Reading Guide

The discussion questions below have been prepared to facilitate the use of The Oyster Thief in book clubs and classrooms. Please note that the questions have been edited to remove spoilers. For a complete reading guide, refer to a copy of The Oyster Thief.


  1. What animal would you choose if you could have a muse?
  2. Rhodomela says: “In order to heal others, you have to first heal yourself…. Success is an outcome not of imitation, but of authenticity—of not abiding by the rules, but changing them. The questions are more important than the answers.” What do you think?
  3. What if merpeople existed? How do you think our relationship with them would be? And how do you think their lives would be similar to and different from the depiction in The Oyster Thief?
  4. Why do you think Abalone views and treats Coralline as she does?
  5. Izar expects his discovery of underwater fire to make him rich, even as merpeople go extinct. If one person or company profits at the expense of everyone else, should it be permitted to continue?
  6. “Infidelity is not an act, but a feeling,” Altair says. What’s your opinion?
  7. If there were an elixir that could save the life of someone you love, but if it were accompanied by a curse, would you try to find it?
  8. How would you compare the merpeople relationship with the natural world to the human relationship with the natural world?