Book Group Guide
Thank you so much for considering It’s Over or It’s Eden for your next book group selection. I compiled this resource to help you have a fun and interesting discussion.
If you need any additional information or want to set up a video call, you’re welcome to reach out.
The war against aliens is over. Earth lost—and humans are nearly extinct…
Arwen Cruz watched her parents, brother, and sister die in an endless war. As the last surviving soldier in her battalion, she staggers out of a bombed-out military base and heads north. Arwen’s ready to leave the alien strongholds—and the lost cause of fighting them—far behind.
She makes it to the deadly wilderness of the Rocky Mountains only to battle starvation instead of invaders. Marah Bennett finds Arwen and suggests she join her small, secluded group—a cult that split from society long before aliens arrived. Arwen accepts, but quickly realizes she doesn’t belong—and escaping during the harsh winter is impossible. While living amongst the cult, Arwen discovers a dark secret—a key to reviving her planet—if she can survive long enough to uncover it.
- Why do you think alien life would choose to come to Earth?
- What would you do in Arwen’s position? Would you join Marah and her community?
- What unique challenges or benefits would a matriarchy face?
- How does James show the negative impacts of growing up in an unequal society?
- Like the hot springs, what urban legends have you heard and believed?
- What could Marah have done to take responsibility for her mistakes? What were her mistakes?
- Does Elder Sister Hetta remind you of antagonists from any other books?
- What scene stuck with you the most?
- What do you wish you had known about It’s Over or It’s Eden before reading it?
- What do you think Arwen does next?
About The Author
Rebecca M. Zornow is a graduate of Lawrence University, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and a book coach with Conquer Books. She is a Hal Prize winner and Peace Corps Storytelling finalist. It’s Over or It’s Eden is her first novel.
The idea for the story came while Rebecca was in the shower thinking about how most first contact movies and books end with Earth winning against alien invaders. She was struck with a vision of a solider who lost the war and had no home to return to, and wondered what her story was.
About Arwen and Marah, she wrote, “Marah and Arwen deal with big issues—power struggles on local levels as well as galaxy-wide and the existential crises that come in the wake of the end of life-as-we-know-it. While I hope to never stand on a mountainside and watch an alien spaceship descend, Marah and Arwen deal with many of the same issues I do as a woman in 2021. More importantly, they discern the difference between how society dictates they respond as women, and what actions they take when they free themselves of societal expectation.”
When Rebecca’s not reading or writing, she loves a good escape room, volunteers for numerous organizations, bakes cookies with her kids, travels, and generally frets about the future.