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Book Club Questions for The Change by Kirsten Miller (+ Printable PDF)

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Book club questions for The Change by Kirsten Miller explore the themes of empowerment, midlife transformation, female friendship, supernatural abilities, and the consequences of confronting evil in a wealthy community.

The Change by Kirsten Miller
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Wow, such an empowering novel for women, which is why I recommend reading this novel! With its many twists and turns, it kept me guessing right up until the end. I loved how the characters kept evolving and we were brought along for all of it. The author did a wonderful job.

Book Club Questions | Additional Recommendations | Printable List

About the Story

The Change follows the story of three women in a wealthy beach town who experience major life changes in midlife. Nessa James, Harriett Osborne, and Jo Levison each go through their own personal crises and discover they have unique powers. Nessa can hear the voices of the dead, Harriett undergoes a surprising transformation, and Jo learns to channel her anger and hot flashes.

Together, guided by Nessa’s ability to hear voices, these women investigate a murder and uncover a series of mysteries in their town. They refuse to accept the official narrative and take matters into their own hands using their newfound powers.

The book is described as a thrilling and revenge-filled fantasy with elements of suspense and empowerment, where these women confront the evil lurking in their community.

About the Author

Kirsten Miller grew up in a small mountain town in North Carolina. When she was seventeen, she packed her bags and moved to New York City, where she still lives today.

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Kirsten has written more than a dozen books for middle-grade and young adult readers.

You might have heard of her popular series, the Kiki Strike books, which are about clever and adventurous girls who protect Manhattan. She’s also the author of “How to Lead a Life of Crime.”

By the way, there’s another Kirsten Miller who wrote a book called “All That Is Left,” which you might see in her list of works. Although they’re not the same person, Kirsten thinks that the other Kirsten must be quite lovely and talented.

For a complete list of Kirsten Miller’s books in order, click here!

Book Club Questions for The Change

  1. In “The Change” by Kirsten Miller, each of the three main characters – Jo, Nessa, and Harriett – develops unique powers in mid-life. If you were to gain a specific power during mid-life, what would it be, and how would you use it?
  2. The author, Kirsten Miller, mentioned that some aspects of “The Change” were inspired by real-life events. Can you identify storylines or characters that reminded you of current events or people? Why do you think the author drew inspiration from these real-world elements?
  3. Harriett goes through a dramatic transformation after the implosion of her career and marriage. How does her newfound connection to plants symbolize her personal growth? In what ways does her character change as the story progresses?
  4. Jo’s character is described as a fierce advocate for women’s safety in her previous career. How does her experience with menopause and her ability to channel rage influence her perspective on women’s empowerment? How does she balance her role as a mother with her newfound powers?
  5. Jo starts Furious Fitness to help women release their anger before it consumes them. Many women in the book grapple with rage. Why do you think so many female characters in the story experience anger, and how do they handle it? Can you relate to their anger?
  6. Harriett undergoes a transformation in mid-life, becoming smarter and more powerful, but she also faces rejection from her boss and husband. Does this dynamic resonate with you? Have you experienced a similar shift in your own life?
  7. Mattauk, the town where the women live, seems idyllic on the surface, but Nessa wonders if there’s a hidden darkness. Do you think people move to exclusive places like Mattauk expecting safety? Is that expectation realistic?
  8. In “The Change,” the women confront evil men, but not all the male characters are villains. What do you think about characters like Franklin, Art, Josh, Eric, and Chase? What do they reveal about men’s potential as allies and partners?
  9. The book explores the idea of female rage as a source of power. Can you identify specific scenes or instances where the characters’ rage is harnessed for positive change? How does this theme relate to broader societal issues?
  10. The exclusive and wealthy enclave in the town is depicted as a place where the rules don’t apply. How does this setting contribute to the story’s themes of privilege, corruption, and abuse of power?
  11. The novel includes moments of humor and camaraderie among the three main characters. Can you recall any humorous or heartwarming scenes that stood out to you? How does the friendship between Jo, Nessa, and Harriett add depth to the story?
  12. The book includes stories of past victims of Culling Pointe. Why do you think the author chose to include these stories? Did they impact your feelings about the main narrative?
  13. Were you surprised by the truth about Claude? Do you think there were hints of her involvement that the other women should have noticed earlier? Were you shocked by her betrayal of Leonard?
  14. Claude tells the girls she procures that their experiences make them stronger. Do you believe there’s truth in this idea? Do you think Claude genuinely believes it?
  15. Claude argues that nothing can stop predatory men from doing as they please, and her actions are an attempt to make some good come out of it. Do you agree with her argument? Did any positive outcomes result from what happened at Culling Pointe?
  16. What do you envision happening to Jo, Nessa, and Harriett in the years following the novel’s conclusion? How will their newfound powers shape the next phase of their lives? What would you like to see them do in the future?
  17. Nessa’s ability to hear the voices of the dead plays a significant role in the story. How does this gift impact her character and her actions throughout the novel? How does her relationship with the dead girls evolve over time?
  18. The women refuse to accept the official narrative about the murdered girls and take matters into their own hands. How do their individual powers complement each other in their investigation? What are some key moments that highlight their strengths and weaknesses as a team?
  19. Claude’s character undergoes a transformation from being seemingly complicit to taking action against the malevolent forces in the story. Were there early signs of her true intentions, and did her change of heart surprise you?
  20. In the end, the women’s actions have a significant impact on their community. How did you interpret the book’s message about women taking control of their destinies and seeking justice? Did the conclusion satisfy your expectations for the characters’ journeys?
  21. The book contains elements of feminism and empowerment. Were there any quotes, passages, or moments that particularly resonated with you in terms of women’s strength and resilience?

Additional Recommendations

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
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You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother. Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks.

Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
 
An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
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Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. 

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.  

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
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For fans of A Man Called Ove, a charming, witty and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow’s unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus

After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors—until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late. 

Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.

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Happy reading! ❤️