Sisters Leonora and Paris Hollings haven’t had the easiest time. Their mother hops
from city to city and guy to guy, and now to Las Vegas to live with her alcoholic,
gambling husband. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer,
and Leo, who has a real future in mind: going to Stanford, becoming a doctor,
falling in love.


Then one night Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments
before they met cute physics student Max Sullivan. And outside the diner, Leo and
Max find a cryptic note from Paris—a clue—and the two find themselves following a
string of messages through Vegas and beyond. But is it really some kind of game—
or is there something darker hidden within?
Part Speak and part 13 Little Blue Envelopes, this stirring mystery explores the
lengths that sisters will go to in order to protect each other.

1. Leo observes that “Sometimes I think people do things only because they’re
afraid of not doing them” (p. 32). What do you think she means? Have you
ever done something because you were afraid of not doing it?
2. Leo wonders if it’s possible to ever really know someone, and that “maybe you
can’t. Maybe the truth is that we’re all in this alone” (p. 99). Do you agree
with her? Why or why not?
3. W 
hat were your impressions of Tommy as you read the book? How did they
change? What signs influenced your opinion of him? What signs did Leo, Paris,
and their mother see or fail to see?
4. Throughout the book Leo verbally and nonverbally tells other people not to
touch her. When she feels betrayed by Max, she says, “I let him touch me. I
trusted him” (p. 194). Why is this what hurts her the most?
5. W 
hat is it about Los Angeles and Santa Monica that makes Leo and Paris feel
safe? Why do you think Paris told Leo to go to the place where they were
6. H ow have Leo’s experiences with guys shaped her view of relationships? How
do those experiences influence her relationship with Max?
7. Leo and Paris’s mother tells them to “Watch out for each other” (p. 157), but
Leo understands her to mean watch out for Paris. Why do you think Leo and
her mother feel that Paris is the one that needs more looking after? In what
ways does Leo try to watch out for her sister? How has Paris been looking
out for Leo?
8. M 
ax tells Leo, “I’m the guy who always does the right thing. That’s just who I
am” (p. 170). In the case of Max and Ashley, is there a “right thing” to do?

9. W 
hy do you think Paris leaves Leo a string of notes and sends her on a road
trip instead of talking to her about how their stepfather has been hurting
Leo? How do you think things might have been different if both sisters had
been open and honest with each other?
10. Leo says she wants to be a doctor because “it would be like solving puzzles
every day. That I could make sick people better, take broken people and put
them back together” (p. 161). Why do you think this particular career path
appeals to her? Why do you think she likes telling people she wants to be a
11. W 
hen talking about her mother, Leo tells Max, “She’s smart, but she likes
someone to take care of her” (p. 157). Why do you think her mother feels the
need to appear helpless in order to get a man’s attention? How does her need
to be taken care of ruin her (p. 243)?
12. Leo says, “I want more good things to happen. To me. To Paris. To Max. They
can, can’t they?” (p. 184). Why do you think it is so hard for her to believe
good things can happen? Why do you think she’s convinced Max will leave
13. Leo says, “Sometimes that happens, I know. We ignore the warning signs”
(p. 207). What warning signs had the characters of the book been ignoring?
Were you able to catch any of them as you read the story? Did they lead
you to the right conclusion?
14. Leo feels she is “not pretty, not inside where it counted” (p. 209), and she
cries when Max tells her she’s beautiful (p. 256). Why do you think she feels
this way?

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