Questions for Discussion

1. Emily says that people find her job fascinating when they’re on the ground but in the air, they’re reading newspapers while she’s doing the safety demo. Do you think being a flight attendant is a glamorous or interesting job? Does your job have an image? Is it accurate?

2. Emily’s father and KC’s mother both want different things for their children than Emily and KC want for themselves. Did you ever have a different vision for your life than your parents had? How did you balance your desires with their expectations?

3. If you have children, do you think you will want different things for them?

4. Why do you think Emily’s dad wanted her to stay in Bakersfield and reconcile with Carl? Were his reasons selfish? Or based on love?

5. Although Emily and KC were rarely in the same place at the same time, how did their lives affect one another? How did seeing both of their stories affect your reading experience?

6. One of the themes of this book is what it means to be a good person. What does that mean to you? Have you ever struggled between your desires and your values?

7. Do you think Tien loved Emily? Does it matter?

8. Emily eventually came to agree with Tien, that love isn’t enough, particularly when it would cause destruction. Do you think love conquers all?

9. KC wonders if someone should tell Tien’s wife about his affair. Do you think Linh was better off knowing or might she have been happier if she had never found out? Would you want to know? Are there any factors that might change your answer to that question?

10. Emily says she wishes Tien’s wife was her mom. Why do you think she felt that way?

11. KC and Kevin have what might best be called a platonic marriage, but she doesn’t think it is that different from other marriages that have become less passionate over time. Do you think her views on marriage are bleak or realistic?

12. The characters in this book faced dramatic changes to their jobs after 9/11. How has traveling changed for you? Has your opinion of airlines and the people who work for them changed since this event?

13. The military eventually became a large presence in the lives of these characters. Has the military affected you or become more visible to you since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In what ways?