The Ones We Trust discussion questions

  1. Abigail feels responsible for Chelsea’s suicide, so much so she abandoned a successful career because of it. Can you relate to how Abigail allows guilt to drive her decisions? What other big decisions in the story does her guilt have a part in shaping?

  2. What does the title, The Ones We Trust, mean to you? Discuss all the ways the characters had to learn to trust, not only others but also themselves. 

  3. As a journalist, Abigail believes that public enlightenment is the cornerstone of democracy, and that it is not just her job but her duty to seek and report the truth. Her father’s life and career, on the other hand, were built on a need-to-know basis. Whose viewpoint do you more relate to? Why? In the end, how did Abigail and Tom reconcile their beliefs with what happened?

  4. Jean’s request sparks Abigail’s desire to write again,“something positive and good and important,” but her fear of making the same mistakes holds her back. Can you relate to wanting something that scares you? How do your own fears play a role in the choices you make in your life?

  5. Abigail claims that “words, even when they’re carefully crafted, can be just as deadly as a bullet.” Do you agree? 

  6. What scenes or developments in the novel affected you most? Which character’s motivations and choices could you most relate to?

  7. How does public perception of Gabe differ from how Abigail views him? What was your impression of Gabe? Did your perception of him change during the story?

  8. Gabe is determined to discover the truth about who shot his brother, even lying and stealing in order to get it. Do you think his methods were justified? Can you relate to his steadfast belief that the truth would bring closure to his tragedy?

  9. According to Jean, “Anger can be like a buoy. Sometimes it feels like the only thing holding your head above water, but you have to let go of it at some point. Otherwise, you’ll never make it back to shore.” Do you understand what she meant by this? And is letting go of anger ever that easy?

  10. How do Abigail and Gabe change over the course of the novel? Which character changes the most, which the least?