A Reading Group Guide for: Downsiders
by Neal Shusterman About the Book
Below the city, in secret tunnels and cavernous spaces unknown to all but those who live there, is a place called the Downside — a tight-knit society several thousand strong. Talon Angler, a boy who lives in this underground world, has learned from his elders to shun the Topside — the world aboveground that we all know — yet Talon is somehow drawn to this world of light. When he accidentally meets Lindsay Matthias, a girl from a broken home, unhappy with the trajectory of her own life, it changes both of their worlds in ways neither of them could predict. Discussion Topics
• Talon and his friends Gutta and Railborn all catch glimpses of the Topside. Why do you think Talon is the only one so entranced by the Topside world he sees?
• The legend and lore of the Downsiders (for example, “if you see the sun, you’ll go blind”) is really designed to keep the young people in line. Can you think of any myths we have that regulate the behavior of young people?
• The Downsiders’ prejudices and misinformation about us help us see our own prejudices about others more clearly. What are some of the prejudices we carry around that we normally wouldn’t question? What myths do we believe about other peoples and cultures?
• Talon has three main sources of infor