1. Why was Robert Washington unable to escape from the car like the others boys?
2. What sports team did Washington captain?
3. What can we assume the accident was due to?
HIT THE SHOWERS! HIT THE STREETS!
raggedy – shabby
1. Describe the tone that Andy and Rob take with each other in conversation.
2. What is “cool bottled sunshine”? (Pg. 4)
3. What, according to Rob, is the reason why Andy only scored six points in tonight’s game?
4. Andy says that “jumpin’ with Keisha is like touchin’ the sky.” (Pg. 4) What is the literary term for this kind of comparison?
5. Why does Gerald refer to Andy and Rob as “two dudes named after a couple of dead
presidents”? (Pg. 5)
6. Why does Gerald decide not to go out with Andy and Rob?
7. What will Andy have to hide from Keisha?
8. Draper never mentions who won the game. Who can we infer has won from the boys’
OH NO! IT JUST CAN’T BE!
admitted – made an inpatient
1. Who or what is “Good Sam”? (Pg. 8)
2. How do Rhonda and Keisha find out about the accident?
3. What, according to Gerald, is the first thing a girl always thinks when her boyfriend is late?
4. What can we infer from the fact that Keisha barely recognizes Rhonda’s voice when
Rhonda picks up the phone?
5. Why does Keisha conclude that Andy must be in shock?
MEMORIES OF FIRE
1. Why do you think “old white ladies” in particular always “freak out” when Andy and his
friends yell out at them from Andy’s car? (Pg. 12)
2. What was the boys’ first reaction when the car started weaving and people began honking at them?
3. Whose help did Rob scream for when he realized he was trapped in the burning car?
“DEAR LORD” 1. What is B.J. most worried about?
2. What reason does B.J. give the boys for why he abstains from drinking? What is the real reason for his abstinence?
3. Why do you think B.J. lies to his friends about his reason for not drinking?
4. What effect does B.J. think the knowledge that Rob’s death was due to drunk driving will have on the other kids?
5. Why did B.J. not insist upon driving Andy’s car?
“MY MOST FRIGHTENING MOMENT”
1. Why is a different, cursive font used for this chapter?
2. Unlike the teachers and her fellow students, Rhonda did not cry over Rob’s death. Why?
THE HAZELWOOD HERALD
unruly – uncontrollable; willful
dialects – varieties of language
1. What fault does Niafra Abundada find with American students?
2. Describe the tone of the “Editorial Comments” column.
3. How has the basketball team decided to honor Rob’s memory?
4. What is ironic about the fact that one of Coach Ripley’s star pupils died in a drunk driving accident?
pick – a kind of comb designed for black hair
1. How are Andy’s parents reacting to the accident?
2. How did Andy and Rob’s friendship begin?
3. How does the coach treat Andy after the accident?
4. In what two ways does Andy think he should have been more severely punished for the accident?
5. What crime was Andy charged with? What was his sentence?
SAD SONGS, JUICY GOSSIP
1. How does Rhonda feel about the grief counselors who came to her school?
2. According to Rhonda, what has most helped her and her fellow students to deal with their grief?
3. How has Andy’s behavior changed since the accident? What is being done about it?
4. What detail lets us know that, although Rhonda is shaken over the accident, she is also able to move on to new things and enjoy life?
5. What do we learn about Andy’s parents in this chapter?
“IF I COULD CHANGE THE WORLD”
1. What bothers Gerald the most about Band-Aids?
2. In Gerald’s view, what are five-dollar bills most frequently used to buy?
HOOPS AND DUNKS Vocabulary
psychic – one who can tell what others are thinking
1. Of Andy, the announcer says, “He’s dynamite.” (Pg. 37) What is the literary term for
this kind of comparison?
2. Whose parents were (surprisingly) at the game tonight? Whose parents were not?
3. What do the answers to the above questions make Andy think?
4. What metaphor does the coach use to describe Andy?
“HOW DO I FEEL?”
initial – first
cotillions – dances; balls
1. At first sight, what surprises Andy about the psychologist?
2. How does Andy feel about seeing a psychologist?
3. What deal does the psychologist strike with Andy?
4. Who does Andy blame for the accident?
5. What was the worst thing that happened to Andy when he returned to school?
6. Briefly sum up Andy’s feelings about his parents and the way they occupy their time.
7. What worries Andy about Monty?
8. How does Andy feel about having been made the basketball team’s new center?
GIRL PROBLEMS? 1. Why does Andy get upset with Keisha?
2. What about Andy is starting to get on Keisha’s nerves?
How is Andy doing as far as school is concerned?
FEROCIOUS FRUSTRATION Vocabulary
enhanced – heightened; improved
1. What metaphor does Andy use to describe his grades?
2. Why do the kids at school hate Marcus?
3. Which students apparently win most of the academic awards on Awards Day? Why
would it embarrass Andy to be among them?
4. What assumption did his guidance counselor make about Andy?
FEMALE FRUSTRATION 1. What depresses Andy as he walks though the mall with Keisha?
Does Keisha seem to understand and sympathize with Andy’s depression?
“HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE POETRY?”
dense – thick; difficult to understand
1. After reading Andy’s poem, look back it its title. Why is the title surprising?
2. What can we infer about Andy’s current state based on his poem?
3. What does Andy’s teacher compare poetry to?
4. Why do you think Andy decides not to turn in his poem?
5. Who is the “little man” of Keisha’s poem?
CHRISTMAS WITHOUT ROB Vocabulary
commodities – items for sale
cynical – inclined to not trust human motives; bitter
1. In both Andy’s and his psychologist’s experience, how does the way shopkeepers treat black boys differ from the way they treat white boys?
2. How did Andy and Rob toy with shopkeepers that make racist assumptions?
3. According to Andy, what did store employees assume when he and Rob left a store
4. What phenomenon did Andy’s feelings after these experiences enable him to understand?
5. What does the psychologist seem to think about Andy’s relationship with Keisha?
6. What does Andy think kept Rob’s mother from mentioning the rock this Christmas?
7. How does Andy feel about his relationship with Keisha?
“GOOD MORNING, HAZELWOOD” Vocabulary
concludes – ends
1. What has recently arrived at the school?
2. What annual event is coming up at Hazelwood High?
3. What purpose do you think this chapter serves?
BLACK ON WHITE Vocabulary
bias – prejudice; impartiality
stereotypes – preconceived ideas of what certain people are like
activists – people actively working for a cause, usually political
1. What does Keisha feel that Andy does too frequently?
2. What metaphor does Keisha use to describe herself?
3. What does the snow remind Gerald of?
4. What circumstance does Keisha find comparable to being black among (mostly) whites?
5. Andy points out that the colors black and white are frequently associated with what?
6. Why could wearing red lead to arrest and possibly death in Puritan England?
7. According to Ms. Blackwell, how do certain colors come to be associated with certain
concepts or ideas?
8. What makes Andy think of Rob all of a sudden?
9. Describe Keisha’s feelings towards Andy by the end of this chapter.
ACCEPTING FEAR – ESCAPING PAINVocabulary
eliminate – get rid of
verbalize – put into words
1. Why has Andy not spoken with Rob’s parents since Christmas?
2. What kept Andy from jumping off of the overpass?
3. What does his psychologist ask Andy to do if Andy ever feels like he cannot handle his grief?
4. What homework does Andy’s psychologist give him?
5. According to Andy’s psychologist, what is sometimes part of the grieving process?
NIGHT AND DREAM
1. What does Andy’s conversation with Monty reveal about Andy as a brother?
2. Describe the way Monty seems to feel about Andy.
3. What does Andy imagine his future will be like?
4. In Andy’s dream, what does Rob want him to do?
5. In the dream, who does Rob blame for his death?
A LETTER OF REMEMBERED JOY
1. Rather than repeatedly apologizing, what does Andy decide to do in his letter to Rob’s parents?
2. What does Andy hope that his letter will accomplish?
3. What does Andy reveal about his own family in the letter?
“OUT, OUT! BRIEF CANDLE!” Vocabulary
inevitable – unavoidable
1. What opinion do Keisha and Ms. Blackwell share about suicide?
2. Why do you think the author chose to show Ms. Blackwell’s class studying Macbeth
rather than, for example, Romeo and Juliet or A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
3. What observation does B.J. make about Macbeth’s depression?
4. We can infer that Andy abruptly leaves class for what reason?
BALONEY SANDWICHES AND BAD BREATH
1. In light of Andy’s conversations with Keisha, why is it surprising that he blows up at B.J. and Tyrone for “always talkin’ ’bout Rob”? (Pg. 111)
2. Why does B.J. nix the idea of him and Tyrone talking to Andy’s parents about their
concern for Andy?
3. Neither B.J. nor Tyrone can stand the counselor, Mrs. Thorne. What does their decision to talk to her reveal?
4. How does Mrs. Thorne respond to B.J.’s and Tyrone’s concerns?
5. How does Mrs. Thorne violate Andy’s privacy?
6. What seems to be Mrs. Thorne’s opinion on the duty she, as Andy’s school counselor, owes to Andy?
LEARNING TO LIVE
The previous chapter is set on February 4th, and this chapter is set on February 5th. Given that information, what can we assume about Andy after reading his response to the psychologist’s first question?
Why do you think Andy starts lying to his psychologist?
According to Keisha, what motivates students to come to school?
Does Keisha seem to believe that Andy will recover?
CONCERN AND DENIAL Vocabulary
discontinuing – stopping
inhibitions – hang-ups
1. Whose concern does this chapter title refer to? Whose denial does it refer to?
2. We already know that Andy’s schoolwork has been slipping. What else is troubling Ms. Blackwell about Andy?
How does Mr. Jackson rationalize Andy’s behavior?
What conclusion does Mr. Jackson make about Ms. Blackwell?
LIONS, TIGERS, AND DINOSAURS
1. Why does Monty draw blonde white people instead of black people like himself?
2. What does Monty know about Andy’s accident?
3. To whom does Monty compare his “very sad” tiger?
HIDDEN OPINIONS 1. How does the way the teacher in this chapter views the bottle rocket incident differ from the way Ms. Blackwell views it?
2. What generalization does one of the teachers in this chapter make about black kids?
3. Draper never physically describes the teachers in this chapter. How do we know that
they are not black?
What is implied by the fact that both of the teachers in this chapter hate rap music?
NEEDS AND WORRIES 1. What does Keisha know about Andy that no one else does?
2. Why is Keisha reluctant to “ease up” on her relationship with Andy even though she
would like to? (Pg. 129)
3. What question has Andy asked Keisha that may lead one to suspect that he is considering suicide?
“DO YOU? DO YOU?” and “I DO” 1. What scares Rhonda about the “real kind of love”? (Pg. 130)
2. Why do you think Draper chose to put these two chapters immediately after Keisha’s
diary entry about her relationship with Andy?
PUBLIC PLEASURE, PRIVATE PAIN Vocabulary
bombard – to attack; to pelt
1. What does Andy do at the talent show that almost gets him into trouble with Mrs. Jawes?
2. What does Keisha notice about Andy as she watches him perform?
3. What does Keisha do when Andy leaves the stage and comes over to her?
4. What idea had Andy been harboring about Keisha before their conversation in this chapter?
1. How does Andy’s mother refer to the car crash that took Rob’s life?
2. Why does Andy tell his mother the story about him almost drowning in South Carolina?
3. How does Mrs. Jackson react to and miss the point of Andy’s story?
4. In this chapter, Andy says, “I can’t deal with this by myself” for the first time. He seems to be openly asking for help. How does his mother respond? (Pg. 137)
What is Andy trying to do at the very end of the chapter?
“GIRL, LET ME TELL YOU!”
1. What does Rhonda think that Andy needs?
2. For what purpose had Keisha been going to perform in the talent show?
SLIPPING AWAY 1. Who does Andy blame for his having missed the chance to talk to the college scouts?
2. What does Andy feel that his low grades, absences, and police record will result in?
3. By the end of this chapter, what has Andy decided?
4. What do you think this chapter’s title, “Slipping Away,” refers to?
A FATHER’S DREAMS Vocabulary
1. How is the fact that basketball season has been over for a few months significant to our understanding of Mr. Jackson’s character?
2. What do we find out about Andy’s college dreams in this chapter?
3. What upset Mr. Jackson today and made him feel the need to lecture Andy?
4. What do E.J. Jackson’s initials stand for and why does he go by them instead of his proper name at the office?
5. What does Mr. Jackson think that Andy lacks?
What, in Mr. Jackson’s opinion, is necessary to succeeding in our society?
NIGHTTIME CRIES OF DESPERATION 1. The subtitle of this chapter is “Andy’s Final Phone Calls.” What does this subtitle seem to foreshadow?
2. Why is Dr. Carrothers unable to calm Andy down?
3. What does the fact that Andy chooses to make these calls tell us about Andy?
4. At this point, Robbie’s death is not what makes Andy feel the most depressed and hopeless. What is it that does?
5. Nobody is home or available when Andy tries to call. What faulty conclusion does Andy draw from this coincidence?
6. Andy says that he feels like his “soul is on ice,” a reference to Eldridge Cleaver’s book Soul on Ice. What is the literary term for this kind of reference?
“HAVE YOU SEEN ANDY?”
1. During roll call, what assumption is made about Andy’s absence?
2. What is Keisha looking forward to now that she and Andy have broken up?
3. What does Keisha think might happen if she goes to Andy’s house?
4. Although still attracted to him, Keisha firmly decides to remain separated from Andy, “at least for now.” (Pg. 162) What does this tell us about Keisha?
TIGERS HAVE IT ROUGH
1. To what does Andy attribute the fact that his father likes to hunt?
2. Why does Andy bring up his father’s three-piece suit here (and elsewhere)?
3. Draper writes, “The tiger, who might think he’s equal to all those tigers in the jungle that his mama told him about, is quickly reminded to stay in his place.” (Pg. 164). Earlier, Monty compared the crying tiger he drew to Andy. How is this tiger similar to Andy?
4. How did Andy feel during his childhood accident on the escalator?
5. Does Andy want to die? Why does he kill himself?
FACTS WITHOUT FEELINGS Vocabulary
deceased – dead
1. Who first noticed a sign that Andy might be dead? What was the sign?
Why is this chapter called “Facts Without Feelings”?
FEELINGS ON DISPLAY Vocabulary
severity – extreme extent
1. Briefly describe Tyrone’s feelings about the “suicide prevention team.”
2. How does B.J. feel about Mrs. Sweet’s response to his fear?
3. What general impression does the reader get of the suicide prevention team?
4. How does B.J. feel about the fact that Andy “left without sayin’ goodbye”? (Pg. 170)
ANGER AND PAIN 1. How has Andy’s suicide affected Tyrone’s relationship with B.J.?
2. Why is Gerald in particular so angry with Andy?
3. Why do you think the author had Marcus address his letter to “Andrew” rather than
What serious message about suicide does Rhonda’s letter serve to convey?
“LORD, PLEASE FORGIVE HIM.”
1. What has helped B.J. to cope with the pain of Rob’s death?
2. What does B.J. reveal about Andy’s feelings on death? What does the revelation tell us about Andy’s decision to kill himself?
THE TEARS OF A TIGER 1. How has Andy’s suicide affected the dynamics of his immediate family?
2. What advice has Mr. Jackson given Monty even though the same advice did not help
Andy after Rob died?
Earlier the “tiger” of the book’s title is associated with Andy. Who does Monty associate it with now?