This month’s FYA Book Club selection is Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. Check out the discussion questions below! (Slight spoilers ahead.)

P.S. If you’ve already read the book, feel free to add any other discussion questions of your own in the comments!


Until the very end of the book, Katherine refuses to give up wearing a corset, even when she’s heading into battle against shamblers. What’s the one vanity or luxury you wouldn’t give up, even during a zombie apocalypse?


1. What did you think of this alternate American history timeline Ireland has created? What was the most surprising “alternate” thing that happened (aside from the shamblers, natch)?

2. From the mentality of the Survivalists to the enduring post-slavery racism, Justina Ireland utilizes an historical context to draw parallels to current day issues. Was there a particular connection to a present day problem that resonated most with you?

3. Jane is a practiced liar, a self-proclaimed murderer, and thinks her own soul is beyond redemption. What did you think of her as a character? Did your impression of her change throughout the novel?

4. Jane’s mother’s story is released in bits and pieces through her letters and Jane’s memories. Did you find her to be a sympathetic character? Were you surprised by the reveal that McKeene was actually Jane’s father and it was her mother who was passing light?

5. Jane describes Cora, one of the Black workers in Summerland, as “one of those people that never learned to breathe, never understood the true meaning of freedom. She’s a dog, happy even with a cruel master.” While we don’t get to know Cora’s character very well, could you understand her mentality? Does Jane’s attitude towards Cora imply any privilege? Why or why not?

6. Did you trust Gideon? Do you expect his vaccine will work?

7. What do you think will happen in the next book? Any predictions?

This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.