How It Ends
Following her stunning and critically acclaimed novels Such a Pretty Girl and Leftovers, Laura Wiess crafts a riveting and emotionally powerful tale of beauty, destruction...and love.
Seventeen-year-old Hanna has been in love with Seth for as long as she can remember, but now that she and Seth are in an actual relationship, love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seth is controlling and all they seem to do anymore is fight. If that’s what love is, Hanna doesn’t want any part of it. Besides, she has something else on her mind: graduation. But she’s been ignoring the school’s community service requirement, and now she needs to rack up some hours in a hurry.
Hanna volunteers as a caretaker for her neighbor Mrs. Schoenmaker—an elderly woman with advanced Parkinson’s whose husband can’t always be there to watch over her. While caring for Mrs. S., Hanna becomes mesmerized by an audiobook that the older woman is listening to, a love story of passion, sacrifice, and complete devotion. She’s fascinated by the idea that love like that really exists, and slowly, the story begins to change her. But what Hanna doesn’t know is that the story she’s listening to is not fiction—and that Mrs. Schoenmaker and her husband’s devotion to each other is about to reach its shattering, irrevocable conclusion....
Spellbinding, timeless, and achingly poignant, How It Ends is a story of how love ends, how it begins, and how people and events have the ability to change who we are without our even realizing it.
Reading Group Guide
Questions for Discussion
1. In the prologue we are introduced to Hanna and Mrs. Schoenmaker and learn about the history of their relationship. How does the prologue foreshadow the events of the novel and emphasize the link between Hanna and the Schoenmakers?
2. When Crystal tells Hanna Jesse’s history, Hanna is shocked at what Jesse has been through: “I never knew anybody with such a sad story before . . . I mean, I had no idea there could be so much to karate guy.” What surprises Hanna about Jesse? How does the way he looks contrast with his personality and background? How does this passage reflect a common theme in the book? How have people surprised you in your life?
3. How are Hanna’s parents a good support system for her? How does their relationship influence Hanna?
4. After the robbery at the sub shop Hanna tells her psychologist that “There’s pre-robbery Hanna and there’s post-robbery Hanna; my life is halved now. Pre-Hanna was so sure of her life, she . . . strode through it like there wa see more