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Apples Never Fall
by Liane Moriarty

Published: 2021-09-14T00:0
Hardcover : 480 pages
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138 clubs reading this now
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 2 members
#1 New York Times Bestseller

From Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers, comes Apples Never Fall, a novel that looks at marriage, siblings, and how the people we love the most can hurt us the deepest.

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#1 New York Times Bestseller

From Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers, comes Apples Never Fall, a novel that looks at marriage, siblings, and how the people we love the most can hurt us the deepest.

The Delaney family love one another dearly?it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .

If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?

This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.

The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?

The four Delaney children?Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke?were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon.

One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.

Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure?but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.

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Discussion Questions

From the Publisher:

Marriage and relationships
1. What do the marriages and relationships in the novel have in common, and where do they
differ? Why do you think each marriage works (or doesn’t), and where might each crumble?
What is “the secret of a happy marriage,” as Joy once calls it?

2. Did you relate to Joy’s rage about the housework, or to Christina’s mother’s anger ? What
long-standing social currents run through many modern marriages and relationships, even
now? Have things changed?

3. How has your view of your own parents’ marriage evolved over the years since your
childhood? Have you ever spoken to your parents about their relationship and perhaps been
surprised by new revelations?

4. Joy felt that much was compromised by trying to run the business and be a mother to four
children. This is a story we hear more often than ever from women today. Do you think it’s
really possible to “have it all”? If so, under what circumstances?

5. What does Joy mean when she says the children have “all the power now” as adults? Is it
true? How does the balance of power shift as children grow up, and when does the power
reversal become evident?

6. Joy and Stan parent their children in very different ways. Discuss some of these ways and
their effectiveness or lack thereof. How much influence do you think social norms had on the
roles Stan and Joy played in their children’s youth?

Domestic violence and abuse
7. Do you agree with Moriarty that it’s universal for women to fear domestic violence? Discuss
some of the fears typically ingrained in women that men may not have or that they may be
unaware of.

8. Savannah uses a story about domestic violence to engender sympathy and pity in Joy and
Stan, and then invents a story about sexual harassment to blackmail Troy. What do you think
about this? Why do you think this strategy works for Savannah, even though neither story is

9. Stan’s father is “kicked to the kerb ” after he throws his wife across the room in a clear case
of domestic violence. However, it could be said that Stan’s mother is also guilty of domestic
abuse. In what ways were her relationships with Stan’s father and Stan himself abusive?

10. Do you think it’s better for children to have experienced success and failure, the way the
Delaney children did with tennis, or do you think it sets them up for disappointment? How has
their childhood experience affected the four Delaney children?

Gender issues
11. Stan is often referred to as the head of the tennis school, even though Joy actually co-ran it,
reinforcing the idea that Stan is the breadwinner. A similar attitude is evident with Brooke and
Grant when Brooke offers to give up her practice to help their marriage. Why do you think
women often cede professional dominance to men? Has this changed between generations?

Human nature and social norms
12. Do you agree with Joy that social media plays a part in the reconstruction of memories these
days? If so, how do these reimagined memories cause ripple effects?

13. Joy describes Stan and herself as being entirely different people from who they were in 1974,
and yet also exactly the same. Do you think this is possible/true? In what ways?

14. COVID-19 had a profound, global effect on society in 2020 and beyond. How does it influence
this story, and Joy’s thinking in the later chapters? Is it just human nature to assume bad
things won’t happen to you?

15. How would you react if you found yourself in the same position as the Delaney children, with
a parent who went missing? Would you think either of your parents was capable of murder?
Could you forgive, or are some actions so terrible they are simple unforgiveable? Would it be
different, for example, if it were your child rather than your parent?

Joy Delaney
16. Much of Joy’s anger, regret, and resentment stems from the conflict between her personal
and professional lives, throughout her life. Savannah’s arrival allows Joy to see the past from a
new perspective for the first time. What, specifically, sparks this? In general, are expectations
different for women and men? If yes, in what ways? And do you think that is changing?

17. What effect did retirement have on Joy? Do you think this happens often when people retire?
Do you think this altered state of being made Joy more susceptible to Savannah’s scheme?
What was it about the situation with Savannah and the off-grid challenge that really made Joy

Stan Delaney
18. When Joy tries to talk to Stan about his strategy of “leaving”—walking away from conflict,
especially as instances become more extreme—he rebuffs her. What do you think about Stan’s
actions? How, if at all, does your reaction to Stan’s coping mechanism change over the course
of the novel?

19. Do your feelings towards Savannah change throughout the book? How does knowledge of
her childhood trauma color your view of her actions as an adult? Do you think Savannah’s
childhood experiences explain or even justify her behavior as an adult?

20. Why do you think Joy continues to feel sympathy for Savannah even when she knows what
Savannah has done to her family? What qualities does Savannah have that appeal to Joy?
Amy, Logan, Troy and Brooke

21. How has Logan and Troy’s childhood rivalry shaped the men they have become? How has
their birth order influenced this? How has your position in your own family influenced your
personality and life choices?

22. Why do you think sibling rivalry and relationships are so resistant to change? Is the onagain,
off-again loyalty of the Delaney siblings characteristic of most siblings? What is your
experience with your siblings, if you have any?

23. Amy is the only one of the Delaney children to show a degree of sympathy and understanding
towards Savannah. What is it about Amy’s personality and life experiences that might explain
this kinder approach?

24. What does Logan do to deal with conflict? Is there a pattern playing out through the
generations, from Stan to Logan? And if so, what does it all stem back to?

25. Why do you think Troy sabotaged his marriage to Claire? He claims not to understand why he
did it, but do you think there were signs in the child he was and the upbringing he had?

26. The present-day events in the novel take place in Sydney during the bushfires of 2019–2020
and the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In what ways does Moriarty use this time
period as a backdrop to the novel?

27. Liane Moriarty tells this story in the third person, through the eyes of all the major characters
in turn, while switching between the events of September/October 2019 and “now,” which is
approximately February and March 2020. What is the effect of this writing style? How does it
shape the reader’s understanding of the characters as we piece together what happened six
months ago, and what is happening now?

28. What techniques does Liane Moriarty use to distinguish between the different character
voices in the novel? How does this influence how we feel about and relate to those

Suggested by Members

who was your favorite character?
Who was your least favorite character?
What was the meaning of the title?
by msahm (see profile) 07/22/22

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by Daina Z. (see profile) 11/14/23

by Carolyn G. (see profile) 07/26/23

by Kelly M. (see profile) 02/09/23

by Jean W. (see profile) 01/17/23

by carol s. (see profile) 01/06/23

by Kristina S. (see profile) 07/28/22

  "apples never fall"by melissa S. (see profile) 07/22/22

This book was interesting and had some good twists at the end. but it was slow going in some places - but I wanted to know what happens at the end so I keept going!!

by cathy c. (see profile) 06/13/22

by Nichole L. (see profile) 06/05/22

by Jody D. (see profile) 05/12/22

Best part was the ending

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