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Caitlin practically breathes s.e.xualitya"when she and Vix are young, she is the one to introduce Vix to the pleasures of the "power" between their legs, and as a teenager, she flirts madly with every man she meets, and spins elaborate stories about her s.e.xual conquests. Later, we find out the truth behind the stories. Why do you think Caitlin makes a point of being the "s.e.xual" one? And what does it do to her friendship with Vix?

In what ways does Nathan's fate change Vix's life?

Caitlin is often a selfish friend who takes more than she gives, and yet there are many points in this novel at which Caitlin seeks support and love from Vix and is rebuffed. Do you think Vix is also a selfish friend? Why or why not?

Vix has a completely different relationship with her college friends than she has with Caitlin. How are the friendships we form in childhood different from the ones we form later in life? Are they intrinsically stronger or weaker?

With her vibrant looks and sunny personality, Caitlin seems more the star of the family than Sharkey when the siblings are young. As they grow older, though, it becomes clear that Sharkey is much more grounded than his sister, and that he will make more of himself. What is the author trying to say here?

Caitlin's and Vix's interactions with the opposite s.e.x inevitably intersect dramatically with their friendship, with betrayals on both sidesa"as teenagers, and as adultsa"with first Caitlin as the culprit, then Vix. What do you make of the fact that they are both guilty of this kind of betrayal? And what does Vix's transgression reveal about how the power dynamics between the friends have changed over the course of the novel?

When Caitlin returns to the Vineyard as an adult, in some ways the lives of the two friends have been reversed, with Caitlin taking a path that might have been expected to be Vix's. Did their respective choices surprise you, or, given what we know of the two, were they in some ways to be expected? What do you feel is truly behind the choices Caitlin makes on the Vineyard? Why isn't she able to see them through?

Each year that Caitlin spends away from Vix, she seems to become more and more separated from reality. Does Caitlin need her more st.u.r.dy, stable friend in order to function? Why is Vix able to live separately from Caitlin and not vice versa?

Would the end of the novel feel any different for you if there were more closure to Caitlin's story line? If so, why?




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