The First Stone
Chapter 1 (3-17)
1. The book opens with potential violence. Explain.
2. What ‘tragedy’ has Reef suffered?
3. Describe the Pit : A) its physical description and B) Its significance to
4. Scar – talked about but not seen. What do we know?
5. The end: worse than cops? What could that be?
Discuss swearing – its role in the story etc…
Chapter 2 (18-25)
1. Write a description of Leeza supported by at least 3 facts.
2. Does Leeza’s reaction to her sister’s death seem realistic – why or
3. Contrast the lives of Reef and Leeza. Use a T chart and the following
categories: Family, friends, personality type, living conditions
Chapter 3 (26-35)
1. Make a prediction as to how the demolition of the building will affect
2. The stone of the book’s title is presented as a symbol. List the ideas
associated with the stone.
3. This novel is set up as two narratives, with the two stories being told
side by side. Draw a diagram that represents the movement.
Chapter 4 (36-50)
1. Compare the throwing of the rock at the car to the throwing of a rock
in a lake. Note the accident’s ‘ripple’ effects.
2. In what ways does Scar fit in with the boys – and, at the same time,
not fit in?
Chapter 5 (51-59)
1. What is morphine? Look up information about this drug. How can it
both help and hurt a patient? How is it being used in the story?
2. If you are Leeza – hearing the conversations in the hospital – how
would you react?
3. Describe the mother’s emotional state.
Chapter 6 (60-71)
1. Why is the section on the name ‘Elizabeth’ included?
2. Knowing what Reef has done – predict a possible/reasonable
3. Write a paragraph on – the changes in the lives of Leeza and Reef.
Chapter 7 (72-83)
1. Why does Aker introduce trouble for Jink? How might this evolve?
2. List your reactions to the sentence under the following two headings:
Fair/Just and Unfair/Unjust.
3.Research on the Young Offender’s act?
Chapter 8 (84-93)
1. Why does Leeza’s stepfather have trouble dealing with the accident?
2. List the emotions being felt by Leeza in the chapter. For each point,
use a quotation to support your idea.
3. Describe Brett. What does/doesn’t the reader know about her?
4. “Anybody die? Just me.” Why does the author end the chapter this
Chapter 9 (94-109)
1. Reef’s emotions – anger … and what else? Prove.
2. Choice or no choice- sign or go to the judge. Why does Reef view this
as ‘no choice’?
After reading chapters 8 and 9 write a compare/contrast piece that
looks at the experiences Leeza and Reef are currently going through.
Chapter 10 (110-117)
1. Write a reflection – imagine yourself – tomorrow- stuck in the hospital
for three months. What would you miss? Who would you want to come
and visit? What food would you want a visitor to bring? What clothes
would you wear? Would you lose your part time job?
Chapter 11 (92-98)
1. Briefly list and describe the residents of the home.
2. List the things Reef is angry about.
Discussion of attitudes/ language/ feelings re: Teens and
Chapter 12 (99-109)
1. What is the purpose of the ‘team’ approach to Leeza’s recovery?
2. Describe the worst physical pain you have ever felt- what happened?
What words would you associate with that event?
3. In the end the mother and daughter cry- why?
1. How is swearing directly tied to Reef and his thoughts? What does
this say about the author’s use of swearing in the text?
2. How do the events of this chapter form an appropriate spot for the
author to end Part 1 of the book?
Chapter 14 (123-137)
1. Have you ever had rehabilitation work done? Known anyone who has?
Describe the situation.
2. Who is Shelly and what is her job?
3. List the various floors and the purpose of each.
4. What area does Reef choose – and why?
5. Briefly describe Brett as she appears in this chapter.
6. End of the chapter- Reef’s friends are coming for a visit. Why might
this make Reef nervous?
Chapter 15 (138-143)
1. Leeza is upset – heading into depression. List reasons that might be
contributing to this emotional problem.
2. How does the author hint at the trouble within Leeza’s family?
3. Brett talks of ‘fresh meat’. What does she mean? How is she trying to
4. Leeza details her interactions with guys. Explain.
Picture yourself- tubes, stitches, pins, rods – how would you react to
people you know? New people?
Chapter 16 (144-152)
1. What positive effects has living at the home had on Reef?
2. How do Scar, Jink and Bigger react to Reef? He to them?
3. In the scene with Alex- who is acting normally and who is
overreacting? Defend your answer.
Chapter 17 (153-158)
1. p.154 What do the italicized words represent?
2. Reef is still bothered by the condition of the people in the rehab.
Why does the author include that piece of information?
3. How is Leeza’s relationship with her mom changing?
Chapter 18 (159-167)
1. Describe Leeza’s humiliations in meeting Reef.
2. p.163 Leeza has a genuine, big laugh with Reef. What happens?
3. What triggers Leeza’s crying fit? How does Reef react?
4. Reef and Leeza share memories. What does this scene say about each
of them? About their relationship with each other?
5. The author has led the narrative to this point- Leeza and Reef
meeting. In a paragraph, decide if their reactions are ‘authentic’- has
the author adequately led the story to this point?
Chapter 19 (168-172)
1. How is the difference in Leeza noticeable to Brett? Leeza’s mother?
2. The reader is given a look at the relationship between Leeza’s mother
and the stepfather Jack. How has that relationship suffered during
3. What early experiences left Jack uncomfortable around sick
4. Using direct quotations, show that Leeza is maturing.
Chapter 20 (173-182)
1. Compare the girls Reef ‘used to know’ to Leeza.
2. How does Reef’s old life get re-introduced to the story?
3. When Reef sees Leeza again he feels awkward. Why?
4. How does lunch become an adventure for Leeza and Reef?
5. p.178 Reef finds himself impatient with rude people. Why is this
6. Reef tells her about Alex- but what part of the story does he choose
not to tell her? Why doesn’t he say anything?
7. When Leeza gets back she and Brett talk. What assumptions has
Leeza made about Reef?
How is the trip outside symbolic?
Chapter 21 (183-186)
1. Describe the circumstance under which Reef describes not cheating.
2. Use a quotation to prove that Leeza is having an effect of Reef.
3. The chapter ends with a line of foreshadowing. What might be wrong?
The author has deliberately kept the ‘real’ identities of the two
central characters hidden. Consider 3 ways that the truth might come
out- and for each predict Leeza and Reef’s reactions. Answer in the
form of a chart/point form.
Chapter 22 (187-193)
1. Reef is going home – under less than ideal circumstances. Explain.
2. When they see a nurse the author notes “ …Reef could see in her eyes
something more than a desire to help. Suspicion, maybe. And fear.”
(p.190) Why would a nurse have that reaction?
3. Describe Jink’s condition.
4. Back at the home, Alex confronts Reef. A) What is Reef’s initial
reaction? B) How does Alex show maturity and strength? C) Finally,
how does Reef finally break down?
Chapter 23 (194-199)
1. This is a book about Reef – and in this chapter Reef undergoes a lot.
Explain what each of the following says about Reef’s character: a) the
doctor’s unwillingness to make a diagnosis b) Jink’s mother’s words c)
swearing on the bus d) calling Colville
Chapter 24 (200-202)
1. How are things looking up for Reef?
2. What complications could meeting Leeza’s mother pose?
Chapter 25 (203-208)
1. This chapter marks the end of the second part of the story- and the
climax of the story’s action. In point form, break this chapter into its
‘movements’ – from hope to despair. For each point, include a phrase or
sentence from the story.
If this is the end of the second part – what more could the story have
to say? Predict what might happen in the final part of the novel.
Chapter 26 (211-216)
1. What is Reef doing in schools? Why is he doing it?
2. The author places an object in Reef’s hand. What could it be?
3. The teacher compliments Reef. How is Reef inspiring these
4. What complicated answer does Reef have trouble answering?
Chapter 27 (217-223)
1. The two stories have once again separated. What is happening with
2. What does Leeza hide from her mother?
3. A memory- what happened the day she got her fixators removed?
4. Leeza is torn- between calling Reef and not. Prove using quotes from
Chapter 28 (224-229)
1. List the outcomes for Reef and his friends.
2. Explain the symbolic ‘stone’ ending.