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Book Club Questions for Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle

Book Club Questions for Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle

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Book club questions for Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle takes a deep dive into this compelling novel about fate and choices. There will be spoilers so for more context about the story, check out my spoiler-free review here.

I really enjoyed this one! I like all of Rebecca Serle’s novels—not sure which one is my favorite. Each offer something different and distinct, but all have her signature readability writing style.

Let me know your thoughts about the book below!

The Synopsis

Daphne Bell believes the universe has a plan for her. Every time she meets a new manshe receives a slip of paper with his name and a number on it—the exact amount of time they will be together. The papers told her she’d spend three days with Martin in Paris; five weeks with Noah in San Francisco; and three months with Hugo, her ex-boyfriend turned best friend. Daphne has been receiving the numbered papers for over twenty years, always wondering when there might be one without an expiration. Finally, the night of a blind date at her favorite Los Angeles restaurant, there’s only a name: Jake. 

But as Jake and Daphne’s story unfolds, Daphne finds herself doubting the paper’s prediction, and wrestling with what it means to be both committed and truthful. Because Daphne knows things Jake doesn’t, information that—if he found out—would break his heart. 

Told with her signature warmth and insight into matters of the heart, Rebecca Serle has finally set her sights on romantic love. The result is a gripping, emotional, passionate, and (yes) heartbreaking novel about what it means to be single, what it means to find love, and ultimately how we define each of them for ourselves. Expiration Dates is the one fans have been waiting for.

Book Club Questions for Expiration Dates

  1. What are your overall thoughts about Daphne as protagonist? Did you find her relatable?
  2. For more than 20 years, Daphne has received a sheet of paper with her dating partner’s name and a date—the date is the exact time they’ll be together. Daphne never really questioned it much and just went along with the flow. How would you have reacted if you received something similar? Would you follow the expiration dates too or would you try to make your own decisions?
  3. This book covers fate and choices. What is your perspective on fate vs. choices?
  4. What is your impression of the dynamic between Daphne and Hugo? Why did they stay close after they broke up?
  5. Daphne receives the seemingly fateful paper about her blind date Jake—there’s no expiration date. Suddenly, Daphne realizes she is with the one. How did this impact how she approached her relationship with Jake?
  6. We eventually learn that Daphne is also carrying another huge secret—she has a very serious heart condition that has impacted her daily life. She’s not able to do physical activity, most likely can’t carry a baby, and her long-term quality of life is in question. How did her heart condition impact how she approached both dating and life in general?
  7. Why do you think she kept the heart condition a secret for so long?
  8. Hugo is the one she can’t see life without. But since she was only supposed to date him for a couple months, she has to break up with him, which is heart wrenching for both. And she ends up telling him both about her heart condition as well as the expiration date papers. Let’s talk about the significance of Daphne’s reveals to Hugo.
  9. Did you feel that her and Jake were a good fit? Why or why not?
  10. Hugo admits that he in fact wrote the note about Jake, because he wanted her to finally experience life without any limitations. How did this change everything for Daphne?
  11. Daphne eventually breaks up with Jake and after a time spent in Italy working, her and Hugo reconnect and get back together in LA. Do you feel they will stay together? Why or why not? What happens next for them?

Additional Recommendations

Hope you enjoyed book club questions for Expiration Dates! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

If you haven’t read One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle, be sure to add it to your list! I loved the setting in Italy. Check out my book club questions here.

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: to Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

The Celebrants by Steven Rowley

Another impactful story that will tug at your heartstrings is The Celebrants by Steven Rowley. Check out my book club questions here.

It’s been a minute—or five years—since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since their graduation from Berkeley when their adult lives officially began. Now Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle find themselves at the brink of a new decade, with all the responsibilities of adulthood, yet no closer to having their lives figured out. Though not for a lack of trying. Over the years they’ve reunited in Big Sur to honor a decades-old pact to throw each other living “funerals,” celebrations to remind themselves that life is worth living—that their lives mean something, to one another if not to themselves.

But this reunion is different. They’re not gathered as they were to bolster Marielle as her marriage crumbled, to lift Naomi after her parents died, or to intervene when Craig pleaded guilty to art fraud. This time, Jordan is sitting on a secret that will upend their pact.

Happy reading!