All the Dangerous Things
by Stacy Willingham
Discussion Questions:
1. Early in the book, it says, "And some of these people have secrets. All of them do, really. But some of them have the real ones, the messy ones. The deep, dark, shadowy ones that lurk just beneath the skin, traveling through their veins and spreading like a sickness." What are some of these secrets the characters keep? Do you think this is true of all of us, or just the characters in a crime novel?

2. On page 16, Isabelle thinks about being awake more often than not. "One thing I was starting to notice about being awake all the time was the way in which seemingly little things grew bigger by the day. Noisier, harder to ignore." Sleep, or the lack thereof, is a recurring theme in All the Dangerous Things. How does the author use sleep to build the tension until it's impossible to ignore?

3. On page 51, Isabelle says about ghosts, "All those little experiences you could never put your finger on-a tickle on the back of your neck, a nagging feeling that you were forgetting something, that creeping sense of deja vu that flared up when you visited someplace new- were other souls trying to send you a message. Living or dead, it didn't matter. Just other souls. I never thought of it as being haunted, exactly. Just gently reminded. A peaceful prodding that there was something that needed to be remembered. Something important." Do you see ghosts in the same way Isabelle does?

4. The idea of day versus night is a concept the author uses throughout All the Dangerous Things. On page 84, it says, "I understand that there's something even more unsettling than being alone in the dark. It's realizing that you're not really alone at all." What keeps Isabelle company in the dark? How, if at all, does this change during the day?

5. On page 247, Isabelle says, "I like to think of our memories like a mirror: reflecting images back to us, something familiar, but at the same time, backward. Distorted. Not quite as they are. But it's impossible to look our past straight in the eye, to see things with perfect clarity, so we have to rely on the memories." What memories of Isabelle's were distorted? Have you had similar experiences with memories of your own past?

6. The author presents motherhood in a variety of different ways throughout the novel. How did you think of motherhood before reading All the Dangerous Things? How, if at all, did your view change after finishing the book?

7. Why do you think the author chose to make Isabelle an unreliable narrator? How would the story have been different if Isabelle was able to trust in herself?

8. The author is known for writing twists in her books, and All the Dangerous Things is no exception. What was the biggest twist for you as the reader? Did you see any of the twists coming?

9. The novel is called All the Dangerous Things. What are the "dangerous things" in the story?

10. The marsh appears several times throughout All the Dangerous Things, Isabelle is drawn there both as a child and as an adult. What is Isabelle's relationship with marshes?

11. Do you consume true-crime content? If so, what format(s)? How, if at all, did your view of true-crime content change after reading All the Dangerous Things?

Discussion Questions by The Today Show

Book Club Talking Points:
Book clubs will enjoy discussing how friendships and love evolve as circumstances change. For example, people get married, have children, and begin careers. It also explores the different kinds of love: your love for a parent, friend, or partner and yourself.

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