Book club questions for This Is Not How It Ends by Rochelle B. Weinstein will focus on the character development and major plot points in the moving novel. For more context about the story, check out my spoiler-free review.
When Charlotte and Philip meet, the pair form a deep and instant connection. Soon they’re settled in the Florida Keys with plans to marry. But just as they should be getting closer, Charlotte feels Philip slipping away.
Second-guessing their love is something Charlotte never imagined, but with Philip’s excessive absences, she finds herself yearning for more. When she meets Ben, she ignores the pull, but the supportive single dad is there for her in ways she never knew she desired. Soon Charlotte finds herself torn between the love she thought she wanted and the one she knows she needs.
As a hurricane passes through Islamorada, stunning revelations challenge Charlotte’s loyalties and upend her life. Forced to reexamine the choices she’s made, and has yet to make, Charlotte embarks on an emotional journey of friendship, love, and sacrifice—knowing that forgiveness is a gift, and the best-laid plans can change in a heartbeat.
This Is Not How It Ends is a tender, moving story of heartbreak and healing that asks the question: Which takes more courage—holding on or letting go?
Book Club Questions for This Is Not How It Ends
- The story starts off with Charlotte intervening and helping Jimmy, Ben’s son. What did you think about the opening?
- For a portion of the story, it alternates between the past when Charlotte and Phillip fell in love to the present where there’s distance. Let’s talk about the beginning of Charlotte and Phillip’s love story. How did this storytelling style slowly reveal the distance that grew between Charlotte and Phillip?
- In the present, Charlotte is lonely with Phillip gone all the time. At one point she believes she’s pregnant and he doesn’t seem excited, which pushes her away even more. Charlotte’s mother passed away from cancer so Phillip is all she has. Let’s talk about how her loneliness really impacted her.
- Now let’s talk about the growing friendship and eventual romance between Charlotte and Ben. Why do you think they were so drawn to each other? What do you think about their romance?
- During the hurricane, Charlotte and Ben finally give into their feelings and sleep together. Charlotte is going to tell Phillip that she’s leaving him but she finds out that Phillip is in the hospital. She’s devastated and pushes Ben away. Let’s say that Phillip wasn’t sick—do you think Charlotte would have left him?
- Did you start to suspect that something more was going on with Phillip? What did you think when you found out that he had cancer?
- Why do you think it was so important for Charlotte to still marry Phillip even as he was dying?
- Phillip passes away and Ben moves back to New York with Jimmy. Why do you think Charlotte couldn’t be honest with how she felt to Ben?
- Charlotte eventually finds a letter from Phillip where he tells her he knew that she and Ben fell in love and he gives her the ok to go and live her life with him. Let’s discuss the letter.
- What did you think about when Charlotte went to New York and the restaurant employees made it sound like Ben was with a wife? Did you think it was over or do you know it would end happily?
- And yes, it’s a happy ending—with Charlotte and Ben marrying and her getting pregnant. Let’s talk about the ending!
- What do you think are some of the key takeaways and lessons from this story?
- If they made this book into a movie or TV series, who do you think should play the key major roles?
What To Read Next
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for This Is Not How It Ends! I just love contemporary stories—they are by far the most relatable of all the genres. Here are some more recommendations along with links to discussion questions.
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
Prior to This Is Not How It Ends, the last story that pulled at my heartstrings was definitely The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez. I know, the cover is cutesy and there are some sweet scenes but I’m telling you—there’s a very emotional story in there.
Kristen Peterson doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.
Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen — especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.
The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
Katherine Center’s novels are so good! And they will definitely get to you as well. Last year’s Things You Save in a Fire is another great one to read.
Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s a total pro at other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to give up her whole life and move to Boston, Cassie suddenly has an emergency of her own.
The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew—even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the infatuation-inspiring rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because love is girly, and it’s not her thing. And don’t forget the advice her old captain gave her: Never date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…and it means risking it all—the only job she’s ever loved, and the hero she’s worked like hell to become.
Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt and healing tour-de-force about the strength of vulnerability, the nourishing magic of forgiveness, and the life-changing power of defining courage, at last, for yourself.