Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Jennifer Erin Valent
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Interview, Excerpt

"The summer I turned thirteen, I thought I killed a man."

So begins the story of Jessilyn Lassiter, a young girl whose world is torn apart the summer of 1932. When Jessilyn's best friend, Gemma, loses her parents in a tragic fire, Jessilyn's father vows to care for her as his own, despite the fact that Gemma is black and prejudice is prevalent in their southern Virginia town.

It doesn't take long for the Lassiters to attract the attention of a local band of Ku Klux Klan members, who make increasingly violent threats on Jessilyn and her family.

As she struggles to navigate a complex world of first crushes, loyalties, and betrayals, Jessilyn ultimately discovers what it takes to be a bright light in a dark world.

 Fireflies in December Discussion Questions: Jennifer Valent

1) The townspeople seemed to have a problem with Jessilyn and Gemma’s friendship primarily after Gemma came to live with the Lassiters. What made the difference in their minds? Could you relate to Sadie’s mixed emotions about keeping Gemma?


2) Take a walk in Gemma’s shoes. How would you cope with her combination of loss, fear, and feeling out of place?


3) Explore the sisterhood between Jessilyn and Gemma. In what ways did their tragedy make their bond stronger?


4) How do the Lassiters personify the title, and how can we do the same? Why is it so necessary in our day and time to stand up for what is right and true?


5) Despite the closeness of her family, Jessilyn feels alone in her guilt over Cy fuller and in her struggle with Walt Blevins. Why? In what way would a relationship with Jesus Christ have eased Jessilyn’s burden of loneliness?


6) How does Jessilyn’s persistent questioning of her faith point to God’s sense of timing and purpose in all things?



7) In what ways does Luke’s presence provide a stabilizing force for Jessilyn?


8) Do you think Jessilyn and Luke are drawn together by being the only non-believers in their tight little circle?


9) How did Miss Cleta’s courage inspire the girls? How did it inspire you?


10) In what way do you feel that Otis Tinker’s belief in his “cause” enabled him to lead a double life? How are we capable of letting this sort of double life creep into our own lives?


11) How do the “band of angels” bringing help to the devastated Lassiter farm show that even the smallest acts of selflessness can make a strong impact?


12) How did the Lord use the tragedy and fear of that summer to teach Jessilyn and to bring the characters together?








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