Thank you so much for picking my book to read! I loved creating this story so much. As a full-time author, I'm always stuck at home, writing, so it's fun to visit other places through my stories.
Here are some possible discussion points--grouped into topics--that I think might be interesting for book club members. I also added in a couple of author notes for you, in case you and your friends are curious about what goes through an author's head.
GIRL IN THE WATER begins with symbolism. Who do you think the fish represent in the opening paragraph? Where else does the author use symbolism in the book? Do you think there's symbolism in the title?
Did the setting work for you? Were you able to "see" the Amazon rain forest? Did it feel authentic? What do you like/dislike about books set in unusual locations? Do you think the setting in this particular book added to the story?
(Note from the author: I do get obsessive about research. When I say they got on such and such flight at such and such time, you could go to Manaus and get on that flight at that time. When they get on a bus on a street corner, that's the right bus number and it goes to where I say it goes. The fish in the river are the fish that really are in that river, etc. I don't visit the location of most of my books, but I do a ridiculous amount of research. I also met a wonderful Brazilian author through this book, who helped me get the setting right. We became friends since, which is one of the best things that came out of this project.)
The book's heroine, Daniela goes through a lot. What did you think of her at the beginning? In what ways did she grow throughout the story? She's from a different culture, living under very different circumstances. Could you identify with her regardless? In what ways are her struggles universal?
Ian Slaney is a damaged hero. How did you feel about him at the beginning of the story? Some reviews bring up that he's not typical romance novel hero material. Did he redeem himself in your eyes by the end? What do you think makes a hero?
(Note from the author: A long time ago, in a book about writing, I read something that stuck with me. I wish I could remember what book it was. The thought struck me as a profound truth, and I often refer to it when writing. "A villain is someone who sacrifices others for his own gain. A hero is someone who sacrifices himself for others.")
The book touches on human trafficking. How did you feel about that? Did you think that's a topic too heavy for a romance or do you feel that it's important to raise awareness? Did you learn anything from the book you didn't know already? Do you think the story would have been just as compelling if this difficult issue was taken out?
GIRL IN THE WATER also has a secondary story line about another couple, Carmen and Phil. What did you think about their story? Did you think that it added another layer to the book, or was it an unnecessary distraction? Which couple did you like more?
The author's stated goal for this book was to take readers on a journey. In your opinion, did she succeed?
BTW, if your book club reads GIRL IN THE WATER, I'd love a photo so I could feature you on my FB page. And if you'd like to share any feedback after the discussion, I would love to hear it, of course. I learn so much from readers.