The Possibilities

A Novel

The Possibilities

From New York Times bestselling author Kaui Hart Hemmings comes the highly anticipated follow-up to The Descendants.

IN THE IDYLLIC SKI TOWN of Breckenridge, Colorado, Sarah St. John is reeling. Three months ago, her twenty-two-year-old son, Cully, died in an avalanche. Though single, Sarah is hardly alone in her grief. Her father, a retiree, tries to distract her with gadgets from the QVC home shopping channel. Sarah’s best friend offers life advice by venting details of her own messy divorce. Even Cully’s father reemerges, stirring more emotions and confusion than Sarah needs. Still, Sarah feels she is facing the stages of grief—the anger, the sadness, the letting go—alone.

Barely ready to face the fact she will never again hear the swoosh of her son’s ski pants, or watch him skateboard past her window, Sarah is surprised when a strange girl arrives on her doorstep. Unexpected and unexplained, she bears a secret from Cully that could change all of their lives forever.

Kaui Hart Hemmings highlights the subtle poignancies of grief and relationships in this stunning look at people faced with impossible choices in the wake of a tragedy. With the unsentimental and refreshingly wry style famous for presenting trouble in paradise in The Descendants, Hemmings in The Possibilities considers the difficult questions of what we risk to keep our loved ones close.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476725796 | 
  • May 2014
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Possibilities includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Kaui Hart Hemmings. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Three months after her son Cully was killed by an avalanche, the pain is still raw for single mom Sarah St. John. She’s taking small steps to bring herself back to life—going back to work, starting to clean out Cully’s room. But then a young girl shows up on the eve of Cully’s memorial with news that changes everything. In a whirlwind couple of days, Sarah learns there was a lot about her son that she didn’t know, and trying to move forward takes on a whole new meaning. In an authentic voice that is immediately relatable, bestselling author Kaui Hart Hemmings delivers a story about grief, relationships, and dealing with life’s curveballs that will ultimately leave you rejoicing in the possibilities.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. After her son’s death, Sarah is surprised to find out that there was a lot she didn’t know about Cully—from the fact that he was selling marijuana, to a girlfriend he never mentioned, to the close relat see more

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About the Author

Kaui Hart Hemmings
Kara Mullane

Kaui Hart Hemmings

Kaui Hart Hemmings has degrees from Colorado College and Sarah Lawrence, and she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her first novel, a New York Times bestseller, The Descendants, has been published in twenty-two other countries and is now an Oscar-winning film directed by Alexander Payne and starring George Clooney. She is also the author of a story collection House of Thieves, the novel The Possibilities and the YA novel Juniors. She lives in Hawaii.