Canary by Rachele Alpine Discussion Guide

So, you are doing a book discussion with Rachele Alpine’s novel, Canary? Here are a few resources and questions that will help with that.

Rachele Alpine
(“Rachel Alpine.” 2016. Rachele Alpine. Retrieved from

Author website:

Biography websites:
Goodreads Author Biography:
Simon & Schuster’s Biography: 

Kirkus Review of Canary:

Mentor Public Library’s Video of Rachele Alpine talking about Canary

Book trailer of Canary posted by Rachele Alpine

Video about Stuebenville Case provides part of the basis of the events in this book

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think Alpine entitled the book Canary? How does it relate to the novel? For example, do you believe Kate represents the canary as the first sign of major issues, or as the sacrificial lamb?
  2. Privilege is an important theme of the book. Who has it in the book? What determines whether you are privileged or not? Do you see any parallels with privileged people in your life? Do you agree with the concept of people having privilege?
  3. Kate uses a blog to further explore her feelings, many times it is through poetry. Did you feel that the inclusion of the blog helped or hindered the story? Do you feel that realistically what was included in the blog would be enough to begin a public outcry over the basketball team’s actions?
  4. Brett, Kate’s older brother, gives her rules before she goes to her first party at Beacon. Did you find his rules helpful or condescending?  Many times in the media, victims will be blamed for being assaulted. Do you believe that Kate is blamed for her assault, either by other characters, herself or the general tone of the novel? What are your thoughts on this concept and how do you feel the book treats it?
  5. After her mother’s death, Kate’s family dynamic changed, how so? Were there any issues that were already present, but made worse by her mother’s death? Do you believe that the dynamic changes impacted Kate’s interactions with the world around her and how so?
  6. Kate’s perspective on basketball changes throughout the novel, why? and how?
  7. Friendship are hard to come by in this book. In the book was friendship presented in a positive or negative light? Was it presented as an asset or a weapon? Were there any real friendships in the book? Were there any terrible ones in the book? How were you able to tell the difference and should Kate have been able to see the difference?
  8. Identity is a theme in this book and characters are constantly changing their identities or using masks. What determines a character’s identity in this book? What motivates them to change their identities?
  9. Discuss Kate’s father’s reaction to the assault. Were you surprised? Did it feel real?
  10. After Kate drew attention to the issues going on at the school, many others commented on her blog with similar interactions. Why do you think Kate was the one to speak out and possibly force the most attention on the situation? What made her or her situation different than those before her?
  11. Many characters and the school are confronted with issues they must address, do you believe that major changes will occur? Do you believe that the changes that have already begun to happen and will continue to happen are going to stick? Are these changes permanent?