For Ages: 14 - 99
A toxic friendship takes a dangerous turn in this riveting novel from the author of Where It Began.

Emma is tired of being good. Always the perfect daughter to an overprotective father, she moves to Los Angeles dying to reinvent herself. This is why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her. And the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge—and she wants Emma to come with her.

And it may be more than Emma can handle.

Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, where an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop…

How many lies can you tell your father, your best friend, your boyfriend, and yourself before everything falls apart?
  • Simon Pulse | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442423251 | 
  • January 2015 | 
  • Grades 9 and up
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for

By Ann Redisch Stampler

1. The author frames her novel with nearly identical lines: “It isn’t the ending I expected.” In what ways do expectation and reality clash through the novel? How do Emma’s expectations for the future shape her present actions? Can you point to specific examples where the two contradict?

2. Emma’s life seems to be dictated by extremes: her father on one side and Siobhan on the other. What are the positives of each of those two characters’ outlooks? Can you imagine a more middle-of-the-road path for Emma in between the two poles?

3. Consider the dichotomy between fate and choice. Does Emma choose to be good or was she born to be bad?

4. Megan and Siobhan represent two sides of Emma. Do you agree with that statement? Which specific instances support why you believe it to be true or false?

5. The concept of “space”—that is, physical distance—plays an important role in how characters think and act throughout the novel. For example, think of Emma’s father moving away from his family or Dylan moving far away to college, or even times when Emma is stuck in her house away from friends. How can distance change a person’s feelings or actions?

6. How do Emma’s genes affect her? How does that conflict with how she is being raised by her father? < see more

More Books from this Author

How to Disappear
Where It Began

About the Author

Ann Redisch Stampler
Photograph by Sonya Sones

Ann Redisch Stampler

Ann Redisch Stampler is the author of the young adult novels Afterparty and Where It Began as well as half a dozen picture books. Her work has garnered an Aesop accolade, the National Jewish Book Award, Sydney Taylor honors, the Middle East Book Award, and Bank Street Best Books of the Year mentions. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband, Rick.