1. AJ and Ella meet as strangers and experience an intimate moment gazing into each other’s eyes. Have you ever gazed into someone’s eyes? If so, what was your experience?
2. AJ and Ella agreed to a pretend relationship. Do you think they agreed to this solely for altruistic reasons, or were there other factors too?
3. Ella’s last two relationships ended in betrayal, and they influence her perceptions about love. Can you think of a time in your life where past events have caused you to judge a situation even before it occurred? Please share anything you learned from that experience.
4. Ella has a preconceived notion about the Piper kids’ mother before she meets Clare. After she gets to know Clare, she finds someone entirely different than what she had envisioned. Have you ever experienced this? What did you learn?
5. AJ’s grandfather taught him that everyone is doing the best they can from where they are. What do you think this means? Do you agree or disagree with this philosophy, and what supports your position?
6. Cruz tells AJ that he needs to give from a place of love. Do you think the reason for giving makes a difference, or is it just the gift that matters? Please explain your position.
7. AJ suggests that Ella make an important job decision based on what makes her happy. What do you think about this advice and why?
8. AJ’s granddad used to tell him to “stop fretting and live his life.” What do you think he meant by this?
9. Aunt Mindy suggested that Ella learn how to dance in the rain. What does this mean?
10. Clare tells her kids that it’s okay for them to love Ella too, and that loving Ella and AJ doesn’t take any love away from her. How do you think her statement impacted the kids and Ella and AJ?
11. Ella’s aunt taught her that one person can make a difference. Do you agree? Why or why not?
12. In the New Age Parenting class that Ella and AJ attend, they learn that giving gratitude shifts your energy from negative to positive. Do you believe this? If so, how does this work?
13. Ella and AJ selected a timeout word with the kids that any one could call out. Once the word was used, all of them took a few minutes to ground themselves. Have you ever tried this process with your kids? If so, how did it work? What benefits could be gained from using this process?
14. Aunt Mindy shared many expressions with Ella. One of them related to the night sky: “Perhaps they aren’t stars, but rather openings from Heaven where the love of our ancestors shine down on us.” Have you ever stargazed and wondered what’s out there? If you have, please share your stargazing experiences.
15. The lines between real and pretend continually and progressively blur in AJ and Ella’s relationship, yet they don’t openly talk about it. What were the reasons for their lack of communication? Do you think AJ’s reasons for not communicating were different than Ella’s?
16. If AJ and Ella had engaged in open and honest communication, what do you think would have been different in their story? Can you think of ways couples engage in open, effective communication?
17. AJ’s grandfather taught him that there’s no such thing as perfection; in racing this translated to no such thing as a perfect lap. What are your thoughts on perfection?
18. AJ taught Ella and the kids that you don’t need to be perfect to be successful, you need to consistently do your best. Do you agree? Why or why not?
The Perfect Lap:
His job is to drive fast. Hers is to put the brakes on him. When sparks fly, will love cross the finish line?