Hanging on to Max


Margaret Bechard

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Minimum grade level: 


Discussion questions

  1. In the beginning, Sam has very little to do with Max and his mom. What made Sam change his mind and decide to take custody of Max?
  2. Sam experiences sexism as the only male in the program from the moms in the program and from the school administration. What are some examples? Is he treated unfairly or is it justified?
  3. Max's mom decides she can't handle being a teen mom and she moves out of state with her family to make a fresh start. Why do you think they decided to move? Do you think it will be difficult or easy for her to make a fresh start?
  4. Why is Sam's dad so against Sam taking the SATs? Do you agree or disagree with Sam's dad? Margaret Bechard went to Reed College and lives in the Portland area. Did you recognize any of the locations in the story?
  5. How would things be different if Sam's mom were still alive?
  6. What is the turning point that makes Sam decide to give up Max?
  7. Do you think Sam made the right choice? Why/why not?
  8. Did you like or dislike the epilogue at the end of the story?
  9. Was this a realistic portrayal of teenage parenthood? Did the story glamorize teen parenting?

If you like this book, try

  • If it Doesn't Kill You by Margaret Bechard
  • The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
  • Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.