1. Throughout this series, Charlie is faced with many difficult choices. Have you ever found yourself with no good options for action? How do you approach making important decisions?
2. When Charlie calls Beth for what he believes will be the last time, he tries to keep his emotions in check. Have you ever tried to keep your emotions under control in order to be strong for someone else? Have you ever sensed that someone else was doing the same for you?
3. How did this book’s description of Abingdon prison make you feel? Is it different from other portrayals of jail you may have seen?
4. Though Charlie is a fighter, he always maintains respect for human life. How do you see this respect throughout the book?
5. Charlie describes Sensei Mike as someone with a quiet faith. Even though he and Charlie don’t “talk about God or religion a lot,” can you see Mike’s belief through his actions? Do you know anyone who is not outspoken about faith, but whose daily life reflects what he or she believes?
6. Charlie’s friends, girlfriend, and parents suffer a lot because of Charlie’s commitment to a cause. Have you ever worried that doing the right thing might alienate others or cause them to suffer?
7. What does it mean for Charlie to “live true”? How do we determine what “living true” means in our own lives?
8. In this book we meet Dunbar, the Yard King. What do you think motivates people like Dunbar toward cruelty? Do you think he learns anything from Charlie in this book?
9. When Charlie has to leave Mike in the subway tunnel, Mike reminds Charlie that he is never alone. What does this mean? How does Charlie manage to carry on without Mike’s help?
10. When Charlie is praying, he says: “Your will be done, I added at the end of my prayer— but I’ve got to admit, I didn’t really mean it. I really wanted my will to be done.” Have you ever felt like Charlie when praying? How hard is it to pray for God’s direction in spite of our own desires?
11. Charlie’s attitude toward Prince at the end of the book is surprising. Why do you think Charlie feels sorry for him? Can you imagine feeling sorry for someone like Prince?
12. How does Charlie discover that he’s no longer afraid of death? What circumstances lead him to this realization? Like Charlie, have you ever felt ready to die for a cause?