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Discussion Guide (PDF) and Book Club Questions for Only If You’re Lucky by Stacy Willingham

only if you are lucky book club questions

Book club questions for Only If You’re Lucky by Stacy Willingham explore the themes of friendship, loyalty, envy, and betrayal as the story unfolds around the mysterious disappearance of Lucy Sharpe and the brutal murder of a fraternity boy.

This is a haunting thriller, with twists you probably won’t see coming. We know from the start that Lucy is missing and Levi is dead. There’s a lot of binge drinking, pill taking, weed smoking, hangovers and blacked out memories happening every weekend — circumstances that can easily develop bad consequences.

Only If You’re Lucky by Stacy Willingham
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What happened to Levi and the missing Lucy and how are all the other roommates involved? Will more be revealed about Eliza’s accident?

So much to discuss about!

About the Author | Book Club Questions | Discussion Guide

Additional Recommendations

About the Story

Only If You’re Lucky follows Margot, a shy and careful girl who, at the end of her freshman year at a liberal arts college, befriends Lucy Sharpe, a bold and magnetic personality. Lucy invites Margot to live with her and two other girls in an off-campus house.

As the girls become deeply intertwined, Margot starts to break out of her shell. However, the plot takes a dark turn when a fraternity boy is murdered, and Lucy goes missing without a trace.

About the Author

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Stacy Willingham is the bestselling author of A Flicker in the Dark, All the Dangerous Things and Only If You’re Lucky.

Her debut novel, A Flicker in the Dark, was a 2022 finalist for the Book of the Year award, Goodreads Choice Best Debut award, and more. Her work has been translated in more than thirty languages.

Before turning to fiction, she was a copywriter and brand strategist for various marketing agencies. She earned B.A. in magazine journalism and M.F.A. in writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

She currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband, Britt, and Labradoodle, Mako.

Book Club Questions for Only If You’re Lucky

  1. The story revolves around the friendships of Margot, Lucy, Sloane, and Nicole. How did the dynamics among these friends evolve throughout the novel? Were their friendships healthy or toxic?
  2. How did Margot’s character evolve from the beginning of the story to the end? In what ways did her past, especially the loss of her best friend Eliza, influence her choices and actions?
  3. How does the opening epigraph, “If I ever read Satan’s signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend —Robert Louis Stevenson,” establish the novel’s tone and connection to the friend group? What implications does it have for the characters, particularly Lucy?
  4. Margot talks about grief changing everything, not just you. How do you see grief weaving into the story? Can you spot other instances of loss and grief affecting the characters?
  5. Comparing Lucy and Margot’s friendship with that of Eliza and Margot – what parallels do you see? How do Lucy and Eliza impact Margot differently?
  6. True identity versus perceived identity – thoughts? How do the characters grapple with these concepts?
  7. Lucy is described as larger than life, magnetic, and dangerous. How did Lucy’s personality impact the other characters, especially Margot? Discuss the power dynamics within the group.
  8. What do you think about the dynamics of female friendships and the concept of the “mean girl” in the novel? How did the author portray these dynamics, and do you think it reflects real-life experiences?
  9. The book explores themes of envy and betrayal. In what instances do these themes manifest in the characters’ actions and decisions? How do these themes contribute to the overall suspense of the story?
  10. The novel uses a dual timeline, alternating between “Before” and “After” Lucy’s disappearance. How did this narrative structure enhance or hinder the storytelling? Did it contribute to the suspense?
  11. How did the author incorporate mystery and thriller elements into the narrative? Were you able to predict the twists and turns, or were there surprises that caught you off guard?
  12. Discuss the motivations of Margot and Lucy. How do their past experiences shape their choices, and do you empathize with their motivations?
  13. Let’s dive into Margot’s memories with Eliza – how do they shape her college identity, and maybe her decisions too?
  14. Margot gets called “malleable.” Do you think that fits? How does her identity ebb and flow as the story unfolds?
  15. What are your thoughts on the friend group dynamics? How do the girls stand out from each other, and where do you spot the similarities?
  16. Lucy’s labeled as mysterious and enigmatic – what’s your take on her? Love her, hate her?
  17. How do the characters navigate trust issues among themselves? What role does trust play in their relationships?
  18. Lucy’s betrayals are no secret to Margot. Why do you think Margot sticks around? What’s the deal with trust and loyalty in friendships?
  19. Lucy says pledges are “desperate to belong.” Does that desperation show in Margot or Lucy? How does the theme of belonging play out?
  20. The nods to Jekyll and Hyde – any connections you see with the characters? What vibes from that story pop up in this one?
  21. Discuss the role of the college and dark academic atmosphere at Rutledge in amplifying suspense. How does the setting contribute to the overall tension in the story?
  22. Examine Lucy’s fascination with stars, including those on her necklace, ceiling, phone, and the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” What do the stars symbolize for Lucy, and how do they connect to the characters, particularly Eliza?
  23. Some readers mentioned that this book felt different from Stacy Willingham’s previous works. If you’ve read her other books, how does “Only If You’re Lucky” compare in terms of style, pacing, and overall impact?
  24. Without giving away spoilers, discuss your thoughts on the ending. Did the resolution satisfy you, or were there lingering questions or surprises that left an impact?

Additional Recommendations

The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins
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When Ruby McTavish Callahan Woodward Miller Kenmore dies, she’s not only North Carolina’s richest woman, she’s also its most notorious. The victim of a famous kidnapping as a child and a widow four times over, Ruby ruled the tiny town of Tavistock from Ashby House, her family’s estate high in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

But in the aftermath of her death, her adopted son, Camden, wants little to do with the house or the money―and even less to do with the surviving McTavishes. Instead, he rejects his inheritance, settling into a normal life as an English teacher in Colorado and marrying Jules, a woman just as eager to escape her own messy past.

Ten years later, his uncle’s death pulls Cam and Jules back into the family fold at Ashby House. Its views are just as stunning as ever, its rooms just as elegant, but the legacy of Ruby is inescapable.

And as Ashby House tightens its grip on Jules and Camden, questions about the infamous heiress come to light. Was there any truth to the persistent rumors following her disappearance as a girl? What really happened to those four husbands, who all died under mysterious circumstances? And why did she adopt Cam in the first place? Soon, Jules and Cam realize that an inheritance can entail far more than what’s written in a will––and that the bonds of family stretch far beyond the grave.

For my book club questions for this book, click here!

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham
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Following up her instant New York Times bestseller, A Flicker in the Dark, Stacy Willingham delivers a totally gripping thriller about a desperate mother with a troubled past in All the Dangerous Things.

One year ago, Isabelle Drake’s life changed forever: her toddler son, Mason, was taken out of his crib in the middle of the night while she and her husband were asleep in the next room. With little evidence and few leads for the police to chase, the case quickly went cold. However, Isabelle cannot rest until Mason is returned to her―literally.

Except for the occasional catnap or small blackout where she loses track of time, she hasn’t slept in a year.

Isabelle’s entire existence now revolves around finding him, but she knows she can’t go on this way forever. In hopes of jarring loose a new witness or buried clue, she agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster―but his interest in Isabelle’s past makes her nervous. His incessant questioning paired with her severe insomnia has brought up uncomfortable memories from her own childhood, making Isabelle start to doubt her recollection of the night of Mason’s disappearance, as well as second-guess who she can trust… including herself. But she is determined to figure out the truth no matter where it leads.

For my book club questions for this book, click here!

First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston
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Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist.

The identity comes first: Evie Porter. Once she’s given a name and location by her mysterious boss Mr. Smith, she learns everything there is to know about the town and the people in it. Then the mark: Ryan Sumner. The last piece of the puzzle is the job.

Evie isn’t privy to Mr. Smith’s real identity, but she knows this job will be different. Ryan has gotten under her skin, and she’s starting to envision a different sort of life for herself. But Evie can’t make any mistakes–especially after what happened last time.

Because the one thing she’s worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to—her real identity—just walked right into this town. Evie Porter must stay one step ahead of her past while making sure there’s still a future in front of her. The stakes couldn’t be higher–but then, Evie has always liked a challenge…

And for my book club questions guide for this novel, click here!

Discussion Guide for Only If You’re Lucky by Stacy Willingham

Happy reading! ❤️