Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List

Book Questions

Cover art byWalker & Company

Cover art by
Walker & Company

When Jessica first meets Jordan, she makes assumptions about him based on his appearance. Is it wise or unwise to judge people based on their clothing? What does clothing say about a person? Do people classify themselves by the way they dress?

Jessica wants to use trickery to win back her ex-boyfriend. Jordan wants to use trickery to get his parents back together. Are you ever justified in tricking people so that they’ll do what you want them to do?

Jessica tells Jordan’s secret to her drama teacher. Why is it important to keep confidences? When is it a good idea not to keep secrets?

Jessica starts to develop feelings for Jordon, but ignores them because she’s so focused on getting Brenden back. Are our goals always good for us to achieve? How do we know when we should give up a goal?

Kate thinks everything good happens to Jessica. Don’t you just hate people like that? Okay, this isn’t a real book discussion question, but I thought I’d throw it in anyway.

The school principal wants to put on a politically correct version of West Side Story so it won’t offend anyone with its views on racism, gangs, or violence. Was this the right decision? Why do you think so? Is it ever all right to offend people? Is it possible not to offend anyone?

Jordan feels like his father chose fame and glory over love and his family. Did he? What choice does Jessica make? What would you chose?

Jordan feels like his dad will always be more popular than he is, and doesn’t like being the son of a movie star. Would you like being the child of a movie star?

Jessica went along with Jordan’s plan to strand his parents at the cabin even though she thought they’d be caught. Why did she do this? What would you do to earn forgiveness from a friend?

Why didn’t Jordan’s scheme to get his parents together work? What did soften their attitudes toward one another?

On the drive home as Jordan tells Jessica how hurt he is by his father’s actions, Jessica thinks, “Sometimes people show you wounds too big to be healed by words.” Has this ever happened to you? What do you do or say to comfort people you care about?

After reading about the play, do you think it was a failure or a success? What makes anything a failure or a success?

Book Activities

Jessica has fame and glory on her to do list. Have students create a list of goals for themselves, and then have them write about what steps they’ll need to achieve these goals. Do goals change over the years? What makes our priorities in life change?

Jessica’s drama group is trying to put on a politically correct version of West Side Story. Have students pick a nursery rhyme, folk story, something from Greek mythology, or fairy tale and then create a politically correct version of it. (Are there seven dwarves—or are there seven vertically-challenged men?) Check out James Finn Garner’s books such as Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, Politically Correct Holiday Stories, or Once Upon a More Enlightened Time and read one of these funny stories to your students.

Talk about political correctness. Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Read the first half of the opening scene of the book (where Jessica gets in the wrong car) and have the students write how they think the scene ended. Read some of their stories out loud. This is also a good time to talk to students about tone. Would the author have something horrible happen in the scene if the tone of the scene is light and funny? Find a scary scene from a book and read a little of that for comparison.