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Explore thought-provoking Little Fires Everywhere discussion questions here. This complex work of modern fiction deeply explores themes like motherhood, race, and class. You’ll foster meaningful discussion and get free printable book club questions to prepare for your in-person book club. Get started below.

Little fires Everywhere by Celeste ng in front of a bookshelf.

Little Fires Everywhere Discussion Questions

Use the following Little Fires Everywhere discussion questions to guide your conversations about this complex and thought-provoking book:

The novel starts out by telling the reader a home has burned. Did you like this early reveal of what was to come or would you have preferred to learn of this as the action unfolded?

By the end of Little Fires Everywhere, the reader knows the literal significance of the title. Discuss the figurative significance.

How is the theme of motherhood explored through the characters?

How is the theme of race explored through the characters?

How is the theme of class explored through the characters?

How are these themes explored differently through the adults versus the teenagers in Little Fires Everywhere?

Discuss the similarities and differences between Mia and Elena.

Discuss the positive and negative character traits of Mia and Elena.

How do Mia and Elena see themselves, and are their assessments correct?

Discuss the similarities and differences between the four Richardson children: Lexie, Trip, Moody, and Izzy.

Is Izzy a “bad” child?

Why does Pearl gravitate toward the Richardsons?

Why does Moody gravitate towards Pearl?

Why does Izzy gravitate toward Mia?

What causes tension between Elena and Izzy?

Discuss the role of art in Little Fires Everywhere.

Did you empathize most with the storyline of one particular mother in this book?

In complex situations, is motherhood based more on biology, love, money, or something else?

How does the time period of the 1990s affect the storyline?

Discuss Shaker Heights (a planned community) and its importance as the setting for this story.

How may another setting impact the storyline?

Are the mothers in Little Fires Everywhere bound by their pasts?

What point(s) do you think this novel is trying to make about secrets?

Was Mia right in keeping secrets from Pearl?

Could this story have happened somewhere other than a planned community?

How much right does a community have to become involved in the lives of its members?

Did you favor either side in the custody battle case between Mirabelle McCullough and May Ling Chow?

Discuss Mia’s and Elena’s perspectives on the case and what shaped them.

Discuss Elena’s relationship with each of her children, and why they differed.

Discuss the difference between the intention and the impact of the characters’ actions.

Did your perspective on any of the characters change by end of this novel?

Do you leave the novel feeling sympathy for any of the characters?

What is the lesson or lessons to be learned from Little Fires Everywhere?

Do you think the characters will leave these events as changed people for the better?

What do you think may happen next in the lives of these characters?

Author Celeste Ng created this Spotify playlist for the book. What 1990s songs do you think most reflect Little Fires Everywhere? What songs do you think the characters may add?

Did you watch the HULU adaptation and, if so, what were your thoughts about it?

Compare and contrast Little Fires Everywhere to the other books by Celeste Ng.

Printable Discussion Questions

Download printable book club discussion questions to prepare for your in-person book club below.

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Why Little Fires Everywhere Is A Good Book Club Book

My Review: ★★★★★

Little Fires Everywhere by author Celeste Ng (author of Our Missing Hearts) is worth reading in your book club if you enjoy modern literary fiction that presents thought-provoking questions about complex real-life topics involving race, class, and what makes for a “good” mother.

Quick Plot Summary

Little Fires Everywhere is the story of the Shaker Heights, Ohio, planned community during one year in the 1990s. At the center is Elena Richardson, the matriarch of a white upper-class family with four teenage children: Lexie, Trip, Moody, and Izzy.

The novel begins not just with a little fire, but with the burning down of the Richardson home. Then, it delves into how the characters got there.

Elena is a very tightly wound rule follower who sees herself as a “do-gooder,” renting a duplex to a Black single mother, Mia Warren, and her teenage daughter, Pearl.

The two families bond, particularly the children, but the mothers begin to clash when a heated custody battle in their community places them on opposing sides of the aisle.

Dark secrets are revealed and Elena’s and Mia’s families are jeopardized in the process, touching upon motherhood, class, race, and identity in this small suburban neighborhood. And, as the reader knows from the first page, the results are explosive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the message of the book Little Fires Everywhere?

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng conveys the message that understanding and empathy are key in navigating human relations at home and in the community. It highlights the importance of change and acceptance.

What does fire symbolize in Little Fires Everywhere?

In Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, fire symbolizes both the destruction of the past and the opportunity for change in the future in the community of Shaker Heights as they grapple with issues of race, class, and acceptance.

What was the point of Little Fires Everywhere?

The point of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng explores family secrets, cultural clashes, and the quest for identity. It highlights the complexities of motherhood and the importance of acceptance.

What is the lesson of Little Fires Everywhere?

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng highlights the importance of empathy and the dangers of keeping secrets and striving for perfection. It shows that rigid beliefs can lead to conflict, urging the need to embrace life’s complexity and differences.


These Little Fires Everywhere discussion questions enhance our understanding of identity, family, and societal norms. This novel, with its complex, intertwined characters and thought-provoking themes,” is a catalyst for “sparks” profound reflection and dialogue with your book club and beyond.

If your club loved it and wants to read similar book club books, check out:

Keep the discussion going! Share your thoughts on Little Fires Everywhere or any remaining questions you may have in the comments below.  

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