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Book Club Discussion Questions
1. Stella moves across the country for a dream job after college. Is it easier to take big risks when you're young, but don't know any better, or when you're older with a better support system in place--but perhaps more 'baggage'-- for life changes?
2. This book takes place in 2004. Would today's technology (i.e. cell phones, tiny video cameras) have made Stella's job more or less difficult? Would it have many any difference?
3. Vindi, though abrasive when we first meet her, turns out to be one of Stella's best resources and allies throughout the book. How does helping Stella help Vindi? Why is it important to help lift other women up (versus compete with them) at work and at home?
4. Stella's big moment--when she has the big lead with her extortion story and live interview--is mostly ruined by things out of her control. Did she handle the situation well? What could she have done better? What would you have done?
5. The magpie is referenced throughout the book as a dangerous pest you can't get rid of. How did the birds relate to other characters in the book?
6. There are many strong and influential women in The Big Lead. From Stella and Vindi, to Judge Griffin, all the way down to minor characters like the doctor who treats Stella at the hospital. Which relationships are the most important to the story, and to Stella and Vindi ultimately solving the crime?
7. In the book, Stella says that the sheriff and prosecutor talking about her made her feel like she was back in middle school, "when everyone was ugly on the inside and outside." Do you agree with her, and if so, what do you think makes middle school so difficult for so many people?
8. Paul seems like the perfect first boss. He helps Stella learn her way around town, introduces her to all the right people, and gives guidance when needed. How can a boss make or break your experience at work? What tricks do you have to keep a bad boss from ruining your job?
9. When we first meet Janet, she seems like an adversary, but she soon becomes one of Stella's allies, telling her about the sheriff and Heather's relationship, and even tracking down Meg and Austen for the live interview. How does Stella turn their relationship around? Would you have put in the time and effort?
10. Though they didn't know each other well, Stella and John had chemistry from the beginning. Why was Stella attracted to John? Why was John attracted to Stella?
11. We learn toward the end of the book that John renewed his contract in Bozeman for Stella, after only knowing her for three weeks. Can you imagine taking such a risk? They're both in their early twenties, does their age make it seem less or more risky?