s tempting to label him a reclusive author, and yet he seems eager to befriend young people, even opening up his home to them. He also seems quite eager to talk about literature. Booker no longer wants to publish. What does he want?

12. When Nanette begins to speak in third person and attempts to be the young woman she thinks her community wants, she is able to deceive many of her classmates, including Ned, who falls in love with a “fake version” of her. Think about Ned and Nanette’s relationship. Who is in the right and who is in the wrong? Provide examples.

13. Is it important for every single member of a class to attend proms and graduation ceremonies regardless of whether each individual enjoys such group activities? Why or why not? What percentage of students needs to benefit from participation in order to justify perpetuating those traditions?

14. Have you ever met anyone like Nanette? What was your opinion of that person?

15. Does success stem from following or breaking societal rules?

16. What do you think will happen to Nanette in the future?

Also available: Little, Brown School & Library Educator’s Guide