Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
TEEN BOOK CLUB KIT
Elsewhere is where 15-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn 16, not 14, again. She wants to get her driver's license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she's dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn't want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?
This title is recommended for ages 9 and up.
Genre: Psychological fiction, death, future life
2006 Quill Award Winner
2005 American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults List
2005 School Library Journal Best Book
5 Copies of Elsewhere
1 Audio Book Copy of Elsewhere (6 CDs)
1 Discussion Guide. This discussion guide contains discussion questions, activities and other information to foster discussion of this book. You will also find information on starting and running a book club, and other information. You may make copies of any of these materials. Please do not write on these materials and return all pages, books, and contents of this kit.
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Elsewhere Discussion Questions
These questions have no right or wrong answers. Just think about and respond thoughtfully. Please share your own group’s discussion questions and comments by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to check the library’s teen pages at www.btpl.org for additional questions and comments from other book groups.
Questions furnished by Scholastic Publishing.
1. ‘How long does a dream have to last before it’s just life?’ (page 21). For a long time Liz is convinced that she is dreaming. When does she realise that she won’t wake up, and what makes her realise
it? How does she react when she finds out?
2· ‘In a way, it feels more like she is still alive and the only guest at the collective funeral for everyone she has ever known.’ (page 30). What do you think of this description of Liz’s reaction to watching
her own funeral?
3· How would you describe Liz’s character? How different is she from Thandi?
4· Liz is outraged at the unfairness of growing younger, being reborn and starting out as a baby all over again. Betty explains that ‘For most older people, Lizzie, this is a good thing. I imagine it isn’t quite
so appealing when one is your age.’ (page 48). What do you think she means by this? How true do you think it is and why might it be so?
5· How different is Elsewhere from Earth? Are there any improvements? Liz makes a list of the four things she most misses about Earth. What would be on your list if you found yourself in Elsewhere?
6· ‘“Dead”, Aldous says “is little more that a state of mind. Many people on Earth spend their whole lives dead”’ (page 83). What do you think Aldous means by this? What is the effect of Liz’s obsession
with the Observation Deck on her new life? What finally prompts her to let go of her old life?
7·‘Why do two people fall in love? It’s a mystery’ is the refrain which runs throughout the chapter entitled ‘A Mystery’, beginning on page 165. Why do you think Owen and Liz fall for each other? What
happens when Emily joins Owen in Elsewhere?
8· If you had been Liz would you have taken the Sneaker Clause?
9· How does life in Elsewhere change Liz? How does she find a way to forgive Amadou? How different is the way she felt about Elsewhere at the beginning from the way she feels about it on her final
10· How does Gabrielle Zevin inject humour into what could be a very sad story?
11· Why do you think Zevin chose to call her novel Elsewhere? How appropriate did you find the title and why? Could the place she describes be called ‘heaven’, ‘paradise’ or something else, and
if so what?
12· Zevin is a screenwriter as well as a novelist. Do you think that Elsewhere would make a good film and if so, why? Who would you choose to play Liz in a film version? What about the other characters?