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True Believerby Virginia Euwer Wolff
Reading Group Guide
As if the typical teenage struggles with friends, family and falling in love aren't enough for a person to handle, fifteen-year-old LaVaughn strives to rise above the poverty she is raised in, pushed along by her mother who dreams of her daughter being a success. Grateful for everything that she has, LaVaughn especially loves her room, which she refers to as "my own private territory complete with my special ceiling design." The beautiful tree and family of birds that LaVaughn painted on her ceiling on a restless, rainy day remind her of her dreams and express her talent in a slightly rebellious and private, yet beautiful way.
Written in verse as though the thoughts pour out of LaVaughn's heart and mind and onto the pages, this is a great book for reluctant young adult readers. The second book in the Make Lemonade trilogy, True Believer will keep readers' interest flowing and encourage them to read the other books in the trilogy. An emotionally honest book, readers should be prepared to think about difficult issues like religion, love, and relationships. True Believer won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2001.
Things to think about and discuss:
2. Myrtle and Annie have been best friends with LaVaughn for as long as she can remember. Now that they have joined "Cross Your Legs for Jesus," LaVaughn feels left out, yet she refuses to join their group. Why do you think LaVaughn does not want to join their club?
3. LaVaughn goes to the Grammar Build-up class after her teacher pushes her into signing up. As she gains confidence and new skills, new opportunities are opened to her, and she soon begins to dream of becoming a nurse. What does this mean for LaVaughn's future?
4. Jolly has two small children and no husband to help take care of them. LaVaughn helps Jolly by babysitting, and as a result learns that life is very difficult as a young single mother. How do you think this situation influences LaVaughn's choices? Do you think she might have made different choices if she had not met Jolly?
5. Who do you think the title refers to as a "true believer"?
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