A Good Kind of Trouble Reading Guide

Spoiler Alert: Make sure you follow our tracker to stay caught up on where we are as a group. The guide will reveal things that occurred in the story.

Chapters 1-6

  • Shayla says she doesn't like trouble and avoids confrontation. Is confrontation good or bad?

  • Shayla, Julia, and Isabella, the United Nations, are best friends who are all of a different race. What is great about their friendship? What challenges may they face?

  • Shayla is paired with the big bully Bernard in science as lab partners. She comments about his size, race, and an incident that happened years ago. Is Shayla fair in her judgment of him?

  • When Bernard broke accidentally broke the glass slides in science, Shayla noticed that the teacher didn't ask him if he is okay but told him to stop fooling around. How do you think that made Bernard feel? Should Shayla had said something in his defense?

  • Shayla has one class friend or associate, Yolanda, who is also Black like her. She is basically her friend because her best friends aren't around. Do you think this can grow into a real friendship? What would Shayla have to do to be Yolanda's friend?

  • Let's guess. Where did Isabella run off to? She always tells her friends everything. Why may she have not this time?

  • Should Shayla feel awkward sitting with the Asian girls at lunch? Why might she feel this way?

  • Julia jokes by making fun of/teasing Shayla. She slipped up and did it in front of people who aren't her friends. Should Julia and Shayla continue to interact this way as best friends? Or is it harmless?

  • Shayla's dad explained to her that Julia's Asian basketball league was created due to a lack of representation in other bigger and well-known leagues. He explained that she shouldn't feel left out but respect their need to have their own. 

    • Name other real-life examples of this.

  • Why do girls like the guy who is mean to them but not the guy who likes them? In this case, Shayla likes Jace Hayward who was mean and talked about her forehead but thinks Tyler is annoying, although he is generally nice to her and asks her questions about herself when she is not so nice back.

    • To clarify though, Tyler touched Shayla's arm in Shop Class without her permission. No matter how nice it may seem, don't let anyone touch you unwantedly, no matter how innocent it may seem. ​No one should touch your body or enter your close personal space without your consent.

  • Shayla says she doesn't care much about race but she seems to have many questions, assumptions, and issues surrounding race and the way people look. How can Shayla better express how she feels about race and the differences in others.​

Chapters 7-13

  • Shayla talks to her mom about a trial where a Black man was shot by a police officer. While this is a fictional story, this continues to happen in real life. The last time this happened, how did you discuss it with your parents and family members?

  • Shayla's older sister, Hana only has Black friends. Shayla doesn't have any Black friends. What can they learn from each other about getting to know people, making friends, and maintaining those relationships?

  • Shayla's father mentions that the school's curriculum is limited in its perspective and is mostly centered around white men. As a student, do you think you learn enough about the perspective of people of color's (Black, Native American, Japanese American) experience in the United States from your school's curriculum?

    • If not, where or whom do you learn it from?​

  • Isabella gets a makeover and she is suddenly one of the prettiest girls in school. Julia makes a statement that leaves Shayla feeling like she may be in competition with Isabella for the attention of her crush, Jace. How would you feel if you were in Shayla's position?

  • In Ms. Jacobs' class, the topic of the Black Lives Matter protest is brought up and everyone has varying opinions and perspectives. ​Since the topic just happens to be about Black people, Ms. Jacobs looks for Shayla to explain since she is the only Black person in the class. Has something like this ever happened to you? How did it make you feel?

  • At lunch, Alex had to sing, dance, and rap to get Jace, Daniel, and the other guys to stop harassing him. Is that a good long-term solution?

  • Julia and Isabella didn't see the big deal and excused the group of guys' behavior. Shayla wanted to help Alex but stopped herself when she realized her crush, Jace, was the one she would have to stop. How could they all have handled this situation differently?

  • Julia is looking at the table her basketball friends sit, using more slang, and just made a statement that they didn't have to do everything together? What do you think is going to happen because of this?


Chapters 14 - 23

  • When talking about Black Lives Matter around the dinner table, Shayla notices her mom looks sad. She mentions her sister is always angry. Shayla mentions that it makes her scared. How does discussing this topic makes you feel?

  • "You can't just want things. Sometimes you have to do something." What does this quote means to you? What do you think this will mean to Shayla?

  • During our Good Trouble program year, we have been reitierating that just because something is a law doesn't make it right, fair, or just. How does the trial and its news coverage relate to this theme?

  • From her sister and now from her history teacher, Mr. Powell, Shayla is hearing a call to action as she questions the right from wrong concerning the trial. When is the right time to fight for change?

  • Shayla is simultaneously mad at Julia for not being a good friend but not being a good friend to Isabella, Yoland, orTyler. How can Shayla address and resolve each friend issue?

  • Shayla is trying to get use to and open up to her new track team, especially her Black coach and teammates. In what ways can she connect with them?

  • Shayla talks to her mother questions whether or not something is wrong with her for not having any Black friends and if herfriendship with Juliais ending? Shayla's mom gave her some great advice. If you were Shayla's mom, what advice would you give her?

  • Shayla decides to dress as an activist of the Black Panther Party. While she has learned a bit of the history behind her costume, she doesn't think it is that serious when her sister points out her inauthentic, yet cute personal touches. How does this situation mirror her feelings about Black Lives Matter?