BOOK CLUB GUIDE
Did you know there was such a phenomenon as parachute kids? What dangers and challenges do they face? What would you do if there were kids like that living on your block or attending your children's schools?
Marina Lu and May-Li are two sides of the same coin—both are teenage girls from Asia who are living in the United States. Compare and contrast the lives of these two girls.
Eve Diamond meets Mark Furukawa, a youth counselor. He introduces Eve to "Pocari Sweat," a Japanese sports drink. Why is it important that Eve needs to know about this drink? What is really the issue here and what is the cultural significance of this? How does it reflect "parachute kids"?
Eve goes to the high school in the hopes of finding some students who knew Marina Lu. How does she approach the students? Is there a "technique" she uses? What does she find out?
Would you go as far as Eve to get a story? Why or why not? Why does Eve get so involved in the lives of the young people she meets?
In chapter 5, Eve meets Sgt. Vittorio Carabini. Who is he and why does Eve need to seek him out? What do we learn about the LAPD? What is established?
In a flashback we learn that Eve's brother, Matthew, died in an accident. Why is it important for us to learn this information? What connections should we draw?
In chapter 9, Eve learns how Tony and his sister live. What do we learn from that? What sort of cultural differences between Chinese and Americans are established? Is Tony more American, or is he more Chinese, or does he merely represent the mosaic fabric of Los Angeles? How? Why?
Compare Steve Zhang (Chapter 15) to Vittorio Carabini: what are some of their differences, similarities?
Mark chides Eve and tells her she only fell in love with him because she considers him "exotic." What is Eve's answer to that? And what does she mean by the "Pandora box of race"?
What do you know about INS Detention Centers? Should children and teens who enter the U.S. illegally be treated differently than adults?
What are the implications that May-li knew Marina? Why does Eve become suspicious of one of the characters when she learns this?
Denise Hamilton has said that she chose to tell this story from the perspective of a young white female reporter because she didn't feel comfortable writing from the first-person perspective of an Asian teen. And yet she delves deeply into Chinese immigrant culture, taking readers deep inside various communities. What are the challenges, pitfalls and rewards inherent in this kind of writing?
Is May-li's story typical for illegal immigrants? What does her particular fate (think also of the ending of the novel) symbolize?