Book club questions for Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty closely examines this mystery and family drama tale. There will be spoilers so for more context about the book, check out my spoiler-free review first.
I liked this one a lot! I don’t think it’s as good as Big Little Lies or some of her earlier work but I overall really enjoyed it. I thought the characters were all interesting, the mystery intriguing and I always appreciate how Liane really dives into each character.
The only character I’m truly conflicted about is Savannah—all her twists and backstory didn’t really work for me. I see where Liane was striving for with it but I think I wanted more in those reveals.
And it’s finally happened—fiction books are starting to reference the pandemic. In some ways I’m not ready but I know it’s unavoidable at this point. It did feel a bit like a last minute add-on though. Let me know your thoughts about that and the novel as a whole!
If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?
This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.
The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?
The four Delaney children—Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke—were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon.
One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.
Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.
Book Club Questions for Apples Never Fall
- There is a lot of talk about apples in the novel such as the cover and imagery. Joy was riding her bike with apples in the basket on the day she went missing. Joy’s mother-in-law apple crumb recipe is prevalent throughout the novel. What do you make of all the apple mentions and such? What does the title reference?
- Tennis is a huge presence in the Delaney’s life. First, why do you think tennis became the sport of choice for Stan and Joy?
- While tennis is pretty much life for Stan and Joy, it’s a different story for the kids. How did growing up with such a focus on the sport impact the children’s view on life?
- What did you think at first happened to Joy? Did you believe Stan was guilty? Did your opinion change at all as the novel went on?
- Why did Joy and Stan welcome Savannah, a complete stranger, into their home? Was it simply because of loneliness and wanted to be needed? On the same note, why did they let her stay?
- The children for the most part are not impressed with Savannah and view her with suspicion. How would you react if your parents let a stranger like that stay with them?
- We slowly learn that Savannah is not this sweet woman who simply likes to cook for strangers. But she has a ties to each member of the Delaney family and feels she was wronged by all of them. What did you think about these revelations? Should the family have felt guilty by their actions?
- Harry Haddad is an important character despite never actually making an appearance (only in the background for context). Let’s talk about Harry’s presence throughout the novel and how it impacted each of the main characters. Were you surprised when it turned out Savannah was his sister?
- Joy’s secret wasn’t an affair but she actually advised Harry to get a new tennis teacher. Let’s talk the impact of this reveal.
- What do you make of Stan and Joy’s marriage? Do you think it’s toxic and should they have separated? Or do you believe they do actually love each other?
- Why did Joy go on the retreat with Savannah? Did she simply feel sorry for Savannah? Or just needed to get away from it all?
- Despite all the family drama and the almost arrest of Stan, the Delaney experience a pretty happy ending for the most part. What are your thoughts on their storylines as a whole?
- The 2020 fires of Australia and eventually the COVID-19 pandemic both make appearances in the novel. Were you surprised to see real-life events in this fiction novel? Will this be the norm going forward?
- So let’s get to the twist of the ending! Just when it seems like everything wrapped up nicely (minus the COVID mentions), we learn Savannah’s true, dark secret. Did she murder her mother? What happens next?
- How does this book compare to Liane’s other novels?
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for Apples Never Fall! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz
Another entertaining thriller-type story is We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz.
Emily is having the time of her life—she’s in the mountains of Chile with her best friend, Kristen, on their annual reunion trip, and the women are feeling closer than ever. But on the last night of the trip, Emily enters their hotel suite to find blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says the cute backpacker she brought back to their room attacked her, and she had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Even more shocking: The scene is horrifyingly similar to last year’s trip, when another backpacker wound up dead. Emily can’t believe it’s happened again—can lightning really strike twice?
Back home in Wisconsin, Emily struggles to bury her trauma, diving headfirst into a new relationship and throwing herself into work. But when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to confront their violent past. The more Kristen tries to keep Emily close, the more Emily questions her motives. As Emily feels the walls closing in on their cover-ups, she must reckon with the truth about her closest friend. Can Emily outrun the secrets she shares with Kristen, or will they destroy her relationship, her freedom—even her life?
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
You should check out The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave if you haven’t yet!
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.
As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.
Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.
With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Meis a riveting mystery, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn.
You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here.
Happy reading! Let me know your thoughts about book club questions for Apples Never Fall!