When it comes to sequels of popular novels, it’s hard to not get nervous that it will be disappointing compared to the first book.
Luckily, Fly Away, the sequel to the New York Times best-selling Kristin Hannah novel (and now Netflix show) Firefly Lane, is a beautiful continuation of the heartbreaking story of best friends Kate Ryan and Tully Hart.
There are a lot of reasons you might want to read and discuss Fly Away with your book club.
Featuring bestselling author Kristin Hannah’s trademark powerful storytelling, the book picks up right where Firefly Lane left off at the funeral of Kate Ryan.
While the first book spans a lifetime, Fly Away focuses on the immediate years of grief and turmoil that Kate’s family (and Tully) just can’t seem to get out from under.
Should You Read Firefly Lane Before Fly Away?
For a sequel, the book actually does an incredible job of holding its own as a standalone novel.
There is enough detail given of what’s happened in the past that you could easily just read Fly Away on its own.
If you can though, I would recommend reading Firefly Lane before Fly Away.
The biggest thing you miss out on is viscerally understanding just how deep the friendship between TullyandKate runs.
You know they have been best friends since they were girls, but in Firefly Lane you get the chance to become really invested in the relationship.
That pays off in Fly Away when you see (and can understand) the grief Tully goes through and why she struggles so much to come out the other side.
Why is Fly Away Such a Great Book Club Choice?
An equally heartbreaking book as the first novel, you would expect it to be depressing as anything. Strangely, it’s actually a story of hope.
Yes, our lives can be torn apart by grief.
Yes, it can hurt like hell and feel like we will never get out from under it.
But it’s just as much a part of life as birth is and we get through the same way we do anything: with love.
Sound sappy? I promise you, it’s not.
It IS a highly introspective book though that makes great food for thought for reading with a partner, your reading group, or even just on your own.
Get the most out of it by tackling these discussion questions for Fly Away with your book club. Be prepared to go deep!
Fly Away Book Club Questions
1. This book is the sequel to the widely read novel “Firefly Lane”, an epic tale of the deep bond of female friendship between TullyandKate.
If you read the first book, how do you feel it did in continuing the story? If you didn’t, how do you feel the story held up as a standalone novel?
2. A lot of the book focuses on grief in its purest, rawest form. What are the different ways Johnny, Tully, and the kids chose to show (or not show) their grief? Were there any images that really resonated with you?
3. After the car accident, Tully has an out-of-body experience where she is floating over the table as the doctors and nurses work to save her life.
What do you think the author, Kristin Hannah, is trying to convey through this experience of separateness and observation?
4. Johnny’s first reactions to Tully are almost all founded in anger after Kate’s funeral.
What do you think of Tully’s actions, like not going to the funeral and playing music to dance to at the reception? Was Johnny right to be as angry as he was?
Was Tully right in that she was following Katie’s instructions?
5. When thinking about how to find comfort from loss, sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan thinks about how you shouldn’t avoid it, but instead examine it thoroughly.
She ruminates that, “There was a peace in loss, beauty in death, freedom in regret.”
Do you agree or disagree with that idea? Why?
6. Even when she knows he isn’t good for her, Marah is drawn to the young man Paxton because of how well he can relate to her. She sees him almost as a kindred spirit.
What is it about feeling “seen” that is so intoxicating? What other examples are there in the book of a character connecting with a stranger who shares their past?
7. One of the recurrent themes of the novel is the bond between parents and their kids.
The mother-daughter relationship between Tully and her mother Dorothy Hart (formerly known as Cloud) and the one between Johnny and his and kate’s children both are explored in detail.
Which parental pairing did you find yourself relating with the most? The least? Why?
8. Tully loses everything she built over 30 years in her career in 6 months because of the way she abandoned her show to take care of Kate.
Was there anything you felt she could have (or should have) handled differently with the situation?
9. “You think you have all the time in the world until you don’t.”
What does this quote bring up for you?
How does Kristin Hannah continually try to remind the reader of this idea throughout the book?
10. Tully finally learns about her father from her mother Dorothy and discovers she was actually born out of love.
How does this fact change things for her moving forward?
On a similar note, what is about understanding our origins, even when they are long gone, that can be so important to our sense of who we are?
11. In the final moments of the book, Kate thinks about all the things she knows will happen in the future as her loved ones move on from here. She decides she needs to move on as they have and finally let go.
How does this ending tie things up for the two books as a whole? Is there another ending you would have liked to see?
12. Did Fly Away make you want to read any other books by Kristin Hannah? Why?
Get these Fly Away book club questions as a PDF below to download or print.
More Book Club Questions
Don’t have a book club yet? Why not start your own! Check out my article on How to Form a Book Club for tips on creating the ideal book club for your lifestyle.
Did you read Fly Away by Kristin Hannah for your book club? What did you think? Leave me a comment below about how the questions and book worked for you!