Thursday, April 19, 2012

MASQUERADE Read-Along: Third Week's Discussion Questions

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For this third round of questions, 
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Week 3: Chapters 16 - 24 Discussion

1. Heven’s mother has definite ideas about Heven and her scars – what they mean – and their relationship is strained. Do you think it can be saved?

Mothers and daughters often have a hard time getting along.  For some reason, women tend to treat their sons much better than they do their daughters, whom they sometimes criticize excessively.  In the case of Heven and her mother, I think that the rift is perhaps almost as serious as that between Sam and his father.  (By the way, men get along better with their daughters...) 

At first, when Heven's mom mentioned the Bible and church, I thought that she was a good, loving Christian woman.  It gradually became apparent, though, that she was a fanatic.  Perhaps her church is a bit on the cult side, too.  Unfortunately, fanatics tend to be completely unyielding in their beliefs, whatever religion they might belong to.  So, I really don't see Heven having a positive relationship with her mother in the future.  In fact, I predict that they will eventually become totally estranged.  If Heven's mother ever finds out what Sam is, that will make the rift permanent! 

2. Sam tells Heven about how he came to be living on his own, how his parents kicked him out after he became what he is. He doesn’t seem angry though; he seems to accept it. Would you be angry? Do you think he should be?

Poor Sam!  He's such a sweetheart!  Yes, I would certainly be angry if my own parents kicked me out like that!  I would also be very, very hurt, especially if my parents (well, one of them, at least) knew that this shape shifting was part of the family gene pool, and that there was a possibility the gene would manifest in my generation. 

After some time, bitterness would emerge.   Of course, this would taint any relationships I might have, with either friends or a potential mate.   In fact, I imagine I'd need some therapy in order to deal with my family's rejection.  It's really quite remarkable that Sam has taken it all in stride.  On the other hand, perhaps he has repressed the emotions related to this event to such an extent that he no longer feels them.   This means, of course, that he needs some serious therapy.  So, yes, I do think he should be angry!  Not that he should seek revenge, though.  Revenge is always wrong!  However, if he were angry, again, he would need therapy in order to deal with his feelings constructively.

3. During these chapters, Heven and Sam visit the Inbetween and meet Airis (aka The Hope). Were you surprised by this series of events? Do you think a place like the InBetween really exists?

No, I really wasn't surprised by this.  When reading a paranormal novel, I'm able to suspend my disbelief with no trouble at all, since I love fantasy and unusual stories so much.  Besides, I was brought up Catholic, so I'm familiar with the concept of Purgatory.  This is an "in between" place where souls go if they die in the state of sin, but yet, are not evil enough to be sent to Hell.  The place described in this novel, though, seems to simply be a place between worlds -- not a place on Earth, yet not in Heaven.  I do believe in the existence of Heaven, and am uncomfortable with the idea of Hell.  It does sound reasonable for a place like the InBetween to exist, but I'm not sure if there is, indeed, such a place.  In some spiritual/metaphysical traditions, "the astral plane" is what is here known as "The InBetween".

4. When Heven’s scars are no longer a part of her and she says “she no longer recognizes herself” – do you think that the absence of her scars will change her once more?

Hmmm....I do think she feels relieved from a huge burden!  Along with that, she'll feel her confidence begin to soar, I'm sure.  However, I don't think she'll ever go back to being her former, somewhat shallow self.   Also, since she has been awakened to her gifts, she will now be concentrating on controlling them, using them for good purposes.  Furthermore, she'll be very happy about the fact that Sam loved her and told her she was beautiful even before the scars disappeared! 

5. Gran is very accepting of Heven and of Sam. Do you think that she understands more – knows more than she lets on about Heven’s life or do you think her love is just unconditional?

Sometimes I do get the feeling that there's more to Gran than meets the eye.  Maybe we'll get more information regarding this in the sequel to this novel.   On the other hand, I also believe that her love for Heven is, indeed, unconditional.  Many women also fail to get along with their daughters-in-law.  I think Gran doesn't get along with Heven's mom at all, but in this case, that's very understandable.  Gran is the mother of Heven's dad.  She has already criticized Heven's mother for the way she's treating Heven.

A grandmother's love is very different from that of a mother.  Mothers (there are individual differences, naturally) have to take disciplinary measures at times.  Grandmothers never, or rarely, have to do this.  Instead, they usually have fun enjoying their grandchildren, and might even, according to the mothers, spoil them.  Grandmas do tend to be more lenient than their daughters or daughters-in-law.

I also get the feeling that Heven and her grandmother are kindred spirits.  They're both unconventional, off the beaten path.  They're trusting people, and they're also willing to give someone a second chance.  Heven's mother, in contrast, strikes me as a very rigid person, and very judgemental, as well.  She's not open to considering mitigating circumstances.  Her love toward Heven is conditional in the extreme, although she keeps saying that it's all for Heven's good.  Gran doesn't spout platitudes; instead, she patiently listens to her granddaughter.  Her heart is open, where Heven and Sam are concerned.  In contrast, Heven's mom has a closed heart.

Since this is a blog hop, be sure to visit 
the other participating blogs
to see how they answered.
Also, I'd love to get your comments
on my own answers!


  1. Question #1 is loaded with discussion opportunities and you answered it really well. I personally can't stand a bible thumper. A true Christian should be recognizable by their heart, actions and their love for others. Too bad that Heven's mom has come up short.
    The grandmother seems like she is just kind of along for the ride, but I wonder if we will find out more about her too. Right now she is filling a void for Heven and that is important.
    Great answers, Maria.

    1. I greatly appreciate your compliment on my answer to the first question! And you're absolutely right -- a TRUE Christian should be recognizable by his/her actions, not fanatical "Bible thumping". As they say, you have to "walk the talk".

      Gran is such a WONDERFUL character! She's giving Heven a lot of much-needed love and support, which should be coming from Heven's mom, and sadly, isn't.

      Thanks for the lovely comments!! : )

  2. Very thoughtful answers this week! I feel like I learned a lot about you and your thoughts in general on the book and characters.
    I think that Gran and Heven are kindred spirits as well. They do seem very similar and I am glad that Heven has her Gran in her life.
    Grandmother's are special people for sure!

    I can't believe the read along is almost over! I can't wait to see what everyone says next week!

    1. I really appreciate your compliments, Cambria!! I LOVE this novel, as I'm sure you can tell from my answers. Although it's in the YA category, I think it's a very profound novel, and contains a lot of food for thought!

      Since you're the author, I'm very happy to see that we agree that Heven and Gran are kindred spirits! And yes, grandmothers are very special people for sure!!

      i can't believe the read-along is almost over, either! That makes me a bit sad...but I'm looking forward to the live chat next Saturday!!

      Thanks for your wonderful comments!! : )

  3. Dude...that's really interesting what you say about mothers and daughters...I was talking with some friends about how parents always have favorites(even if they don't admit that they do). All the girls were their dad's favorites, and most of the guys were their moms...that is so weird though...maybe the moms are so critical because they are jealous of their daughter's youth? I have no

    1.'s interesting, and also puzzling. Why would women favor their sons, and men their daughters? I think you might be right in thinkiing that women are (secretly) jealous of their daughters' youth. Men, too, might be jealous of their sons. In both cases, I think they're probably competing with their kids, whether they realize it or not...

      Thanks for the great comment!! : )

  4. You always have the best insightful answers of anyone on the read along. I agree mother daughter relationships are never easy. I don.'t like that she is taking religion and twisiting it and ruining her relationship. I never thought that Sam needed therapy, but now that you bring it up he probably does, he has been through some nasty stuff.
    Yes I agree I think there is probably a place like The Inbetween. I think Heven and Gran are kindred spirits as well. Thank you so much for participating each and for taking the time to post such well thought out answers. So glad you are along.

  5. I definitely got the feeling that Gram might know more then she's letting on. I'm not sure why I feel that way, but I do.
    I agree about your assessment of her mother. Chances are that she'll never change, but I guess we can hope she does!

  6. Sam is quite remarkable to not seem so bitter and angry. He may have just pushed it way down deep inside him. Hopefully it doesn't cause some negative choice or outburst down the road.

    Amy @ bookgoonie

  7. Sam is so sweet. It is hard to believe he was forced out by his family.

  8. Hi! I really enjoyed your answers this week! I agree about Sam. I think he really is a good person and he should be upset about his parents kicking him out especially when they know it's for something he can't control. I also agree with you about Heven's grandma. I feel that she does love Heven unconditionally. I never thought about her really having any idea that something was up with Heven, but I think you're right- maybe we'll find out about that in book 2!


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