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A .

madeleine kuderick


To fifteen-year-old Kenna, everything is a potential tool for self-harm: razor blade, Club
safety pin, a pencil eraser rubbed fast against skin. After she’s caught in the school Pick!
bathroom cutting herself with the blade from a pencil sharpener, Kenna is put
under mandatory psychiatric watch. She has 72 hours to face her addiction, deal
with rejection, and find a shred of hope.

1. Kenna uses the phrase “like the good little Baker Actors that we are”
(page 17) when she’s first brought into the psychiatric ward. What is
ironic about the words “Baker Actors”?
2. How is drawing an escape for Kenna in a way that cutting is not? 11. Why does Kenna think “it would be so much easier” (page 94) if she
3. Why doesn’t Kenna want anyone to see her take the help paper during had a reason for cutting? Why does she think not having a reason
her therapy session (page 57)? Why is she scared of the words coming makes her situation worse?
true? 12. How does Skylar’s butterfly ultimately help both Kenna and Skylar?
4. What does Kenna mean when she says “my cuts are so much prettier” How is Kenna’s butterfly a positive symbol for her recovery?
(page 59)? Why does she think she’s not as deeply addicted as the 13. Why do you think Kenna turns to prayer toward the end of her stay in
other kids in the ward? the ward? Does it help her come to terms with her issues?
5. Why does Kenna choose to hang out with Rennie’s crowd at school 14. Jag doesn’t appear often in the novel; yet when he does, his presence is
even though she knows it means she has to cut to be accepted? powerful. How does his minimal interaction with Kenna profoundly
6. How is cutting like a drug for Kenna (page 66)? Why does she feel change her?
guilty after she does it? 15. What triggers Kenna to flush Donya’s silver stud? Why does Kenna
7. Why does Kenna ultimately choose the paper with the word “hope” say it “feels like a freaking train wreck” even though she stopped
(page 68)? herself from cutting (page 197)?
8. How is cutting a competition for popularity among Kenna and her 16. The novel ends with Kenna’s reflection, “I do feel like I have a choice.
peers, especially Tara and Rennie? Like a fork in the road or whatever” (page 201). Do you think Kenna’s
time in the ward was enough of a wake-up call to keep her away from
9. How do the internet and social media further influence young future self-harm?
people’s desire to inflict self-harm, like in the situation with Tara and
#cut4sid? 17. Imagine the next 72 hours of Kenna’s life after she leaves the ward.
How do you think she feels? How will her family and friends react?
10. How does seeing the traumatized little boy locked up in the ward set Will she be ostracized at school? Discuss the many scenarios of life
Kenna in motion to overcome her addiction? after being Baker Acted.

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