Honey Book Club Guide


Are you part of a book club or are you looking to start one? Honey by Brenda Brooks makes a great book club pick! We have included everything from discussion questions to the perfect cocktails and music to pair with this novel. For readers of Sharp Objects comes a thrilling modern noir with a fresh narrative voice that explores coming of age, desire, and the lengths we’ll go to for love.

When 24-year-old Nicole Hewett’s beloved childhood friend, Honey, returns to their small northern town after an unexplained six-year absence, Nicole realizes how her life had stalled without her. But the prodigal returns with troubling secrets, and before long Nicole is drawn into a high-stakes game. Honey is a thrilling, sensuous modern noir novel with a classic refrain: nothing is more dangerous than love.  


Book Club Questions


  1. At the end of the novel, the “film club” in the psych ward breaks into two camps: romantics and realists. Which side does Honey fall on? Which camp do you think the author is in? Where do you think you land? See if the rest of the discussion changes your mind.
  2. How is the setting, the down-and-out small town of Buckthorn, important to the story?
  3. Did Nicole’s desire for Honey surprise you? If not, when did you know Nicole was starting to see her as more than a friend?
  4. Did the Eldorado strike you as symbolic? What does it represent to Honey? To Nicole?
  5. Honey is in many ways a classic “femme fatale,” who lures an unsuspecting lover into dangerous situations with her charm and feminine wiles. Does Honey challenge this archetype at all?
  6. Honey has only one principal male character, Detective Smith. Did the all-female cast make you see the story any differently? What different perspective does a woman writer bring to a notoriously masculine genre?
  7. Nicole and Honey love old movies and often quote them. What does that bring to the story? Were there parts of the book that you found cinematic?
  8. Nicole’s father is dead before the story begins, yet he’s an important touchpoint at the beginning and the end of the story. What does Nicole’s father represent?
  9. Nicole is the moral compass of the book, whereas Honey is more practical. How much do you think this has to do with class, with upbringing, with circumstances? Is Honey morally fluid because she needs to be? Do you think any of her tough girl persona is an act?
  10. Nicole shares many memories of her and Honey as kids. What effect do these memories have on how we see Honey and their relationship?
  11. Honey is set up as a shady character, but can we trust Nicole’s version of events? Are there any reasons she might not be a reliable witness?
  12. It’s clear by the end that Nicole wants nothing more than Honey. What do you think Honey wants?

Cocktails, Anyone?

Who’s for throwing themselves into a vintage Cadillac and setting off on a road trip? Breakfasts at lonesome diners, nights at motels with pictures of ducks and marshes hanging askew on the faux-cedar paneling. What could be better? Answer: sipping cocktails and chatting about books somewhere warm and dry. Honey pairs well with just about any drink, especially those great Provençal rosés of Bandol, but here are a few custom cocktails if you want to pull out all the stops. Cheers to the unexpected twists and turns in fiction, and in life. To heartbreak, and ruin, and the sensual glories of being human. But, above all, here’s to love.

Shady Lady

1 oz melon liquer
1 oz (or more) tequila
3 oz (or less) grapefruit juice
cracked ice
2 or 3 twists of lemon sliver of lime
2 cherries
Combine melon liqueur, tequila, grapefruit juice, and cracked ice in a shaker. Shake until frosty. Pour over cubed ice in highball glass. Decorate with twist of lemon, lime, and cherries. Enjoy, ideally on a Mediterranean beach.

The Eldorado

2 oz of the best bourbon someone else’s money can buy
3⁄4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
3⁄4 ounce honey simple syrup
Combine ingredients in a shaker. Pour into a thrift-store glass. Drink straight up, then lie down.

Gunshot Cracked

1 oz vodka
2 oz beef consommé
3 shots tomato juice
1 dash lemon juice
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
celery salt

Mix ice with vodka, beef consommé, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce in shaker. Pour
into tall glass. Sprinkle with celery salt, cozy up in your brand new comforter, and watch Rebecca.

The Wasted MG

4 oz gin
1 stuffed queen-size olive
Pour gin into massive glass of cracked ice. Add olive and enjoy.

Honey Playlist

If cocktails aren’t your thing, why not slip behind the wheel, roll down the windows, and head out onto the highway, accompanied by this handy soundtrack laced with Honey ambience. You can stream this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music. (Search for “Honey: A Good Playlist for Girls Gone Bad.”)
“Unforgettable” — Nat King Cole
“Poor Side of Town” — Johnny Rivers
“A Lover’s Concerto” — The Toys
“River” — Joni Mitchell
“She” — Charles Aznavour
“Walk on By” — Dionne Warwick
“Body and Soul” — Billie Holiday
“Stardust” — Nat King Cole
“Since I Fell for You” — Nina Simone
“I’d Rather Go Blind” — Etta James
Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2 — Vladimir Ashkenazy
“I Put a Spell on You” — Nina Simone
“Stop This World” — Diana Krall
“Crying in the Chapel” — Elvis Presley
“Ain’t No Sunshine” — Elise LeGrow
“I Did Something Bad” — Taylor Swift
“Suspicious Minds” — Elvis Presley
“You’re My Thrill” — Billie Holiday
“Temptation” — Diana Krall
“Cry Me a River” — Ella Fitzgerald
“Oh, Lady Be Good!” — Ella Fitzgerald
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” — Bonnie Tyler
“Just Like a Woman” — Bob Dylan
“Bad Girls” — Donna Summer
“Mad About You” — Hooverphonic with Noémie Wolfs
“Together Again” — Janet Jackson

Download the complete Honey Book Club Guide here.

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