Quaking

Quaking

by Kathryn Erskine

Paperback

$7.99
View All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

Goth girl Matt lives her life by simple rules: Stay under the radar, never go by Matilda (only Matt), and don't let anyone get too close. But everything changes when she moves in with a peaceful Quaker family in Pennsylvania. As the country fights a war in the Middle East, Matt fights her own personal war, battling bullies of her past and present and fighting to stand up for her belief in peace. Then violence erupts in town, and Matt finds that she will need to fight even harder to save the family she is starting to love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142414767
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/18/2010
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Kathryn Erskine spent many years as a lawyer before realizing that she’d rather write things that people might actually enjoy reading. She grew up mostly overseas and attended eight different schools, her favorite being the Hogwarts-type castle in Scotland. The faculty, of course, did not consist of wizards, although . . . how did the headmistress know that it was “the wee redhead” who led the campaign to free the mice from the biology lab? Erskine draws on her childhood—and her second childhood through her children—for her stories. She still loves to travel but nowadays most trips tend to be local, such as basketball and tennis courts, occasional emergency room visits, and the natural food store for very healthy organic chocolate with “life saving” flavonoids.

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

Don't call her Matilda. Her name is Matt. And don't even think about getting close to her. She doesn't need anyone. Can't you tell by looking at her, dressed all in black with a spider painted on her face and her ice-cold stare? But most of all, do not bully her. She has been through it all already.

But everything changes for fourteen-year-old Matt when she moves in with peaceful Quakers Sam and Jessica Fox, who are active in the movement against the war in the Middle East. Soon, conflict arises in town over the war, and suddenly, no one is safe. Matt fears for her safety and the safety of her new family. Could the boy who terrorizes her at school be behind it all? And how can she save the family she is actually growing to love when her fear always leaves her quaking?

 


ABOUT KATHRYN ERSKINE

Kathryn Erskine spent many years as a lawyer before realizing that she’d rather write things that people might actually enjoy reading. She grew up mostly overseas and attended eight different schools, her favorite being the Hogwarts-type castle in Scotland. The faculty, of course, did not consist of wizards, although . . . how did the headmistress know that it was “the wee redhead” who led the campaign to free the mice from the biology lab? Erskine draws on her childhood—and her second childhood through her children—for her stories. She still loves to travel but nowadays most trips tend to be local, such as basketball and tennis courts, occasional emergency room visits, and the natural food store for very healthy organic chocolate with “life saving” flavonoids.

 


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • How would you describe Matt when she first comes to live with the Foxes?
     
  • Describe Matt’s appearance. What does this say about her personality?
     
  • Her real name is Matilda. Why do you think she wants to be called Matt?
     
  • On the surface, Matt seems very different from the Foxes. But we learn that they are not as different as they seem. In what ways are they similar? In what ways are they different?
     
  • The Rat induces extreme fear in Matt. What is it about him and what he does that scare her so much?
     
  • Why are the LifeSavers so important to Matt?
     
  • Matt tells Jessica that she hates cheese. Why does she do this?
     
  • In the beginning of the book, Matt assumes that Sam is not smart. Why do you think she makes this assumption? What causes her to change her mind?
     
  • Jessica slowly earns the respect of Matt. How does she do this? What about Jessica does Matt come to admire?
     
  • What significance does the apple crisp have for Matt?
     
  • What does Maggie Mahone’s shawl represent to Matt?
     
  • What is the purpose of the Blob? Why do you think Matt is so disgusted by him? What makes her come around?
     
  • What role do the invisible characters (Matt’s mother, Matt’s father, George Fox, Fatima) play in the story?
     
  • Matt finds a lot of strength throughout the book. How does she find this strength?
     
  • Matt tells Mr. Morehead that she is a Quaker. Do you think she is a Quaker? Why do you think she tells him this?
     
  • In the Meeting House, Matt is distracted by a bird. What do you think is the significance of this bird?
     
  • Before reading this book, what did you know or think of Quakers? How have your ideas changed?
     
  • Violence is a major theme in Quaking. How does violence affect each of the major characters? Think of Matt, Sam, Jessica, even the Rat and Mr. Morehead.
     
  • How do you think you’d handle being in Matt’s situation? What would you do? Who or what would you turn to for help?
     
  • Imagine Matt five years from the end of the book. Where do you see her?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Quaking 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
arlo hettle More than 1 year ago
Quakaing is not your average book it is really sad but it really makes you want to keep reading it. Afterwards you will want to read more by this author but this is her best book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
my mom's roomie in college is the author of this book so its neat to have a connection. matt taking a journey that challenges her in life, has many battles to face, emotionally & physically. while dealing w/ a new family and simply trying to make it through school, matt is a relatable character to many teenagers such as myself who often feel alone & unwilling to take care from others. it's a poweful story & a must read for any teen!
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first I didn't know if i would like this book, but once I started reading I couldn't stop. I loved the syle of the writing and I was always intrested in Matt's emotional changes and conflicts.
MeriJenBen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Matt - short for Matilda - has spent years bouncing from one distant relative to the next. She expects her time with Sam and Matt to be more of the same. However, she is surprised to discover that her new family are Quakers, and that they seem to accept her as she is. Fearful, but intrigued by the message of love and peace that Sam and Matt share; her new found beliefs bring her into conflict with a pro-war teacher and a bully who uses the Iraq conflict as an excuse for violence. I liked-not-loved this book. I thought it was an interesting approach to a topical subject, but felt that Erskine was trying to do too much. As a book about Matt or a book about violence against peace demonstrators, this book would have shined. As a mishmash of both, it felt muddled and rushed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another Stap at Life. by Hingman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked everything about this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
How can you not love a book that starts like this:

"Families come in all varieties but with no warranties. I have lived with first cousins twice removed, second cousins once removed, and now a third cousin who is removing herself. I call her Loopy. Because of her large earrings. And because she is insane.

Loopy drives like a ten-year-old car thief on a sugar high."

From the very beginning, Matt (not Mattie, and certainly not Matilda) has a chip on her shoulder. She's angry and cynical, and she has good reason to be. Loopy is about to dump her off at "the next hostile takeover."

"I finally found a second cousin of mine, but you need to make it work, Matt. This is the end of the line for you."

The end of the line is the home of Sam and Jessica Fox and their disabled foster son, the Blob. These aren't Matt's kind of people. For one thing, they're Quakers. They believe so strongly in peace that they don't even have the good sense to run and hide when bullies challenge them. They just stand there. That's what Sam calls it--taking a stand. As far as Matt can tell, it's just being plain stupid. Everyone knows you're supposed to run from bullies, and that's just what she intends to do if the Rat decides to make her the next Victim of bullying at her new school.

Kathryn Erskine never underestimates her readers as she allows this story to push the limits and tackle issues that most sweep under the rug when company is coming. I love Matt's sarcastic commentary on the state of the world as she faces the challenge of her own life. There is no doubt that this character is strong and capable--much like the writer who created her.

This is a book I'll keep on my shelf and come back to again and again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Using staccato sentences devoid of contractions and narrated in present tense, Quaking evokes the kind of raw emotion akin to road rash on your heart. The main character, Matt, is a young teen who has been shuffled from home to home. She has developed a thick skin and a healthy sense of self-preservation, as well as a plan to run away to Canada. That changes when she meets Sam and Jessica, Quaker relatives who take her in and are determined to love her¿whether she allows them to or not. The story revolves around Matt¿s interaction between the Foxes and their handicapped foster son, Rory. It presents some interesting perspectives on the Iraqi war as well as the subject of bullying and domestic violence. The characters are treated with such a tender touch that it is difficult not to be sucked into their world and to hope that Matt will be all right. Even more amazing, is the way the main characters are able to portray meekness without even the slightest hint of weakness. This book would have some curricular ties to any history class that discusses conscientious objectors, or classes that deal with religion or diversity.