None of This is True Book Club Questions and Discussion Guide

Alix and Josie live very different lives. Alix is a well-known podcaster with a seemingly perfect family, a beautiful home, and successful career. In another part of town, Josie lives a quiet, uneventful life with her much older husband and their reclusive daughter, working part time as a seamstress but dreaming of more for herself. As their lives serendipitously intersect on their shared 45th birthday, and Alix agrees to focus her next podcast on Josie’s story, it becomes clear that not everything Josie tells Alix is true. But what is fact and what is fiction? Your book club will join right along with Alix on this wild ride to find out!

None of This is True by Lisa Jewell is a twisty, turny thriller that keeps the reader guessing who, and what, they can trust, right up until the very end. Your book club will no doubt have multiple takes on the events of this book, and maybe even a few heated debates! Use the None of this is True book club questions to prompt discussion around the challenging themes of abuse, distrust, and dysfunctional family dynamics, while comparing notes on what you each determine to be ‘the truth’.

Our None of This is True discussion guide also contains a synopsis, selected reviews, and suggestions for your next great book club read if you enjoyed this thriller! 

None of This is True book club questions, with book cover.

None of This is True Synopsis

(We always chose to provide the publisher synopsis because we feel that it’s worthwhile to discuss whether the official book description actually squared with your experience of the book.)

None of This is True, Lisa Jewel

Celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summer crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.

A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.

Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast. Slowly she starts to realize that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it, Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life—and into her home.

But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, with her life and her family’s lives under mortal threat.

10 None of This is True Book Club Questions

These questions have been tailored to this book’s specific reading experience, but if you want more ideas, we also have an article with 101 generic book club questions.

  1. Based on the book’s title, it’s assumed that readers will encounter unreliable narrators and can’t take everything at face value. Were there any lies that you initially thought were true? Any truths that you initially thought might be a lie? 
  1. What theories did you have about what was going on behind Erin’s closed door, before she was seen on page?   
  1. Josie has a collection of small items she’s taken from other people, which she hides and revisitslater with a sort of reverie. Why do you think she takes these items? Is there an item that you own that is representative of you?
  1. Did you ever feel sympathy for Josie? Why or why not? 
  1. “When she doesn’t like the reality of things, she finds a reality she prefers.”

    Why do you think Alix continued to allow Josie to be in her life, even after Walter’s warning about Josie’s tendency to lie, as well as her odd behavior?
  1. Discuss the scenarios throughout the novel where women are subject to harmful behavior from a loved one or person in a position of power. What message is the author conveying with these scenarios?  
  1. In several cases, individuals are either accessories or bystanders to terrible events (the actress who helped lure Nathan to the hotel room, Josie’s mother who allowed her to be involved with a much older man, even Nathan’s friends who enable his drinking). How culpable are these individuals? 
  1. How do you interpret the ending of this novel, particularly regarding Brooke’s death? Do you think the author intended there to be a definitive ending, or is it intentionally open for interpretation?

    For some thoughts from the author, here’s an interview that you can read and discuss.
  1. If you hosted a podcast series, what would your topic be and why? Who would your first guest be? 
  1. Did you enjoy the author’s decision to write part of the novel as a Netflix special? Would this be the type of documentary you’d watch? 

Selected Reviews for None of This is True

“Whoa! What a wild ride this was. I was as enthralled with Josie’s stories as Alix was. It was all just so outrageous that my mouth was agape nearly the entire time I was reading this. What’s interesting though is I never once felt sympathetic to Josie. This woman was so odd, so unbelievably strange that I was left cringing rather than feeling sorry for her. But, in the same respect, she was one hell of an interesting character and I was furiously flipping the pages.” 

“No spoilers, but there are some heavy themes discussed here. In fact, the build up of 85% of the novel is such a beautiful master class on slow burning suspense, and how to do it so that you don’t lose the reader in the process, that I was sure this would be Jewell’s darkest novel yet. The final 15% is what threw me for a loop. There are a few aspects that I had to overlook up until this point, behaviors and lack of affirmative action in the characters that I don’t think would play out the way it did in the book in real life, but understandably needed to be done to progress this particular story.”

“This book started off on a really good foot…. However, the last 20% of the book was a huge disappointment. Without getting into spoilers, this story has two possible scenarios that are left open for the readers’ interpretation on what the truth is… either way you swing it, there is one particular character who is 100% a horrific person regardless of which scenario is correct. Sure, that particular character did meet their fate in this book, however, why did they get a redemption arc/sympathy? I thought it was in bad taste. Lisa Jewell completely missed an opportunity with this one, but instead decided to victim blame a 13-year-old who was groomed by a 40 year old and married her abuser.”


Use our guide to find dozens of book ideas for your group.

3 Books like None of This is True

If you are more interested in thrillers featuring unreliable narrators and/or messed-up family dynamics here are a few ideas for you. Each guide features a synopsis on the top of the article that you can peruse: Verity discussion guide (seriously messed up family), The Paris Apartment (death and daddy issues), and A Flicker in the Dark (unreliable narrator).

My Dark Vanessa, book cover

My Dark Vanessa, Kate Elizabeth Russell

If you’re interested in a deeper exploration of some of the heavier themes presented in None of This is True, then My Dark Vanessa may be for you.

In this novel, a teenage girl becomes involved in an affair with one of her male teachers – and years later is forced to confront the reality of this relationship and its impact on her perception of self, love, and safety. This story is complex, uncomfortable, and deeply emotional – perfect for book clubs willing to tackle heavier reads. 

The Last House on Needless Street, book cover.

The Last House on Needless Street, Catriona Ward

The Last House on Needless Street is a horror-thriller, deeply rooted in themes of abuse, the long-term psychological impacts of childhood events, and the resilience of the human mind. Saying anything more would be a major spoiler, but trust us when we say that while this book is not for the faint of heart, readers are rewarded with gasp-out-loud twists and turns that turn the narrative on its head.   

The Perfect Marriage, book cover.

The Perfect Marriage, Jeneva Rose

We are firmly back in thriller territory with The Perfect Marriage. In this book, we are following husband and wife, Adam and Sarah who, like most couples, have their fair share of issues. Not the least of which is that Adam has been caught in an affair and is the prime suspect in the murder of his mistress! Sarah, a well-respected attorney at a powerful law firm, agrees to act as Adam’s defense, but is not so convinced Adam is telling her the entire truth.

Just how reliable can Adam or Sarah be in this situation? Your book club will be on the edge of their seats to find out, and you can use our Perfect Marriage book club guide to discuss it.

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Book Club questions for None of This is True.

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