Out of the Ashes has plenty of fodder for book clubs to incite heated discussions. Set in an insular, prone-to-paranoia town, it features a flawed heroine intent on solving a decades-old crime. Over the past twenty-two years, Samantha Newsom has gradually pieced her life back together after being the only survivor in a house fire that killed the rest of her family. She’s always suspected foul play but has been unable to prove it.

But when Samantha returns to her hometown of Carney, NY, a prison inmate says he has information she’ll want to hear. He saw someone secreting a baby away the night of the fire. Does that mean Sam’s sister lives? To discover the truth, Sam teams up with Private Investigator Travis Meachem who is just as determined as Sam to find out what really happened that night. 

RED ALERT – book club questions always contain spoilers

  1. Were you surprised by the decision Sam made at the very end of the book?
  2. Do you think you would have made a different choice than Sam if you were in her shoes?
  3. Where do you think Rhiannon’s anger at Samantha comes from? 
  4. Do you believe she was right to be hurt by Samantha’s actions, or was her anger misplaced?
  5. What did you think of the reveal about Meacham’s daughter?
  6. Do you agree with Samantha’s accusation at the end that his motivation for trying to find Lyndsey was rooted in his own trauma?
  7. Do you think justice was done, eventually, in its own way, or did the killer get away with murder?
  8. Why do you think Samantha’s mother made the decisions she made leading up to her death?
  9. What would you have done differently if you had uncovered what Marnie had learned about her husband and his employer?


Kara Thomas is the author of The Darkest Corners, Little Monsters, The Cheerleaders, and That Weekend, Barnes and Noble’s YA Book Club Pick for July 2021. Kara’s books have been sold in multiple languages and have been nominated for the International Thriller Writers Award. In 2013, she wrote and developed the pilot The Revengers with Rashida Jones and Will McCormack for The CW. She lives on Long Island with her husband, son, and rescue cat, where she spends way too much time on Reddit Unresolved Mysteries trying to solve cold cases.  kara-thomas.comInstagram: @karathomaswrites


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