Abandon Discussion Questions

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1. What is the significance of the title Abandon?

2. Inferno is a 14th century epic poem by Dante Alighieri that tells the story of his journey through the nine circles of Hell. Why do you think Meg Cabot begins each chapter of Abandon with a verse from Inferno? Which one do you like best and why?

3. Abandon is a retelling of the Persephone myth. Do you think Pierce's name is a deliberate play on the name Persephone? Does the name fit the character?

4. In Greek mythology, Persephone is the daughter of Zeus, the God of the sky and the King of gods, and Demeter, the Goddess of the seasons and the harvest. Do you think Pierce's parents are based on their mythological counterparts?

5. In the Greek myth, Hades abducted Persephone and forced her to return each year to the Underworld by tricking her into eating pomegranate seeds (although in some retellings, Persephone eats the pomegranate on purpose). How does John try to keep Pierce by his side and what does she do in response?

6. Why do you think Pierce initially rejected John? What do you think she was so afraid of?

7. What is the turning point in Pierce's relationship with her best friend, Hannah? Why does Pierce blame herself for what happened to her friend?  Do you think the decisions she made afterwards were good ones?  Why or why not?

8. Isla Huesos is hot, humid, and often battered by hurricanes. Why do you think Pierce's mom wanted to move there? What role does the weather play in Abandon?

9. Why is the Isla Huesos cemetery an important location in Abandon? What does it symbolize? 

10. What role does Cemetery Sexton Smith play in the novel? How would you describe his relationship with Pierce?  Did it surprise you?

11. In Inferno, the Furies are mythological personifications of vengeance who guard the fifth level of Hell. How does John try to protect Pierce from the Furies? Do you think she needs his protection?

12. Why do you think Pierce's cousin, Alex, is so angry with the kids from A-Wing, particularly Seth Rector? Does anyone else in the book seem to have a connection to the Rectors?

13. Pierce seems uncertain about John's intentions early in the novel. How has their relationship changed by the end and why?

14. Do the characters in Abandon live in a world ruled by fate or by choice? Does Pierce have control over whether or not she stays in the Underworld?

15. The last chapter of Abandon opens with the line "All hope abandon, ye who enter in!" from Inferno. Do you see any hope in Pierce's future? Can there be a happy ending for her and John?

Additional Reading

Inferno by Dante (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Mythology by Edith Hamilton