The Lovely Bones Discussion Questions

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been part of the whirlwind world of teaching middle school for 20 years. She has a Master of Education degree in instructional design.

'The Lovely Bones' is the haunting tale of a teenage girl who is brutally raped and murdered, her experience of the afterlife, and her family's grief. Use these discussion questions to help your high school students process the novel's themes.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones is narrated by main character Susie, from beyond the grave. Within the novel, she recounts her violent rape and murder, travels through multiple afterlife experiences, and watches as her family members each cope with her disappearance. Use these discussion questions to help your high school students process the complex themes of grief, the afterlife, and growing up. You may want to host a whole group discussion or provide student teams with a list of questions to answer together. After the discussion, you may also want to require a written response to one or more questions to serve as a summative assessment.


  • This novel contains mature sexual themes, including sexual violence. Although the discussion questions do not directly address the sexual violence, they do allude to the incident. Use your discretion in guiding student conversations and responses to these questions.
  • These questions are designed to be used after students have read the novel.

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