Discussion Guide for Green Rising

For book club and school readers, my publisher has prepared some questions to help guide a climate change-focussed discussion using my new novel Green Rising. You can also download a book club guide PDF. Let me know if you have any questions about these, as I’m happy to adjust and adapt for use!

  • Did the book expand your views on climate change? What were your main takeaways? Did you learn anything that surprised or shocked you?
  • How did the layout of the book – including all the online comments, news articles, etc — affect you as a reader? Why do you think Lauren James chose to include all these extra elements? What do the extracts say about how information disseminates across the internet?
  • Do you think Lauren James made the world of the novel feel realistic and plausible? Why or why not?
  • Are any of the characters purely ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or do they all have some shades of grey? Characters that might be good to discuss include Hester, Theo, Gabrielle, Edgar or Mr Daleport.
  • What are some of the negative repercussions of the Greenfinger powers that the book considers, both in the story and the extra asides?
  • “This whole planet is screwed. It’s impossible to do anything without hurting someone, somewhere,” (pages 193-194). Is it challenging to always do the right thing by the environment in your everyday life? Is it even possible?
  • How is Hester’s relationship with her parents different to Theo’s relationship with his? How has that helped shape the people they’ve become, for better or worse?
  • The novel has two key voices: Hester and Theo. Did you connect with either character more than the other? While we hear a lot from Gabrielle, we never get her voice: why do you think Lauren James might have decided to focus on Hester and Theo instead?
  • How does the novel use Hester and Theo’s individual Greenfinger capabilities to explore various things they’re struggling with, like belonging, insecurity, and emotions?
  • “This isn’t the end of anything,” Gabrielle said. “You can’t think about it like that. We’re going to continue living here for ever, however bad Earth gets. Calling this an apocalypse just leads to fear paralysis. It gives people yet another reason to avoid acting. But this is happening; it’s real. Set your old ‘normal’ aside and start working on building a new one,” (page 223). What are some possible strategies,
    big or small, Green Rising suggests individuals and communities could utilise to come together to help combat climate change?
  • If you could spend Edgar Warren’s fortune, what would you do with it?
  • How is the concept of geoengineering presented in the book? Are these solutions a good or bad idea?
  • Where do you think the characters will be in ten years’ time? Do you think they’ll have colonised Mars?
  • The Greenfingers powers are amplified when the teenagers work together. What do you think this is an allegory for?
  • How would you use Greenfingers powers if you had them?
  • Some of the Greenfingers ideas go badly wrong. Do you think the urgency of the climate crisis justifies making mistakes in the name of experimentation – or should we be more cautious than Theo and Hester?
  • The characters in Green Rising often have grey morality, breaking the law in pursuit of their cause. Do you think this is acceptable? What do you think of Gabrielle’s comparison between climate activists and the suffragettes?
  • What do the roles of the parents and children in the novel say about different generations’ perspectives on climate change? Do you believe that activism is undertaken by young people alone?

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and The Quiet at the End of the World. She is also a Creative Writing lecturer, freelance editor, screenwriter, and the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League. Her upcoming release is Green Rising, a climate change thriller. Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide, been translated into five languages and shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and many of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2021. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

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