MAKE IT CUTE
Throw a bonfire-inspired bash for the first read in Chloe's Book Club!
Black Water, Tennessee is a small town. It’s filled with drama (thanks, rude cheerleaders) and cute boys (cute *twin* boys, to be more specific) and barn parties (bring on the bonfires!). It’s also a place of fierce friendships, unbreakable bonds and survive-anything strength.
Black Water, by the way, is a completely fictitious town in Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia, the first-ever featured title in Chloe’s Book Club—a new community for book lovers from Chloe Lukasiak and Girls’ Life.
Ahead, we’re breaking down the basics for throwing a Broken Beautiful Hearts-themed book club party—complete with recipes, décor ideas, dress code cues and, of course, a set of smart discussion Qs to kick off the conversation.
Need to catch up on the book? CLICK HERE to find the quick-read recap and Chloe's commentary, her own thoughts and insights on this very rad read.
Spoiler level: Low
Here’s *exactly* how to throw a “Bonfire Bash” inspired by our heroine Peyton’s tiny new town in Tennessee (and, P.S., no actual bonfires are required!).
Country, cozy, cuteness—like southern-staple comfort food, farmhouse-chic mason jar candles for mood lighting and comfy blankets to curl up in.
Nothing says "southern" like sweet sips and fried fare. Try these dishes to upgrade your book club party with an elevated take on yummy country classics.
Pack a punch with peach and ginger “soda.” Try this recipe for a sweet, refreshing drink that’ll cool you down after discussing those O-M-G book moments.
Football Family Fare
It's no secret that the twins *loved* their hearty meals. In honor of one of their favorite food groups, bake or fry up some chicken bites (frozen or take-out work, too!) and serve in a paper cone. Pair with delish dipping sauces to kick up the flavor. Have ranch dressing in the fridge? Add chives and crushed red pepper to up the flavor complexity. *Or* if you’re feeling extra fancy, try this recipe for a honey mustard must-have.
Sides and Sweets
Complement the meal with sweet and savory tastes. Make a mashed potato bar—filled with all the fixins like bacon, cheddar cheese and sour cream. You'll have enough to feed the whole football team—er, book club squad! Add other southern classics like coleslaw and buttermilk biscuits to complete the spread. For dessert, play up the bonfire theme with this trendy twist on classic campfire s'mores.
Create the *ultimate* farmhouse-chic set-up with wooden tables, book page table runners and pretty flowers. Add ambiance with these cute mason jars. Bonus points if you dress them up with heart cut-out book pages.
THE DRESS CODE
Peyton’s style is cute, comfy and cozy—three C's we fully support! In true Peyton fashion, aim for a casual aesthetic (think: henleys, sweatshirts, jeans and boots). Bonus points if you wear your fave football team’s sweatshirt. Don’t have one? Borrow from your boyfriend, bestie or bro.
Spoiler level: High
Use the questions below as a discussion guide for your Book Club party or as thought-starters for your own personal Book Club journaling. We’ve also pasted *all* the Qs into the comments below—so you can get your own convo going right on this post, too! We can’t wait to hear everything you have to say about Broken Beautiful Hearts…
1. On perfect days: “I believe that if you’re lucky—at least once in your life—you might have a perfect day,” states Peyton on page 1. “A day when all the stars in your personal universe align and your dreams seem possible.” Have you ever had a day that seemed perfect—and then turned terrible, like Peyton’s? And looking back on Peyton’s story, do you think it’s possible that perhaps Peyton’s awful day was, in a way, perfect? Why or why not?
2. On exiting an abusive situation: After her assault, Peyton immediately names Reed as her assailant, does everything she can to cut him out of her life, and reports him to the appropriate authorities. She showed zero tolerance for apologies, explanations or manipulations. Peyton perfectly demonstrated what it means to be a strong female and face down an accuser—even in the midst of intimidation and harassment. Is this something you see often in other female characters in the media? Do you think that Peyton is a strong role model? What else do you admire about her? What other admirable choices did she make throughout the story?
3. On defending family: On page 13, Peyton mentions the special code she shares with Tess: “We both smile and say it at the same time: ‘Best friends before boyfriends.’” But soon after, on page 18, this code is put to the test. “Nobody gets away with criticizing Reed in front of Tess,” Peyton shares. “Not even me.” From the beginning of the book, it’s clear that Tess feels a fierce loyalty to her brother—even when maybe she shouldn’t. Do you agree or disagree with Tess’s actions and reactions throughout the novel? Were you able to empathize with her situation at all?
4. On taking chances: On page 21, Peyton shares words that her dad once spoke to her. “You have to know when to pass or when to take the shot. There will be shots that look impossible, but they aren’t. Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is taking that shot when you get the chance.” Further down on page 21, Peyton recalls these words when she’s literally taking a shot during a soccer game. But do you think that maybe they stuck with her so strongly because they became a metaphor for something else? How could this sentiment have played into Peyton’s actions throughout the novel?
5. On what-ifs: “The answers don’t matter, because I’ll never know,” Peyton says on page 55, after running through all the scenarios that could have prevented her assault. Have you ever obsessed over all the ways a situation could have happened differently? Were you able to accept things and move forward? If so, how?
6. On extremely intense eye contact: On page 125, Peyton witnesses an awkward encounter between Owen and his mom, punctuating it with this chilling description: “It’s two seconds, maybe less. But when a boy looks at you like he’s drowning and you’re the only person who saw him fall in, it feels like forever.” What do you think Peyton meant with this language? What was conveyed in the eye contact between Peyton and Owen in that moment?
7. On secrets, lies and half-truths: Starting on page 251—let’s call it the “treehouse scene”—both Owen and Peyton share deep secrets with each other that are essential to their personal narratives. But *neither* of them are 100% honest—they both omit essential details and downplay the severity of their situations. How do these half-truths bring them together—but also cause near-catastrophic consequences? Discuss the layers that Peyton and Owen slowly reveal to each other throughout the story.
8. On forging new friendships: When Peyton tells Grace that she’s a good friend on page 364, her response is sweet but sad: “I know. But it's easy to be a good friend when you only have one.” As soon as they met, Grace and Peyton quickly became a constant source of support for each other. What do you think was the force behind their fast friendship? How did their own story lines intersect and mirror each other?
9. On the things we carry: Throughout the novel, Peyton is tormented by her English teacher’s assignment of the book The Things They Carried, a collection of short stories about a platoon of American solders fighting in the Vietnam war. The book reminds Peyton of her dad—and the truth about his death that she has been trying to avoid for so long. On page 391, Peyton finally learns exactly what her dad was carrying on that fateful day in Iraq. Reflect on the concept of “carrying things”—both the tangible and the non-tangible—that is touched on throughout the novel.
10. On new beginnings: On page 399—toward the very end of the novel—Peyton comments, “This feels like the beginning of something, and I don't want to miss any part of it.” It’s clear that regardless of all the trauma and heartache Peyton endured, her story is just getting started. What do you see in Peyton’s future? What do you want her to remember—or forget? Where do you want her to go?
Our besties at Barnes & Noble are hooking you up with two ways to get 15% off your copy of Broken Beautiful Hearts—so be sure share this exclusive offer with all the babes in your book club! Here's how to snag the savings—whether you shop online or at your favorite B&N store.
+ SAVE ONLINE. Click here to find the book on the B&N website. When you get to checkout, type in the code chloereads and hit "apply." Proceed with checkout as usual.
+ SAVE IN THE STORE. Click here to download your 15% off coupon. Print it out, then take it into the store and use it at checkout.
Want to find out *exactly* what Chloe Lukasiak thought of Broken Beautiful Hearts? Click here to head over to the main post—where Chloe spills on why she related to characters (and so much more).
One book-loving babe will score the *ultimate* Chloe’s Book Club merch pack, including a Chloe’s Book Club mug, notebook and notepad...plus, a copy of Broken Beautiful Hearts signed by Chloe *and* author Kami Garcia! Oh, and did we mention the gift card to Barnes & Noble? YAS. Click here to enter.