- Who does Galen say that Queenie is going to the party with?
- What does Rain tell Queenie the next Monday at school?
- Has Rain met Spence before the day at the park?
- What does The Flash look like?
- Which camp participant never appears in the story?
- Where is Aunt Georgia proposing as a road trip for the group?
For Book Talks Or Your Journal
In this chapter’s journal entry, we get a sense of the conflict between friends Rain and Queenie over Galen. We don’t know yet that it’s more complicated than it looks at first. Why do you think Rain reacts so strongly to the news that Queenie has supposedly broken up with Galen? Is her behavior in line with the way she usually faces conflicts? If not, what does that say?
This is the first chapter in which Rain meets The Flash in person. How do these two characters seem different? What might they have in common?
What are your first impressions of Dmitri, Marie, and Spence? What about their actions, speech, or Rain’s descriptions leads you to these impressions? What do you imagine that these three characters might think about her and why?
Rewrite the scene from the point of view of one of these three characters.
reactions or lack thereof
How does Rain react when she finds out about the proposed trip to the Leech Lake Reservation? Why do you think she feels this way?
This manuscript had already been purchased by HarperCollins for publication when the tragic school shooting at Columbine High School took place.
Those engaged in the attack were associated in the news media with their dress, which involved trench coats, and related profiling triggered suspicion of many innocent high school students based on their wardrobes.
So, The Flash wearing a trench coat and the trench coat imagery associated with Columbine were a coincidence. At that point though, in light of what had happened, I considered what—if any—impact the reference in my story might have. (People often discuss what an author ‘meant’ to do in a story. They’re not always right.)
Essentially, it all came down to four possibilities:
(1) everyone would’ve forgotten about the trench coats at Columbine by the time of publication and not make the connection;
(2) the reference would be seen as distasteful or insensitive;
(3) it might be viewed as a nod how today’s generation is with faced more often with the death of a peer during their teens;
(4) because The Flash is a positive and peaceful character, it would be read as a subtle commentary on students’ dress rights.
I decided to keep in The Flash in his trench coat. My editor told me that enough time would’ve passed by the eventual publication of the book that the readers’ connection was an unlikely one. My original visual image of the character was quite strong; it was linked into his role as the outsider in this tightly knit small-town community.