Book Club Reading Guide

Something in the Water

If you’d like to download a pdf of the Reading Guide questions, please click here or the image at right.

Have a question for the author? Would you like an author Skype visit to your book club?

Drop Ben a line at benstarlingauthor (at) gmail (dot) com. He looks forward to hearing from you.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Teal’s Career: What disappointment did Teal suffer in the opening of the novel? Have you ever suffered a great disappointment? Did it spur you on to try harder, or to move in a new direction?
  1. Edward: Do Teal and Edward have anything in common? Why does Teal try to patch up their relationship? Have you ever been trapped in a relationship that you tried to repair, when deep down you knew it was doomed?
  1. Grandma: How would you describe Teal’s relationship with her grandmother? Compare Teal’s relationship with her mother and grandmother. Did Grandma come to life for you, even though we only heard from her via her letters? Do you have someone in your life who performs this role?
  1. Perry: Teal and Perry come from different worlds. What does Teal learn from Perry and visa versa? Have you ever been in a relationship with someone from a different world? Do you think that makes things better or worse?
  1. Magic: What did Teal think of her tarot reading? Did her view of tarot change over the course of the novel? What other examples of magic did you find in the novel? Did you enjoy those passages? Do you believe in magic?
  1. The South Pacific: Many people think of the South Pacific as an exotic paradise. Was this Teal’s initial impression? What did Teal learn about the South Pacific? Have you ever travelled somewhere and found your preconceptions challenged once you got there?
  1. Frank and Nancy: What role did each of them play in the novel? Did their relationship contain a message? Do they remind you of anyone?
  1. Fonu: What does Teal learn from Fonu’s story? Did Fonu make the right choice by not joining Losa in the ocean? What would you have done?
  1. Dan Dragan: How did you react to this character? Were there things you admired about him? Do you think there really are people like him in the world? If so, how best can we deal with them?
  1. Love: Did you find the love affair between Teal and Perry satisfying? Were there any other messages about love in the novel? If so, how did you react to them?
  1. Death: Did you find Perry or Solomon’s deaths upsetting? Were they necessary for the plot? What did Teal learn about love after death? Would you have reacted to this knowledge the same way as Teal?
  1. Animals: The novel features a whale and a bird. What role did each play? Have you ever had a close personal relationship with an animal? Has your attitude to animals changed as a result of reading this novel?
  1. Growth: How did Teal change and grow throughout the novel? What do you think she will do with the rest of her life?
  1. Female Protagonist: A male author wrote the novel from a woman’s point of view. Did you find his portrayal of Teal, Nancy and Emma realistic? Were there times when you would have acted differently from these characters in the situations that they faced?
  1. Language: Did you enjoy the author’s writing style? Were there any phrases that stood out for you?
  1. Message: What was the main message or messages of the book? Was there a particular theme that was more important to you than the others?


BEN blue_actors headshot sq_AUG2015Ben Starling is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both central themes in his work. His interest in marine life has taken him across three continents. He boxed competitively until recently and continues to coach. Ben graduated from Oxford University with a Master of Arts and a Master of Philosophy.

Twitter-Icon  @benstarlingauth    Facebook-Icon

His short story, Something in the Air, is available free when you join Ben’s private mailing list at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s