This reading group guide for Catch a Falling Star includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Beth K. Vogt. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
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Beneath her smart, sassy exterior, Dr. Kendall Haynes is wrestling with the reality that life isn’t turning out exactly like she imagined. But she’s not the only one facing off with this unpleasant truth. A “chance” encounter with Griffin and Ian Walker on her thirty-sixth birthday leads her down an unexpected path that slowly unearths the tenderness of her heart. Catch a Falling Star
is a story about hope in the midst of despair, honesty in the midst of pain, and courage in the midst of uncertain odds. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. What did you enjoy most about Catch a Falling Star
? Did you predict the ending?
2. As the novel opens, Kendall Haynes is celebrating her thirty-sixth birthday. What words would you use to describe Kendall in these opening scenes? If you would have met her at the restaurant where she was celebrating with friends, do you think you would have liked her? Why or why not?
3. How would you describe the relationship between Griffin and Ian Walker when we first meet them in the novel? What are some of the changes in their relationship by the end of the story?
4. One of the themes of the book is the way various people respond to disappointment and unexpected circumstances in their lives. Which character’s response most closely resembles yours? How would you describe their/your “MO” for dealing with life’s pain?
5. Have you or someone you know been part of an adoption? Did Javan’s reaction to Evie surprise you? What vulnerable desire was his anger seeking to protect?
6. How did you feel about Kendall’s initial reaction to her sister’s request to have the ruby ring their grandmother had given to Kendall? How did you feel when Kendall made her final decision about the ring? What would you have done? Why?
7. Another theme throughout the book is the relationship between siblings and how they navigate conflict. How would you describe the way Griffin and Ian handle conflict? What about Kendall and Bekah? Do you have siblings? How do you navigate conflict with each other (or with friends if you don’t have siblings)?
8. Why does Kendall love her Jeep so much? Have you had a vehicle that you especially loved?
9. What was your initial impression of Heath Parker? How would you describe his fatal flaw?
10. How do you relate to God when you are disappointed or grieving?
11. When Kendall and her friends accompanied Rachel to look for her wedding dress, Rachel’s mom shut down the process with her disapproval just as Rachel found the dress she loved. Do you relate to Rachel’s fear of displeasing her mom? How do you respond in situations where you want something different from another person you respect or love? What is the difference between selfishness and self-respect?
12. What role does Doug play in Griffin’s life? Do you think Griffin values their friendship? Describe. Do you have anyone like Doug in your life? What’s it like for you when a friend challenges your way of thinking or attitude?
13. Have you ever had a “chance encounter” that, upon reflection, you saw as God’s unexpected provision for you? How does this impact your openness to things that are not on your agenda, either for your day or your life?
14. Do you know anyone like Griffin who is the “strong and silent” type? As you got to know Griffin throughout the book, what other words would you use to describe him? What words or phrases would you like to be used to describe you?
15. How did you feel about the way the story ended? Enhance Your Book Club
1. Read the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament. At your next book club, discuss the ways that each woman in the story responds to life not turning out exactly like they had planned or hoped. Which one do you identify with the most and why?
2. If you are married, invite a single person over for a meal this week and get to know them better. If you are single, invite a family over for a meal this week and get to know them better. Reflect on the question: “What gift does my current marital state provide as I seek to grow in my capacity to love God and others?”
3. Spend some time journaling about one way life has turned out differently than you imagined and the unexpected blessings and/or disappointment you have encountered as a result. At your next book club, discuss the ways you have wrestled with God and/or experienced His care for you.
4. Think about someone within your community who may struggle with discouragement about the current circumstances of their life. Write them a note expressing gratitude for one quality you appreciate about them. A Conversation with Beth K. Vogt Having said that you would never write fiction, what was it like to complete your second novel?
The whole process of writing Catch a Falling Star
was much faster than with Wish You Were Here, my debut novel. My first novel took three years to write; Catch a Falling Star
was completed in four months. Why so quickly? Well, there was a deadline, of course. And I’d learned a lot in three years—all of which I applied to this story. I was excited to dive into Kendall’s story because it had been perking in my brain for a year or more. She was more than ready to move to center stage. What was your inspiration for writing Catch a Falling Star?
I knew that I wanted my heroine and hero to be older because I don’t believe falling in love only happens in your twenties. And then a conversation with my friend, Angela, became the catalyst for the entire story. I re-created part of that conversation in the chapter where Kendall and Rachel talk about being “single ladies of a certain age” while having dinner at a quaint mountain restaurant (which is real, by the way!). Is there a character in the book that you most identify with?
Wow. Tough question. When Kendall’s a bit snarky with Griffin? Um, I can be like that when I’m feeling the whole “I’m right, back down” attitude. I have learned that thinking “I’m right” is the wrong way to win an argument. I can tend to be black and white. But really, what I identified with the most was how Kendall, Griffin, and Evie each wrestled with the Story Question: What do you do when life doesn’t go according to plan? Everyone faces that question. Everyone. Which character was the most difficult to develop? Evie. I knew that she wasn’t a believer—and that she wasn’t going to necessarily embrace the truth of God’s grace by the end of the book. To me, that’s real life. Sharing the truth doesn’t mean that someone says, “Oh, of course! You’re right! How did I not see that?!” And I wanted her story to be realistic and just as compelling as my main characters, without slowing the story down. The experiences of singleness, adoption, and the loss of parents are prominent in the book. What led you to choose these as connection points among characters?
I write fiction—but I also write real life. So, I look at real life and then I laser in on what particular aspects of real life are going under the microscope for each novel. And those three were the ones that ended up in Catch a Falling Star
. As far as the topic of adoption, I’ve been watching a close friend walk that road for several years now. I’ve learned so much from her—the reality of adoption, how to walk life out in faith, choosing to love children unconditionally—and I wanted to weave that into this novel. What do you say to someone who is living in a season of disappointment and grief about how life has turned out?
I’ve been there. Sometimes that season is of our own making—our choices cause the disappointment, the grief. Or sometimes others’ actions hurt us and cause the grief. At one particularly tough time, I doubted God’s trustworthiness. I didn’t doubt the reality of God—just that I could trust him to take care of me. You know what? Doubting him didn’t help me at all. By shutting God out of my life, I didn’t have him to turn to when I struggled. And I didn’t have him to turn to when I had reason to celebrate. But I learned a valuable lesson that transformed my relationship with God: The moment I turned back toward God, he embraced me. Immediately. I understand his lavish grace in such a tangible way. So, what would I say? God’s in that season of disappointment and grief. You may give him the cold shoulder for a while, but he won’t turn his back on you—or lose sight of you. And, truly, he will see you through it and somehow, someway, bring good out of it. What was the hardest part of writing this story for you?
The beginning is always the hardest. I have a seed of an idea. Then I have to grow it up into an entire novel. Something with depth. With characters who are compelling. The “spark” is always exciting—but I have to ask God to breathe on it and ignite my writing into something so much more. Did you decide on the title Catch a Falling Star before, during, or after you wrote the manuscript, and how did you decide on it?
I tossed around titles while I fleshed out the story idea. By the time I sat down to write the novel, I had my title. Titles are key for me because they anchor me to my story. Why did you pick Colorado Springs as the setting for this story?
I have to go back to my debut novel to answer that question. When I wrote Wish You Were Here, I had a lot to learn. (Nonfiction writer transitioning to fiction, remember?) So, I decided to set my book in Colorado because I knew that area. Easy, right? And then I decided that I love this area and it’s a beautiful part of the country to live, so why not continue to use Colorado as the setting of my novels? Do you own a Jeep?
I would like to own a Jeep. My husband’s always talked about owning a Jeep. My youngest daughter now rides around town with me and points out “indoor” Jeeps versus “outdoor” Jeeps (hard tops versus soft tops). But, no, I don’t own a Jeep. Yet. Do you plan to write more fiction?
That’s the plan. Yes. New characters keep showing up in my head with stories to be told. What can we expect from you next?
Without giving too much away, I may move a bit north, possibly into Denver and Fort Collins and explore the whole “marry your best friend” mantra. And since I’m a twin, I’m mulling over a novel idea that involves twins.