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Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet, compulsively scratching the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does. At school, nobody sees the scratches or her pain. But when Bodee Lennox, the quiet, awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend who understands her better than anyone. He has secrets of his own and knows all about suffering in silence. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally speak up. Book Club Pick!

1. What do you think of Hayden’s reaction when Alexi tells him there’d been a sexual assault over the summer (p. 90)? Do you agree or disagree with his response? Why? 2. People deal with pain and suffering in many different ways. Why do you think Alexi harms herself in order to cope with her sadness, and why is she so reluctant to get help? How would you react to a situation like hers? 3. Do you agree with Alexi when she says the following: “No matter what, I still have this soft place inside me for good guys who do stupid things…. There’s more to me than most guys understand, and I know there’s more to him” (p. 194)? Do you think whoever did this to Alexi is a decent guy, despite doing such a horrible thing? Why or why not? 4. How do Bodee and Alexi help each other to become brave? Do you think they would have turned out the same without each other? 5. What do you think draws Alexi and Bodee to each other? Is it love, friendship, or something else? 6. Would you consider Heather and Liz to be good friends to Alexi? Do you think they could have done anything differently to help their friend in need? How about Alexi’s parents and sister? 7. Were you surprised to learn the identities of Captain Lyric and Alexi’s abuser? How did this change your perspective on each of these characters? 8. What do you think this book says about gender roles, and how do both Bodee and Alexi break out of those roles? 9. In what ways does Alexi transform from the beginning of the story to the end? 10. Describe the central themes of the novel. How does the title relate to those themes? 11. What message do you think the author is trying to convey to her readers through this story?




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