Questions for Discussion
1. In the opening of Promise Not To Tell
, Kate Cypher says, "I killed someone tonight." How did this shape your first impressions of Kate? Does her confession make her more trustworthy, or less so?
2. Promise Not To Tell
interweaves past and present from chapter to chapter. How did this affect your reading of the story? Do you think this was an effective structure?
3. Del and Kate are both outsiders, but in different ways. What are the differences? What are some of the similarities between the two girls?
4. Kate finds clues that her mother might have been out in the woods the night Tori was murdered. Should she have investigated this further or even gone to the police with her suspicions? Why or why not?
5. Kate says that once she loves someone, it's for life. How does the Nicky Kate meets as an adult compare to the Nicky she knew as a child? How have her feelings for him changed?
6. When Nicky tells Kate that he thinks Del has come back, Kate thinks about the pervasive legend of the Potato Girl. Why do you think Del has achieved such mythic status in town and what role do you think this plays in how people view Tori's murder?
7. Del's sheriff's star plays an important role in the story. Kate refers to the star as a talisman. What do you think the star symbolizes to Del? To Kate (as a kid and as an adult)? To Del's killer? Are there other talismans in the book?
8. How were you affected by Del? As you learn more and more about the secrets she kept, do you see her as a strong person or someone that needed to be protected?
9. At one point, Kate confesses that if she could go back and change any part of her life, the two moments she would redo take place on the day Del was killed. How does Kate's guilt over what happened that final day shape the woman she grows up to become?
10. Promise Not To Tell
takes place in the fictional town of New Canaan, Vermont. Much of the book is set at New Hope and the Griswolds' farm down the road. How important is the setting in the story?
11. Kate is a skeptic who struggles to find rational explanations for the bizarre events that begin happening to her. Would the story be different if she weren't so skeptical? Were you, as a reader, skeptical as well?
12. This book has elements of a coming of age novel, ghost story, and mystery. How would you define it? How does it compare to other books you've read in these genres?
13. All of the main characters are keeping secrets, some dangerous, some incriminating, some shameful. What importance do these secrets play in the story? Is there power in keeping a secret? Honor?
14. The final chapter is told from Opal's point of view. Why do you think the author chose to make this shift?