(From the Association of College and Research Libraries - Residency Interest Group)
- In what ways does this book capture teenage angst? Is the STD the cause of this angst? Why or why not? How well does Burns capture the typical American teenage experience? Are we writing teens off a bit by just calling them “angsty”?
- Why do the characters seem so ostracized from the adult world? Are adults leaving them out of the picture, or vice versa? How does the disease itself ostracize teens from their peers as well as adults? Is it just the disease that is responsible?
- Drugs and sex factor in heavily to the lives of the characters. Is this common among teenagers? How do drugs and sex influence the characters? Is this behavior just a product of the time period in which this book is set?
- When teens are infected they often mutate in some way. Could this mutation be a metaphor for something (or several things)? Teenage experience? STD stigmatization? Do the unique types of mutations reflect anything about the characters themselves?
- Are there elements of horror in this book? What are they? Does the subject matter lend itself to the horror genre? How so?
- How does Burns’ artwork affect the mood of the book? Does it add to or detract from the story? Black hole imagery is used frequently in the book – what does this imagery reflect about the story itself?
- Were the characters differentiated enough? Were they supposed to be? Did any character stand out or were any particularly memorable?
- Burns took a full ten years to write this entire story and it was serialized in a number of comic book issues. Would you have guessed this reading it all at one time? How well does the story flow – does it seem disconnected or disjointed?