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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Andrew Smith Saturdays! Discussion: In The Path of Falling Objects: Part One #readAlong

Welcome to Andrew Smith Saturdays! Today we'll be discussing the first part of IN THE PATH OF FALLING OBJECTS. Feel free to jump in with any questions or other topics you might want to discuss from this section of the book.

In the Path of Falling Objects:
Part One: Pages 2-62 Discussion

1. In the beginning it seems as though Jonah and Simon have a pretty strong relationship. Do you think it began to suffer after the two met Mitch and Lilly or do you think they could have had some issues beforehand?

2. Simon and Jonah have been left in the most dire situation, yet somehow they've made a plan to seek out something... rather than be taken away by the Department of Family Services. How would you feel if you were in this situation? Would you be able to go on the journey that they have begun?

3. Okay, I know we're all thinking it.. What is up with Mitch and Lilly? Does Mitch and his creeptastic personality freak you out or fascinate you? And what about Lilly? She seems so nonchalant about everything.

4. What do you think of Matthew's letters and how they are woven into the story? Do you think there is some significance for this?


Okay. Let's talk! 
If there is something else you want to bring up and discuss, please do so. I would love to hear what you think.
We will discuss Part Two next Saturday. 
Don't forget to enter Adam's giveaway for a copy of STICK at the bottom of the post.


June: In the Path of Falling Objects (Hosted by Lady Reader’s Bookstuff)
  • 6/2: Part One: Pages 2-62
  • 6/9: Part Two: Pages 63-129
  • 6/16: Part Three: Pages 130-195
  • 6/23: Part Four: Pages 196-267
  • 6/30: Part Five: Pages 268-323
July: Stick (Hosted by Roof Beam Reader)
  • 7/7: First (Part 1): Pages 2-59
  • 7/14: First (Part 2): Pages 60-103
  • 7/21: Next (Part 1): Pages 107-216
  • 7/28: Next (Part 2): Pages 216-292
August: Ghost Medicine (Hosted by Not Now...I’m Reading)
  • 8/4: Chapter 1 - 8
  • 8/11: Chapter 9 - 15
  • 8/18: Chapter 16 - 22
  • 8/25: Chapter 23 - 29
September: The Marbury Lens (Hosted by Smash Attack Reads)
  • 9/8: Part One: The Amethyst Hour, Chapters 1-17
  • 9/15: Part Two: The Strange Boys, Chapters 18-30
  • 9/22: Part Three: Blackpool, Chapters 21-42
  • 9/29: Part Four: Chapters 43-48
  • 10/6: Part Five: Seth, Chapters 49-59


You must register for this event and participate in order to be eligible for prizes.

 Register --> Here.

Where to buy


Adam @ Roof Beam Reader is offering up one copy of Stick, as he is hosting the discussion for this book in July.

Open to US only. Must be 14 and older.
Please enter the giveaway on only one of the 4 host blogs.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Giveaway is open 6/1/12 12:01 AM until 6/14/12 11:59 PM.

Winner will be announced on Roof Beam Reader!

Awesome reading material: Check

Mind-fuckery: Check

Discussion with other lovers of the written word: Check

Please join us in celebrating the amazing
Andrew Smith!


  1. LOVE the Qs, Amy!

    I definitely think there was tension prior but that is common with siblings. I do think Simon my have felt a little isolated, or just not included. Simon and Matthew had a special relationship and since Simon was the baby, he was protected from reality a bit more. There may have been some attachment issues too, since mom was MIA most of the time and dad in jail. I think Simon connected with Mitch because he felt accepted but also because I think Mitch is a master manipulator.

    You would be surprised at the strength and resiliency kids possess, but they are also so fragile and look to adults for protection and comfort. I have no idea if I would have been able to set off on their journey, and I am still amazed at the bravery they showed throughout it.

    Mitch is fascinating AND creepy. I work in mental health and love analyzing him. Right off the bat I wondered if he was manipulating the situation or just a nice guy…

    I cannot state how amazing Matthew’s letters are! I am curious to see if they in anyway parallel Jonah and Simon’s journey…

    1. Thanks, Ash!

      I agree that there was some prior tension between the boys. I'm wondering if maybe it could have something to with the fact that Simon was not just sheltered but basically disowned even before mom went MIA. Even though Jonah didn't treat him badly he looked after him and acted as a parental figure--rather than treating him equal, like a brother.
      I also agree with you that Simon connected Mitch because of acceptance reasons.

      I think when put in this situation you do what you have to do to get by. (Hopefully!) That goes for children as well as adults. If I were faced with going in search of family, etc. or being taken by the government and separated from my brother, I'm pretty sure I would make the same decision as the boys. I don't think there was any other option for them. They were already alone and taking care of themselves. So sad to think this actually happens to kids.

      Okay, Mitch is a freaking psycho. I'm sure that he's up to something, no way just a nice guy. Given the fact that he had been talking to himself in the middle of the night and the horrific incident with the coyote, I'm quite certain this cat is a nut-job.

      I am in awe of Matthew's letters. I'm excited and nervous about where they might go. Getting a glimpse into his world and the war is amazing and terrifying at the same time.

  2. Okay, the Braves got boring, so I'm here a little early.

    Man, I love this book. It's kind of the hardest of Andrew's novels for me to read, because it parallels some things I've been through, but, it's still an incredible novel.

    So, here are my answers:

    1) I think Jonah and Simon had sibling rivalry issues long before they met Mitch and Lilly. Having grown up in a family where both parents where gone before we grew up, and then the oldest sibling was taken away from us younger two, I can say with absolute certainty that the dynamic with which you consider your sibling changes drastically. Personally, I was the only boy in the middle of three kids, so I had to take care of my little sister once our parents and older sister were gone, and even we butted heads from time to time. If she'd been a boy, and a little close to my age (like Simon was to Jonah) there would have been a lot of fighting.

    2) It doesn't come up until much later in the book, but once we discover exactly the kind of living conditions the boys were in, I think there's no question that they had to leave. Obviously, that decision still requires a lot of courage and determination, but I've run away from both home and reform school in my own life, once making it from Atlanta to Minneapolis, and once making it from Idaho to Seattle, so I know first hand what's it's like to be a runaway, fighting for survival, and while it can be very scary, it's another reason I love this book so much.

    3) This is a tough one for me to answer, because I'm not reading along, and can only answer in the context of the whole novel, as I remember it. But, I think it's clear that Lilly has suffered abuse, and is looking to Mitch to save her, in a twisted, co-dependent, irrational kind of way. Mitch, who's clearly a manipulative nutcase, is definitely a character who fascinates me.

    4) I'll try to answer this only based on the novel, and not what I know about the author's life, but I think the letters from the older brother Matthew provide great context for the boys' journey. They mostly discuss what Matt is going through, rather the the life they all had together before he left, but they do touch from time to time on how Matt would like Jonah to take care of Simon, and I think that adds some extra tension to their relationship dynamic.

    And I'm glad I stopped by when I did, because the Braves just took the lead again!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Matt.

      It is difficult for me to keep some of the reality from the fiction as well. I have to filter my answers and opinions.

    2. I hear you. It's hard to answer about just a section of the book too, when the whole novel sticks in your mind the way Andrew's books do.

  3. Hi Amy! I'm joining the read along since I've never read anything by Andrew Smith. I can already tell this is going to be an amazing book. Anyway, here are my answers to the questions.

    1. I think there was definitely tension beforehand. It seemed like it was just normal brotherly tension to me, but who knows it could be something more. Mitch and Lilly aren't helping though and Mitch is preying on Simon's naivety.

    2. I could never say what I would do in a situation like this, but I understand Jonah's reasons. He's worried about his brother, even though they don't get along all the time. I think it's a kind of admirable of him to take matters into his own hands so he can protect his brother.

    3. Mitch definitely freaks me out. He was creepy from his first appearance. I certainly wouldn't have consented to take a ride from him. Lilly is a little more mysterious to me. I'm not sure if she's just desperately clinging to Mitch, using him for a ride, or if she's unwillingly riding with him.

    4. I like Matthew's letters. I'm not sure they're significant yet, but I'm eager to see how they will be. The fact that Jonah carries them around is definitely a testament to his attachment to his older brother.

    Thanks for the questions!

    1. Hi Laura!

      I'm so glad that you decided to join us! I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I love every one of Andrew's books.

      I think this is going to be a fun read-A-long. We have some super awesome people that are participating. I love it even more so that this is your first book to read by Andrew. It would be fabulous to experience all of his novels again for the very first time. I'm actually quite envious of you! ;)

      My answers and opinions are up above a little. Right above Matthew's. However, I will add a few things to what you've said.

      1. I totally believe that Mitch is preying on Simon's naïvety.

      2. I agree that it is admirable and also very brave for Jonah to step up and try to be the adult in the situation.

      3. Like I said above.. Mitch is whacked. There is something going on with him. I just know that he is up to no good. And I so agree with you about Lilly. I can't quite figure out what she's doing with Mitch. With the psychotic way he acts, she could be forced to be riding with him. I suppose we will soon find out.

      4. I'm glad you brought up the fact that Jonah carries Matthew's letters around with him. He even has them in perfect order from how they arrived. It does show the attachment, respect and love that he has for his older brother.

      Thanks for joining us for Part One and I can't wait to discuss Part Two.


  4. 1. I feel like the two might have issues before - it's hard to imagine that, since they are feeling abandoned by their parents (mother especially) and brother, that they might naturally come together for support, but also be rather antagonistic towards each other.

    2. I'm really not sure if it was a decision on their part, or a lack of alternative. They didn't really see "Family Services" as being an option, because it likely would have split them up.. and they're all they've got now. In their situation, I'm not sure what I would do.. I'd like to think that I'd try to do right by my brother, but heading out on the road with no food & no money doesn't really seem like the right choice to me.

    3. I definitely got weird vibes from Mitch at the start - but something about Lilly bothers me too. I feel like they're both dangerous, but which one is actually worse? TBD.

    4. The letters seem important.. they keep the brothers' hope alive and give them that continued sense of family. The letters also give them a destination - a goal point, without which I think they may have just given up and let Family Services take 'em away.

  5. I'm still waiting for my copy to get here, so as soon as it does I'll chime in!

    1. No worries, Allie. Jump in whenever you get the chance. I can't wait to hear what you think about PATH!

      Thanks for stopping by and letting me know!


  6. I'm not much to read YA but I do have a nice collection of book review blogs on my sidebar, as a resource for authors. I'd love to add your site to my sidebar, hope you don't mind :)

    (Followed the link here from Matthew's blog)


    1. Hi Karen!

      I want to thank you so much for coming by after you saw Matthew post about the read-A-long. Especially if this genre isn't particularly your cup of tea.

      I am flattered that you would like to add my blog to your sidebar/website. I don't mind at all and I appreciate it very much so.

      Thanks again, Karen and I hope you'll come and visit on occasion. ;)


  7. Hey! I'm a little late with the discussion, but I just got my book over the weekend.
    I do think that that they have a strong relationship because of the situation that they're in, but Jonah is the big brother. There are things that Jonah knows but Simon doesn't so that immediately puts strain on the relationship. Mixed with normal sibling annoyingness and hard circumstances, and the tension is unavoidable. I think that Mitch and Lilly only magnify the weaknesses in their relationship. It also makes it easier for Mitch to play one against the other.

    2. I would make the journey if it meant that I got to stay with my family. (unless the family I'm running to would be the equivalent of strangers.) Growing up knowing that your family is you have, you do whatever it takes to stay together.

    3. I like Mitch more than Lilly. Not because he seems saner, but his dysfunction is apparent and he doesn't really try to hide it. With Lilly, its like everyone knows she's manipulating Jonah but trys to play it off as being friendly. Not sure where the manipulation is going, but it's there. I don't she's being nonchalant, I think she is trying to be the sanity to Mitch's insanity, but there's still something not right about her.

    4. I like the way that the letters are woven into the story and I believe that they are significant. I think that there is a family secret that has only been alluded to, but Matthew is significant to Jonah and Simon. There's definitely more to this story.

    1. "Not sure where the manipulation is going, but it's there. I don't she's being nonchalant, . . . there's something not right about her."

      Yep, that's what I'm thinkin', too!

    2. I think she is using her looks and charm to control the situation as best she can, but I am unsure that she is totally wicked. She's hard to read!

  8. I'm sorry for being late to the party. Moving sucks! I agree with Ash. These are great questions. Okay let's see...

    1. I think they've always been at odds. Most teenage siblings usually are, right? I think once they meet up with Mitch and Lilly things become more strained.

    2. If my only alternative was being separated from the only family I had left I think I would definitely undertake the journey.

    3. s it just me or does Mitch remind anyone else of harles Manson? Okay maybe it's just me then. The dude creeps me out. That whole scene when Jonah is pretend asleep in the back seat of the car while Mitch is off talking to himself freaked me out big time. I don't trust Lilly as far as I can throw her. Just when I think she's acting in self-preservation she does something that makes me think otherwise. I'm keeping my eye on her for sure.

    4. I love that the letters were added throughout the chapters. I think as the letters go on we're going to see what happened that made the boys decide to take off on their journey. That's my theory anyway.

    1. Mitch is definitely unhinged. Lily is wicked confusing, right?

    2. Definitely. Something's up with that broad. I just can't put my finger on what exactly it is.