Bestie Book Club

Chloe's Book Club is reading Keeping the Moon this July!

Welcome back to Chloe’s Book Club — a community for book lovers from Chloe Lukasiak and Girls’ Life magazine.

If you're new here, hello and welcome, book lovers! Here's how this works: Each month we read, discuss and obsess over a new book; so if you haven’t signed up already, be sure to click this link and officially join the club. We’ll email you with Chloe’s Book Club updates, reading guides, special contests and giveaways, event invitations and more.

Here's a quick list of everything you'll find inside this post (and beyond). Just remember, *major spoilers* are ahead, so look for the spoiler ratings before you read!

+ Buy the book
+ Quick-Read Recap
+ Chloe's Commentary
+ The Playlist
+ Chloe's Discussion Questions
+ Details on how to participate

The July installment of Chloe’s Book Club stars Keeping the Moon, a seaside-set story of self-acceptance, friendship and first love from Sarah Dessen. To get 15% off your copy, head over to Barnes & Noble and use the code chloereads at checkout (offer available through July 31, 2019). Or, if you're shopping in store, CLICK HERE to snag a coupon. Pssst: Be sure to share the discount with all the friends in your book club!

Ready to get started? Read on...

Spoiler level: High

In Keeping the Moon, we meet Nicole "Colie" Sparks. After shedding 45 and a half pounds thanks to her now-famous mom's internationally renowned weight-loss program, Colie is like an entirely new person. She should feel great—and she does. But Colie's school bully, Caroline Dawes, doesn't see any of that. To Caroline, Colie is just easy, worthless and a target for her and the rest of her classmates.

With Colie's mom jet-setting across Europe to promote her latest fitness venture, Colie must stay with her Aunt Mira in Colby, a seaside town in North Carolina. The 15-year-old starts the summer with the biting words of her bully swirling in her head and, because of that, she has her guard up. She's not in Colby to make friends, she tells herself. She's just there to survive.

But then Colie finds herself a job waiting tables at a local restaurant, The Last Chance, and she falls in with the two inseparable besties—Isabel and Morgan—who work there. Much to Colie's surprise, she actually likes spending time with the pair and, soon enough, all three girls are like peas in a pod. 

And then there's Norman, Mira's soft-spoken artist tenant who collects sunglasses and works in the kitchen at The Last Chance. When Norman shows interest in Colie, she brushes it off, sure that he only wants her because he thinks she's easy, just like Caroline says. But when Norman asks Colie to sit for his art-school portrait series, she realizes his intentions are real. What blossoms between them is something real and gentle...and unlike anything Colie has experienced before. 

Sarah Dessen's sparkling story is a reminder of the transformative power of summer—especially when you open your heart and believe in yourself.

Spoiler level: Medium

Hi guys, it's Chloe here!

Friendship is so important to me. I think that if you don't have good, true friends in your life, you're missing out on so much: so much love, so many laughs and so many valuable life lessons—and I'm speaking from experience. 

When I was in public school, I had a core group of friends who I adored. However, in my school, people didn't really hang out with those outside of their group. Sure, I was friendly with my classmates, and even became pretty close with two sisters, Paige and Marissa. But there was this weird, unspoken rule that you weren't allowed to hang out with anyone else besides your crew—so I stuck with them.

Rule or no rule, turns out it didn't matter all that much. When I left public school in the middle of eighth grade, I lost touch with mostly everyone. To be honest, that was an upsetting thing for me. I worked so hard to build friendships and they just ended up fading away.

But all of that changed last spring when I randomly bumped into Paige and Marissa at Los Angeles International Airport. I was walking to my terminal, about to board my flight to Pittsburgh, when I ran into them. During that chance encounter, we discovered we were taking the SATs on the same day, and we decided then that we'd grab lunch after the test. Truth be told, lunch was slightly awkward as we found our footing and got newly acquainted with who each of us had grown into over the years. But once we got past all that, we were completely comfortable and at ease.

Since then, the three of us have become inseparable. We spent most of last summer together lazing by the pool, having scary movie nights and playing basketball. I even attended their homecoming dance with them and their entire friend group.

Reuniting last summer was such an unexpected thing, but I'm so glad it happened. I know that I can tell Paige and Marissa anything and be totally silly around them with no judgment. I can't help but notice how similar that whole situation is to what happened to Colie in Keeping the Moon. Colie met Morgan and Isabel by chance, and her friendship with them changed her life for the better: Through it, she was able to see herself more clearly and finally put her guard down.

Obviously Keeping the Moon is an amazing beach read, but I have a feeling I'll be bringing it with me when I head to school at Pepperdine University in the spring. That way, when I'm not with Paige and Marissa (who are actually attending college not far from me!), I'll have a physical reminder of how beautiful life is with great friends by your side.

Spoiler level: Low

There are tons of things to love about Keeping the Moon. But what we heart the most? Immediately after reading it, it made us want to blast early 2000s bangers (and a few current ones, ofc) as we cruise down the highway.

It'll have the same effect on you, no doubt. So once you've finished ruminating in the friendship feels of Colie, Morgan and Isabel and swooning over the sweetness of Colie and Norman, hop in the car with your best babes, roll down the windows and press play.

 Spoiler level: High

1. In the beginning of the novel, Colie is thrust into an environment she is not familiar with. At first, she is not happy. However, by the end of the novel, Colie is glad to have spent the summer in Colby. Have you ever been thrown suddenly into an unfamiliar environment? How did you handle it? Once the unfamiliar was said and done, were you happy to have had the experience? Why or why not? What did you learn? 

2. On page 80, Colie is bullied by Caroline Dawes. Colie does not retaliate. Instead, she just listens as Caroline talks badly about her and calls her names. Have you ever found yourself in this situation? If so, how did you react? Do you wish you'd reacted differently? Why or why not?

3. On page 106, Norman gives Colie a pair of sunglasses he picked up because he "thought of her" when he saw them. Outwardly, Colie brushed off the clearly romantic gesture as something friendly and kind. Inside, though, she was excited to have received the gift. What do you think Colie should have done in this situation? What would you have done here: showed your true feelings or played it cool like Colie? Why?

4. On page 112, Colie pops into Norman's room and finds him asleep. She can't help but marvel at how vulnerable he looks. Later on, when Colie is sitting for Norman's portrait, the two share truths that make each of them even more vulnerable. What does it mean to you to be vulnerable? What do you think is the value of being vulnerable?

5. Throughout the novel, Colie constantly feels that she is not worthy of anyone's time or attention simply because of the things her classmate has said about her. By the end of the novel, Colie realizes that her bully's words really don't hold any power. Why do you think it was so easy for Colie to internalize what Caroline is saying about her, even though deep down she knows it's not true? What or who do you think caused Colie to see that she is actually worthy?


So you've read the book and you're ready to talk all things Keeping the Moon? Wondering *exactly* how Chloe’s Book Club works and what it means to be a member? There are so many ways you can get involved—whether it’s solo, on social media or with your whole squad. Here's a quick list…
+ SOLO. Take your personal reading game to the next level by using Chloe's discussion questions as a guide for your own journaling and personal reflection. If you love to read, it could be fun to start a special book diary where you keep track of all your favorite novels—and the personal musings they inspired.
+ ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Share your thoughts on Keeping the Moon using the hashtag #chloesbookclub and on Twitter and Instagram. (Just remember: You have to have a public account for us to be able to see and respond to your posts!)
+ WITH YOUR SQUAD. Host an IRL book club party, of course! Check out the playlist for music ideas and Chloe's discussion questions for convo starters — then be sure to tag us in your snaps so we can share them.

by Chloe Lukasiak and Chloe's Book Club | 7/2/2019