A Simon Pulse Guide for Reading Groups Honey, Baby, Sweetheart By Deb Caletti About The Book Ruby McQueen has never had trouble being good-getting along with her family, doing well in school, and making good decisions. Which is why nobody is more surprised than she when bad boy Travis Becker sucks her into his world of privilege and lawlessness and she follows so willingly. But when Ruby does the unthinkable, she sets in motion a madcap multigenerational adventure, as those close to her do everything they can to save her from herself. Can one summer change what Ruby knows about true love, family, fate, and her own heart? Discussion Questions
Ruby's involvement with Travis Becker is out of character for her, but she says, "It was about the way a moment, a single moment, could change things and make you decide to try to be someone different." What does Ruby feel is her pivotal moment? Do you agree? Who else in the story has moments like the one Ruby describes?
Travis believes that Ruby is fearless, and so she becomes that way around him. How much of our personalities is defined by how others see us? Does Ruby succeed in becoming truly fearless? On what do you think Travis is basing his vision of Ruby?
In what ways are Ruby and her mother similar when it comes to romantic relationships? In what ways are they different? What do they learn about romance over the course of the summer?
Discuss Ruby's relationship with Chip Jr. What role does Chip Jr. play in her life? What role does he play within the family as a whole?
How is Joe Davis different from Ruby's father? What does he bring to the McQueen family? How do his struggles with the church sign reflect his beliefs about spirituality?
How do the members of the Casserole Queens feel about Ruby? About each other? Why does Ruby enjoy her time with them so much?
Why is it so important to the Casserole Queens that Charles and Lillian be reunited? What does each member of the group contribute to the plan? What does each member gain from the reunion?
Ruby says that, had they known Lillian had so little time left, they would have hurried their trip along. Do you think this is true? What did they gain by taking their time on the way to meet Charles? Do you think that Lillian would have wanted them to hurry?
Why is Ruby so fascinated by the paragliders? What do they represent to her? Does anything else in her life make her feel this way?
Ruby says, "I guess for one summer, just one summer...I did have passion and adventure in my life." To which events do you think she is referring? Do you think that there was any adventure in her life before this summer? Do you think she will continue to have passion and adventure in her life?
Start your own book group, like the Casserole Queens. Invite all your friends, decide how often you would like to meet, and have someone bring snacks.
The story behind Lillian and Charles's relationship inspired the Casserole Queens to strike out on their adventure. What stories are hidden in your family tree? Interview your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles about their lives. Write down this oral history and share it with other family members.
Look into volunteering at a nursing home or retirement community in your neighborhood.
Is there something in your life that you've been want- ing to learn-like Ruby and paragliding-that you could take up now? See if there's anywhere in your town you could take lessons.
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Deb Caletti is an award-winning author and National Book Award finalist. Her many books for young adults include Stay; The Nature of Jade; and Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, winner of the Washington State Book Award and the PNBA Best Book Award, and a finalist for the PEN USA Award. Her books for adults include He’s Gone and her latest release, The Secrets She Keeps. She lives with her family in Seattle.