8. After Uncle Sandeep picks the girls up from the family
birthday party, Molly and Sam have a big fight.
Molly is amazed that Sam might attribute the tension in the room when
Uncle Sandeep walked in to possible prejudice from members of Molly’s
family. She says that her family would
have had the same response if any strange man had walked into the
room. Could Molly be right? Do you think Sam is over-reacting?
9. What are your first impressions of Mike? How does your opinion of him change over the
course of the novel? What do you think
Sam saw in him when they first started dating?
What changed that? Why does Mike
respond to Uncle Sandeep the way he does?
10. Balvir’s life, in many ways, could be Sam’s if
circumstances were just a little bit different.
Compare and contrast Sam’s family life with Balvir’s. What are the most obvious differences (i.e.
clothes, friends, parents, etc.)? What
might be some of the not-so-obvious differences (i.e. self-esteem, sense of
belonging to a community or family, sense of identity, etc.)?
11. In chapter four, during Lesiak’s class, many of Sam’s
classmates share their views on what happened on September eleventh. Which of these views, if any, most closely
resembles your own?
12. After having garbage and debris thrown at his car in
chapter five, Uncle Sandeep talks about not being afraid and not letting “them”
win. This strikes Sam as being funny—why
do you think this is the case?
14. At one point, Balvir says, “…what people tell you and
what’s true are two different
things.” What does she mean by
this? And why would Sam be so alarmed at
not having learned anything about the Japanese internment camps during World
1. When Sam was deciding on which college to attend after high school, she found this quote: Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.
As an exercise, take a few moments to jot down a description of who you are. How do you see yourself? What kind of person are you?
Then, have a friend, or someone who knows well, write a description of who they think you are. Compare the two descriptions. Are there any surprises? Anything you always thought that was confirmed?
2. Balvir says, “I do research. I dig. I ask questions. You learn from living with a family like mine that most of the time what people tell you and what’s true are two different things. I want to find out for myself.”
Write about one thing you always thought was "true," but turned out not to be
(or maybe wasn't as true as you thought it was) upon closer
examination. It could be something as simple as believing in Santa
Claus or the Tooth Fairy, or something more complex, like changing your
views about God and spirituality.
(or maybe wasn't as true as you thought it was) upon closer examination. It could be something as simple as believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, or something more complex, like changing your views about God and spirituality.