Street Pharm Book Trailer Assignment


Street Pharm Study Guide*
Snitch Study Guide
(*Note: The page numbers below are based on the 2013 editions of Street Pharm and Snitch.)
The Vampire Stalker Discussion Guide
Takedown Study Guide

On The Edge Study Guide

Pre-reading Questions:

  1. a) Based on the cover and the title of the book, predict what it will be about.
  2. b) Now read the blurbs on the back cover. How does this information fit with your prediction?
    c) Have you read other books that touch on similar topics? How much did you enjoy or dislike those books?
  3. Have you, or someone you know, ever done something that was against the law? How did you or your friend justify what you were doing at the time? How do you feel about it now?
  4. Describe what you think the life of a teenage drug dealer might be like. How do you feel about people who deal drugs? What factors have influenced your views? How do you think reading this book will affect your views?

Homework Questions:

pp. 1-30

1. What is your initial reaction to the character of Ty Johnson? Do you like or dislike him, and why? 
2. How does Ty keep his true activities from his mom? 
3. What is Ty's attitude toward school? 
4. How does Ty feel about Michael Brown's arrest? What does this say about Ty's character? 
5. What do you think is the author's purpose in showing this flashback?

pp. 31-68

6. What do Ty's recollections of his first girlfriend tell us about his views on women? 
7. Analyze the interaction between Ty and Dean Baxter. What do we learn about how Ty sees authority figures? 
8. Describe Ty's relationship with his father.

pp. 69-102

9. What does Ty learn from the mushrooms incident? 
10. Why do you think Ty is so deeply affected by the lesson on Bushido? 
11. What does Ty feel he has in common with Jimmy Pennington? 
12. How is Alyse different from the girls Ty is used to dating?

pp. 103-147

13. What is Ty's explanation for not wanting to have Kevin King killed? Do you think he has other reasons for not wanting to do it? 
14. How does Ty rationalize his involvement in the drug trade? What do you think of this rationale?

pp. 148-185

15. Why does Ty's mom kick him out, then change her mind and want him to come back? 
16. How do you feel about K-Ron pointing the finger at Ty? 
17. How is Ty affected by the package from Jones and Menendez?

pp. 186-233

18. What effect does the shooting have on Ty's strategy for dealing with Darkman? 
19. Why doesn't Ty go back to school? 
20. What happens to Jimmy Pennington and how does Ty make sense of it?

pp. 234-268

21. To what extent does Ty feel responsible for what happened to Rob Monfrey? What responsibility do you think he should feel? 
22. Why does Ty decide to go back to school?

pp. 269-290

23. What are Ty's realizations on his walk in the park? 
24. Why does Orlando react so strongly to Ty's decision to quit the business? How would you rate Orlando as a father? 
25. What do you think of the way Ty has chosen to show Alyse that he has turned his life around?

Discussion Questions or Essay Topics:

1. Ty Johnson's story is told in the first person. Why do you think the author chose to tell it this way? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the first person?
2. Discuss the character: Orlando. How has he influenced Ty's views on life?
3. Why would the author choose someone like Alyse as Ty's love interest?
4. Loyalty plays an important role in this novel. Discuss the place of loyalty in at least three relationships. For example: Ty and Orlando, Ty and Clarissa, Ty and Monfrey, Ty and Michael Brown, Darkman and Crow, etc.
5. The Art of War by Sun Tzu is Ty's bible. What about it appeals to Ty? Do you turn to a certain text, religious or otherwise, for advice on how to lead your life?
6. Consequences play a crucial role in this novel; Ty discovers that no action is without them. Describe a time where you came to understand the meaning of consequences.
7. Discuss the character: Rob Monfrey. How does Ty's interaction with him over the course of the book show the evolution of Ty's character?
8. Discuss Ty's relationship with three teachers and/or school administrators. Can you relate to his interactions with them?
9. Discuss the character: Sonny. How do his best qualities also contribute to his death?
10. Ty believes that his intelligence is enough to keep him from falling victim to the possible downfalls of his line of work. Is this a realistic view, in your eyes?
11. Why do you think Alyse gives Ty another chance? Has she made a wise decision?
12. The ending of Street Pharm has been praised for being hopeful and redemptive, and criticized for being Hollywood and unrealistic. Why do you think the author chose to end Ty's story this way? How do you feel about the ending?

Creative Writing Assignments:

1. Write a deleted scene that might have been in the book.
2. Where do you think Ty will be five years down the line? Write a scene that could be added as an epilogue.
3. Rewrite a scene from the viewpoint of another character.
4. Write an alternate final scene to this novel in which Ty comes to a very different end.


1. Individually or in small groups, write a rap song or a spoken word poem about Ty's journey throughout this novel, and present it to the class.
2. Read reviews of STREET PHARM listed on websites like and Make a list of elements that you think should be in an effective book review. Next write a book review of your own.
3. Create a graph reflecting statistics that relate to this novel: murder rates in various cities, teen pregnancy rates, prison statistics. Write a summary of what can be learned from your graph about social conditions.
4. Create a mini graphic novel or comic depicting the main events of the book.
5. In small groups, adapt a scene into a script and perform it in front of the class.

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Pre-reading Questions:

1. a) Based on the cover and the title of the book, predict what it will be about.
    b) Now read the blurbs on the back cover. How does this information fit with your prediction?
2. Describe what you think the life of a young gang member would be like. How do you feel about gangs? What factors have influenced your views? How do you think reading this book will affect your views?

Homework Questions:

pp. 1-35

1. What do we learn about Julia and her personality in the first scene? 
2. Describe Julia's home life and her relationship with her father. 
3. In what ways do gangs affect Julia's daily life? How does Julia deal with the popularity of gangs at her school?

pp. 36-68

4. Analyze Julia's friendship with Black Chuck. Why do you think they are such good friends despite their differences? 
5. What are Julia's expectations for the party? In what ways does Eric fulfill (or not fulfill) those expectations?

pp. 69-97

6. Identify at least two new things Julia learns about Eric in these chapters. Why is she so impressed by him? 
7. Contrast Q's relationship with her mom with Julia's relationship with her father.

pp. 98-137

8. In the chapters Jumped In and Low, why does Julia feel betrayed by both Eric and Black Chuck? 
9. What important decision does Julia make at the Lava Lounge? What would you have done if you were in her place? 
10. What do you predict after reading page 121? 
11. Why does Julia come to accept Eric as a gang member? How do you feel about her change of heart?

pp. 138-175

12. What happens in the locker room and what is your reaction to it? 
13. How does Q react to what happened to Julia? Does this surprise you? In her position, what would you have done? 
14. Why does Julia decide to join? What factors were key in influencing her decision?

pp. 176-207

15. Identify several ways in which Julia's life changes after she has joined the Crips. 
16. What does Julia learn about the gang's activities? How does she deal with it?
17. What are some ways in which Eric proves himself to the gang in these chapters?

pp. 208-240

18. How does Julia handle Marie's threats? 
19. What startling information does Julia discover while researching gangs? 
20. Describe Julia's encounter with Scrap. Why doesn't she tell anyone about it?

pp. 241-285

21. What shocking news does Julia receive when she returns from the game? 
22. What does Julia think of Black Chuck's accusation that Eric is a snitch? 
23. How do the Crips treat Julia at school? 
24. Summarize Eric's reasons for doing what he did. 
25. How does Julia bargain her way out of being jumped out officially?

Discussion Questions or Essay Topics:

1. The use of first-person narrative allows readers to put themselves in the place of the main character. How well did you identify with Julia throughout this book? Were there times when you found her decisions difficult to relate to? Explain your answer.
2. Discuss the relationship between Julia and either Q, Black Chuck, or Tony DiVino.
3. Examine Julia's relationship with the Crips throughout the novel. How does her view of them evolve over time?
4. Discuss the impact of Julia's family life on her decisions. Do you think she would have made different decisions if her mother had been alive, or if her father had been more attentive?
5. Discuss the character: Q. Did your feelings about her change throughout the book? Explain your answer.
6. Compare the conflicts Julia faces in this book to conflicts that you have faced. How was your situation similar or different to Julia's?
7. At one point, Julia describes her world as Livin' in the Gray (p. 222). What do you think she means by this? In what ways can you relate to this feeling?
8. Analyze Julia's relationships with her teachers in this book, specifically Ms. Ivey.
9. Predict what's in store for Julia in the next year or two of her life. Will she adjust to her new high school environment? Will the Crips leave her alone? Will she and Eric continue their relationship?
10. Analyze the character: Eric. How did you feel about him at the end of the book? Is he a sympathetic or unsympathetic character? Explain your answer.
11. How has this book changed or reinforced your views about gangs?

Creative Writing Assignments:

1. Write a deleted scene that might have been in the book.
2. Write an epilogue that could take place one year or more after the book ends.
3. Write a scene from Ms. Ivey's viewpoint. Include her thoughts on Julia and how she believes Julia has changed.
4. Write an alternate final scene.

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1. What is fan fiction? Why does Amy only write Otherworld fan fiction instead of original stories? What do you think of her decision?

2. Amy believes that the characters in Otherworld are so vivid they could almost be real. Have you ever felt that way about characters? If so, which ones?

3. What factors convince Amy that Alexander is real?

4. Alexander is angry that Elizabeth Howard has written about him without his permission. Why does Elizabeth’s depiction of him upset him so much?

5. Describe Amy’s relationship with her friends. How does she feel about keeping Alexander’s existence from them? How would you feel in that situation?

6. Amy discovers that reading about Alexander and knowing Alexander are two different things. What qualities about him does she appreciate in the books, but not so much in real life? How do his flaws affect her feelings for him?

7. Once the vampire killings begin, the press is eager to blame Elizabeth Howard for promoting an interest in vampire culture. Can you think of other circumstances when an author, musician or filmmaker has been criticized for depicting disturbing material? Do you think such criticisms are valid?

8. Early in the book, Ms. P. says, “The thing is, Alexander is a very dark character. She [Elizabeth Howard] might see him as a tragic figure.” (p. 17) What are the qualities of a tragic hero? Which of those qualities does Alexander possess?

9. “In truth, in my world, I would never be able to associate with someone of your character. Vampire hunting has left my reputation beyond repair. It is considered manual labor of the most appalling kind. People want it done, but they don’t want to know those of us who do it.” (p. 176) In this statement, Alexander is talking about the stigma he faces because of his vampire hunting. Which important jobs in our society are not given the respect they are due?

10. Sibling relationships can be complex. Discuss this statement in relationship to Amy and Chrissy, Alexander and James (who are like siblings), and Vigo and Hannah.

11. If you were to write a sequel to The Vampire Stalker, what would happen in the first chapter?

Pre-reading Questions:

1. Based on the cover of the book and the tag line, predict what this book will be about.
2. Now read the blurbs on the back cover. How does this information fit with your prediction?
3. How do you feel about informants, or as they’re sometimes called, snitches? Do you think you will root for the main character in this book? How do you think reading this book will affect your views about snitches?

Homework Questions

pp. 1-31

1. What is Darren doing in the opening scene?
2. Describe Darren’s career plan.
3. What role does Darren play in the life of his little brother?
4. What is your first impression of Detective Prescott? Do you like him? Why or why not?
5. How did Diamond Tony get his name?

pp. 32-62

6. What are Darren’s reasons for wanting to take down Diamond Tony?
7. Why doesn’t Darren pursue a relationship with Jessica?
8. What effect do you think juvie had on Darren—his life, his goals, his personality?
9. Based on the poem Anatomy of a Snitch (p.62), describe how Darren feels about being a “snitch.”

pp. 63-99

10. What is the problem with the Diamond Dust? How is Darren responsible for this?
11. What is Darren’s wish for Cam’s future?
12. Why did White Chris go to juvie? How is his background different from most of the guys in juvie?
13. What occurs at the shopping mall to shake everyone up?

pp. 100-135

14. In two or three sentences, describe what happens in the rap White Chris-mas.
15. Why do the police take Darren in for questioning? What are they accusing him of doing?
16. What does Darren discover about Detective Prescott’s relationship with Kessler?

pp. 136-174

17. What radical decision does Darren make on page 138? How do you feel about it?
18. Why do you think Darren finally confides in Jessica?
19. How does White Chris suggest Darren deal with the Vet’s blackmail?
20. Describe what happens when Darren tells the Vet he is not going to supply him any longer.
21. How does Darren react when he learns Diamond Tony wants to see him? What does he think might happen?

pp. 175-215

22. What are Darren’s duties as a lieutenant?
23. What shocking revelation does Tasha make about their dad? How does Darren react?
24.What does Darren realize about Cam when he runs into him at the club?
25. How does Kessler’s attitude toward Darren’s undercover work differ from Prescott’s?
26. What major event happens at the end of the chapter Chaos?
27. Why is Darren reluctant to speak to Jessica’s parents?

pp. 216-244

28. What message from Diamond Tony does Vinny convey on page 217?
29. What advice and encouragement does White Chris give to Darren? How did Darren help White Chris when he was injured in juvie?
30. On page 226, Darren has a big choice to make. What does he choose to do, and how do you feel about it?
31. How are the duties of Diamond Tony’s executives different from those of his lieutenants and street dealers?

pp. 245-280

32. During his mission to stop the blood bath, Darren learns an important piece of information which he passes on to Detective Kessler. What is that tip?
33. What is Darren’s mom’s explanation for hiding the truth about his dad?
34. How does Darren manipulate Tyrell into talking to the cops?
35. In three or four sentences, summarize the showdown involving Darren, Diamond Tony, Marcus and the cops.
36. In the epilogue, Sunrise, we see Darren’s life one month later. What happens at the end of the chapter to make you question Darren’s happy ending?

Creative Assignments

1. Write a rap inspired by the book.
2. Write an alternate final scene in which Darren’s story ends in a different way.
3. Write a scene that takes place one year after the book ends. Is Darren living his happily ever after, or does he get pulled back into the game?
4. Write a deleted scene that might have been in the book.
5. Choose a scene and turn it into a scene from a graphic novel, using pictures and some dialogue.

Discussion Questions or Essay Topics

1. The use of first-person narrative allows readers to put themselves in the place of the main character. How well did you identify with Darren throughout the book? Were there times when you disagreed with his decisions?
2. Discuss the relationship between Darren and either White Chris, Cam, or Vinny.
3. Analyze Darren as a protagonist. What are his main strengths? What are his flaws?
4. Examine Darren's relationship with his mom. How do you feel about her attitude toward his drug dealing? Did she do the right thing by lying to him about his dad?
5. Predict what will happen over the next several years of Darren’s life. Will he finish high school? Will he become a successful recording artist and move out of his neighborhood? Will he and Jessica stay together?
6. In this book, drug addicts are often referred to as fiends or zombies—labels that dehumanize them. Discuss whether or not you believe that society sees drug addicts this way.
7. Analyze the relationship between Darren and Tasha. What are their reasons for giving each other a hard time? Will they get along in the future?
8. Jessica’s cousin, Valerie, was an excellent student, but still became a drug addict. How does that challenge stereotypes about drug addicts? What can we learn from Valerie’s story?

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Pre-reading Questions:

1. Based on the cover of the book and the tag line, predict what this book will be about.
2. Now read the description on the inside flap. How does this information fit with your prediction?
3. Have you ever witnessed a crime? Did you speak out about what you saw, or keep it quiet? What factors affected your decision?

Homework Questions

pp. 1-31

1. What is Maddie celebrating at the start of the book?
2. Describe the characters: Iz and Manny.
3. In three or four sentences, summarize what happens in the park.
4. Why do you think Maddie decides to identify the killers? What would you have done, and why?
5. Why does Maddie believe Corner Store Guy is watching her?

pp. 32-58

6. How is Maddie doing as editor of Prep Talk? What challenges does she face?
7. What information does Detective Gutierrez share with her?
8. Why does Maddie feel better after talking to Manny?
9. What do Maddie and Julia have in common?
10. What do we know about the Destinos gang?
11. What evidence is there that Maddie is paranoid?

pp. 59-85

12. What shocking information does Maddie learn about Julia’s past?
13. Describe the dynamic between Maddie and Ortiz.
14. Why does Maddie think Iz keeps trying to set her up with guys?
15. Why doesn’t Maddie tell Boyd what she thinks of him? What would you do in this situation?
16. Summarize the events beginning with Maddie waiting at the bus stop.

pp. 86-111

17. Why is Maddie’s mom so angry at the cops? Is her anger justified?
18. What does Maddie learn about the identity of the mysterious Lobo?
19. What promise does Lobo make when he appears in her hospital room?
20. Why does Maddie feel guilty about Hector’s death? Do you think she should have done anything differently that night?
21. How does Maddie react when Ms. Halsall offers to give the editor job to someone else?
22. What does Maddie hope to accomplish by writing an article about Hector?

pp. 112-142

23. Why does Maddie’s mom want her to quit her job at McDonald’s?
24. Describe Dex’s surprising reaction to Lobo.
25. What does Lobo warn Maddie about?
26. How does Maddie feel when Lobo says he can’t visit her again?
27. In three or four sentences, summarize the events of Maddie’s birthday.
28. What disturbing information does Manny share in the library?

pp. 143-175

29. Why is Iz angry with Maddie?
30. What revelation does Maddie have the next morning? What detail gives it away?
31. How does Lobo react when she confronts him with the truth?
32. What does Maddie ask Julia to do?
33. Where does Ortiz take her that night? What is the real goal of the Destinos?

pp. 176-200

34. Summarize Ortiz’s reasons for starting the Destinos.
35. Why does Ortiz’s mission scare her?
36. List two things we now know about Hector. What information is Maddie hesitant to use in her article?

pp. 201-228

37. Describe Maddie and Ortiz’s career goals.
38. What urgent situation arises when Ortiz is driving her home?
39. Who is X?
40. What do we learn about Kelsey’s background?
41. What does Ortiz tell her about Manny’s history?

pp. 229-257

42. To what extent does Maddie’s friendship with Manny change after she knows the truth about him?
43. Why does Maddie read Ortiz’s note?
44. What is the difference between loving someone, and being in love? Do you agree or disagree with this? Explain.
45. What interesting detail do we learn about X?
46. What are Maddie’s hopes for her mother?
47. Who does X think is responsible for the leak?
48. Why doesn’t Manny want to reveal what he knows about Ortiz’s location?

pp. 258-294

49. What is X’s plan for Maddie?
50. What thoughts give Maddie strength as she’s waiting for El Chueco?
51. What deal does Maddie strike with El Chueco, and what role will Manny play?
52. In three or four sentences, summarize the climax of the book.
53. Who was the leak? Explain why this person did what they did.
54. How is Maddie’s Letter to the Editor received by the public? How does that make her feel?
55. Why does Ortiz show up at the prom?

Creative Assignments

1. In the last scene, Ortiz says to Maddie, “Our future starts now.” Write a scene taking place several months, or years, after the book ends. What do you think is in store for Ortiz and Maddie?
2. Write an alternate final scene in which Maddie’s story ends in a different way.
3. Choose a scene and adapt it into a scene from a graphic novel, using pictures and dialogue.
4. The follow-up book to ON THE EDGE is called LIGHT OF DAY, and it features the character of X. Imagine what the first scene will be, and write it!
5. Play costume designer. Create a fashion portfolio showing several looks from the book. You can use magazine pictures or draw sketches.
6. Write a deleted scene that might have been in the book.
7. Write a rap inspired by the book.
8. A book trailer is a short video using actors, or pictures set to music, to draw interest to a book. Create a short book trailer for ON THE EDGE and show it to your classmates.

Discussion Questions or Essay Topics

1. What qualities did Maddie and Ortiz see in each other that made them fall in love? Are they more alike than they are different?
2. The use of first-person narrative allows readers to put themselves in the place of the main character. How well did you identify with Maddie throughout the book? Were there times when you disagreed with her decisions?
3. Discuss Maddie’s friendship with Iz or Manny. Are they destined to be friends forever? Explain your answer.
4. Analyze Maddie as a protagonist. What are her main strengths? What are her flaws?
5. Define the word archetype. Find examples of archetypal characters in this book, and explain why they fit these patterns.
6. Who is your favorite character in this book? Explain your answer.
7. What qualities does Ortiz possess that make him a romantic hero?
8. Examine Maddie’s relationship with her mom. What obstacles have they faced? Do you think their relationship will grow stronger or weaker in the years to come?

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В этой встрече было что-то нереальное - нечто, заставившее снова напрячься все его нервные клетки. Он поймал себя на том, что непроизвольно пятится от незнакомцев. Тот, что был пониже ростом, смерил его холодным взглядом. - Сюда, мистер Беккер. Быстрее.

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