- Romiette and Julio begins with a dream sequence. How is this effective in building suspense and introducing the main character?
- How does this method affect the reader's response? What predictions can the reader make about Romiette?
- Chapter two is written as a diary. As you first meet Jericho, how is he like many young people today? How is he different? What seem to be his biggest insecurities? His greatest strengths?
- Describe the relationship between the Romiette and Destiny. Why are they so close? How are they alike and how are they different?
- Why do you think the character of Destiny was given that name? What aspects of her personality and her actions make that name appropriate?
- What do you know of Thomas Jefferson High School from the descriptions given in the text? How would you describe the building itself, the teachers, the students, the administration, the "feel" of the school? How does it compare to high schools in your community? Why is a high school a good location to discuss serious teenage issues?
- What does Julio think of his new school and why? How does it compare to his old school? What are the positives and negatives of each school?
- How do you feel about Ben? Would he be a good friend to have? Does his physical appearance influence your viewpoint? Why or why not?
- Julio meets Romiette on the Internet. Trace the development of their online relationship. What is dangerous about such a relationship? How can websites such as myspace and other like it cause a danger to teenagers? Why are computers so important in the lives of young people?
- Julio had no say in the decision to move from Texas to Ohio. How can a move like that affect the life of a teenager? How do you think the move affected some of the decisions Julio made in the story?
- Describe the relationship between Julio and his parents. His relationship with his mother than the relationship with his father. Explain why. What had happened in his father's past to affect his attitudes? How did the strength of Julio's family make a difference in his life?
- Describe the negative instances of prejudice and unfairness that Julio faces at his new school? Why do you think people treat each other this way?
- Describe the relationship between the friends in the book. Is friendship enough when situations become monumental and overwhelming to young people? Explain.
- Describe the escalating confrontations between Julio the Devildogs. How could events have turned out differently? What would you have done in the same situation?
- What were your predictions about Destiny and the Secret Soulmate package? What about Romiette and her efforts to find her true love? Do you believe there is a way to predict the future or affect one's destiny? Explain.
- Discuss the character of Malaka and her relationship with Romiette and the gang. Does she have any redeeming qualities or is she purely a negative character? What might have made Malaka the person she is? Why do you think people become aligned with gangs?
- Several times in the novel, the similarity of Romiette and Julio's names with the title characters in Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet is noted. How else are Romiette and Julio and Romeo and Juliet's lives similar? What other characters are similar? Explain how.
- Discuss the role of Nannette in the story. What is her purpose?
- Compare and contrast the parents as the search is conducted for their children. How are the two mothers similar or different? How are the two fathers similar or different?
- What do you think about the end of the story? What would have been the effect on the novel if Romiette and Julio had died like their counterparts in the Shakespeare story? Which is more memorable and more powerful in a novel--tragedy or happiness? Explain.
- What might both adults and teens have accomplished if they had worked together and believed each other? What lessons might have been learned from the gang?
- Visualize the next ten years for Romiette, Julio, Ben, and Destiny. Create a scene in which they meet at a ten-year reunion. What will have happened to them and why?
- You are a reporter at one of the following scenes. Write the story for your newspaper.
- The search for Romiette and Julio
- The trial of the Devildogs and Malaka
- The school board meeting as they discuss gangs in the school
- Investigate teen Internet sites. What are there advantages, disadvantages, and dangers?
- Investigate current problems with gangs in high schools. What can be done about them? How can young people be discouraged from joining a gang?
- Investigate peer pressure. How can teenagers effectively cope with peer pressure?
- Write a letter to one of the characters in the book explaining your feelings about the events in the story. What advice would you give Destiny, or Ben, or Julio's parents? What would you say to Romiette?
- In diary form, write the life of Ben Olsen for several months. Include details about how he views life.
- Police officers play an important role in the lives of the students in this book--some positively, and others negatively. Discuss the role of a policeman in the lives of teenagers. Consider a career as a police officer. Find out how much college education is needed, how many years of study it takes, and what is required to have that occupation.
- Investigate the job of newspaper reporters and the roles they play in the community.
Investigate all the possible occupations associated with creating a television news show--producing, directing, writing, managing, etc.
ADDITIONAL WRITING ACTIVITIES
- COMPARISON PAPER
"She's a jewel in a pile of rocks. She's like chocolate cake for dinner--and I love chocolate!"
"My goodness. She's got you talking poetry!"
"Oh yes, Mama. The shape of her fingers, the curve of her back, the tilt of her head--all make me dizzy. I even like the sound of her voice--a little low and full of secrets. If she could put that voice of hers in a bottle and sell it, she'd be rich!"
Write a paper that uses unusual comparisons to make your point. By using comparisons, the things you describe should be clearly illuminated to your reader.
- DESCRIPTIVE PAPER
"She struggled, searching for air, for land, for something to hold onto. But there was only the water, pulling her into its depths. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't swim. She couldn't even scream. The water filled her, seared her thoughts, and she drifted slowly into unconsciousness. The fire cooled, the terror ebbed, and the dark shadow of death embraced her."
Write a descriptive paper that uses sensory imagery. Use vivid verbs and powerful adjectives and adverbs as you write. Use as many of the senses as you can. (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)
- NARRATIVE PAPER
"I know. Destiny, did you ever catch the Fantastic Five?"
"Once I got close. I wished on 1:11, then I caught 2:22. At 3:33, I was in the bathroom, but I remembered just in time and caught it and wished before it clicked over to 3:34. Then I just sat by the clock until 4:44. I knew I had it. I wished the same wish every time."
Write a narrative paper that talks about what you would wish for if you caught the "Fantastic Five" or what might happen if an imaginary character was able to do so.
- EXPOSITORY PAPER
"I'm terrified of water. I took swimming when I was little like everyone else, but I never learned. That's not exactly true. I learned how to swim, I just never got the nerve to let go. I know how to do rhythmic breathing, proper arm strokes. the flutter kick--all of that, but I just can't get away from the side of the pool. When I'm in the middle with nothing to hold onto, I panic. There's just nothing solid--nothing to grasp. The water slips through my hands and I flounder, then I start to sink, then I scream, then, of course, I get embarrassed. So I go to the pool, but I stay on the side, or splash with the little kids in the shallow end so their parents can go swim in the deep water. Even walking by the deep end makes me feel ill."
Write an expository (explanatory) paper on learning to swim or the fear of drowning.
- PERSUASIVE PAPER
"Yeah, so what's your point?"
"And I'm Black."
"Neither one of us noticed."
"Good, that's the way the world ought to be." Destiny had her own sense of world order.
Write a persuasive paper that argues the following point. "Racial or ethnic barriers should make no difference when it comes to romantic relationships." OR "Racial or ethnic barriers should be seriously considered when it comes to romantic relationships." You may agree or disagree with the statement, but you may only argue one side of the issue.
- CHARACTER SKETCH
Write a character sketch of Ben--what made him unique--his personality, his charm, his love of life. Use specifics from the book to illustrate your points.
Write a poem about one of the following topics: (or a similar topic)
- The Two of Us are Different
- True Love
- Strange Friends
- Fear and Terror
- Storm at Midnight