For Ages: 14 - 99
The New York Times bestselling sequel to Wither reveals a world as captivating—and as treacherous—as the one Rhine left behind.

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but they’re still in danger. Outside, they find a world even more disquieting than the one they ran away from. Determined to get to Manhattan and find Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan, the two press forward, amid threats of being captured again…or worse.

The road they are on is long and perilous—and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and men die at age twenty-five, time is precious. In this sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price—now that she has more to lose than ever.
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442409088 | 
  • February 2013 | 
  • Grades 9 and up | 
  • Lexile ® HL760L
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to


by Lauren DeStefano

Guide written by Pam B. Cole, Professor of English Education & Literacy, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA

ReReading Questions

1.  Is freedom a right or privilege?

2.  Is freedom worth fighting for?

3.  To what extent will individuals go to be free? Discuss examples. 

Discussion Questions

1.  Having stolen a boat, Rhine and Gabriel are on the run. From whom are they running and why? Where are they planning to go?

2.  Describe Madame Soleski and the carnival world she rules. Why does she hold Rhine and Gabriel hostage?

3.  In what way is Rhine different from the other girls under Madame Soleski’s care? How do the other girls and boys treat Rhine and Gabriel?

4.  Who is Maddie and how does she become separated from her mother? Why is she a vital character in the story?

5.  Maddie is a young child, yet she has learned to be resourceful to survive. Cite evidence from the text to support this statement.

6.  Why does Lilac want to leave with Maddie? Does she make a good decision in attempting to leave? Explain.

7.  How do Rhine and Gabriel manage to escape from Madame Soleski? Might they have been able to escape on their own? Did they make a wise decision to run? Support your answer with evidence from the text.
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More Books from this Author

Broken Crowns
Burning Kingdoms
The Heir Apparent
Perfect Ruin

About the Author

Lauren DeStefano
© 2011 Ali Smith alismith.com

Lauren DeStefano

Lauren DeStefano is the author of The Internment Chronicles and the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden trilogy, which includes Wither, Fever, and Sever. She earned her BA in English with a concentration in creative writing from Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut. Visit her at LaurenDeStefano.com.