What would you do if you could live forever? Addie LaRue gets the chance to find out, but not without a catch. No one, not even her parents, will remember who she is, and she will be instantly forgotten by everyone she meets.
In an epic tale beginning in 1714 France, Addie begins her tale by desperately selling her soul in order to avoid the trappings of a small provincial life and marriage. But was it worth it? That’s the key question of the story, which you can discuss with the help of our The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue book club questions. Explore everything Addie experiences over her centuries-long life, her relationship with the Darkness, and with the only man who has ever remembered her.
In addition to question prompts, this discussion guide for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue includes a synopsis of the book and select reviews with different outlooks on the book. And if you’re looking for similar reads, we have three suggestions for you.
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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Synopsis
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V.E. Schwab
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
10 The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue 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.
- “I am stronger than your god and older than your devil. I am the darkness between stars, and the roots beneath the earth. I am promise, and potential, and when it comes to playing games, I divine the rules, I set the pieces, and I choose when to play.”
What did you make of Luc? Is he a demon, a god, a monster, or something else?
- What do you think of Addie’s choices? If you were in her situation, would you have done the same? Why or why not?
- Being so quickly forgotten makes Addie almost invisible, she’s able to get away with a lot of things, like stealing, sneaking into places, using people’s homes. What kind of mischief would you get into if you had that ability?
- “All she knows is that she is tired, and he is the place she wants to rest. And that, somehow, she was happy. But it is not love.”
Addie and Luc’s relationship is complicated and passionate. Do you think it is love? Or something else?
- “There are days when she mourns the prospect of another year, another decade, another century. There are nights when she cannot sleep, moments when she lies awake and dreams of dying. But then she wakes, and sees the pink and orange dawn against the clouds, hears the lament of a lone fiddle, the music and the melody, and remembers there is such beauty in the world. And she does not want to miss it – any of it.”
Addie never seems to tire of exploring the world’s art, music, and beauty. Do you think that would be enough to sustain you through a life all alone?
- “And then he whispers three words into her hair. “I love you,” he says, and Addie wonders if this is love, this gentle thing. If it is meant to be this soft, this kind. The difference between heat, and warmth. Passion, and contentment “I love you too,” she says. She wants it to be true.”
Do you think Addie loves Henry? Or does she love that he can remember her? How does her relationship with Henry differ from her relationship with Luc?
- “A secret kept. A record made. The first mark she left upon the world, long before she knew the truth, that ideas are so much wilder than memories, that they long and look for ways of taking root.”
Addie laments not being able to leave a record or make a mark on the world, how does she find ways of working around this?
- Time is discussed quite a bit in this story, the infinite amount of time Addie and Luc have, the brief amount of time Addie has with any particular person, and the short amount of time Henry thinks he has to live. What does it make you think about the amount of time in your own life, and what you do with it?
- Which character was your favorite? Why?
- What do you think will happen with Addie and Luc? Will she give in to him, will she defeat him, will they stay together?
Selected Reviews for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
“Overall, this book made me yearn for so many things while also constantly making me question what it is to hunger. To crave your freedom, to crave someone who will see all the parts of you, to crave remembrance.”
“Throughout her three hundred years of living, we aren’t shown Addie being in any other continents apart from the UK, Europe, and America. Addie knows French, Italian, Spanish, Greek but doesn’t think to learn other languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Afrikaans, Arabic, Hindi, you get the gist. It seems Addie LaRue wanted to be remembered, just not by people of colour. Someone managed to go around the world in 80 days whilst Addie has only visited three continents in three hundred years…I just find that this novel displayed such a white lens, it was blinding.””
“The premise is gripping, but it’s the author’s writing with its sentient quality—as though you can hear each word as it takes shape on the paper like a whisper in your ear, that unmistakable storyteller cadence that could turn a street corner into a sacred place—that made this novel so winning to me.”
“I understand that insignificant scenes of everyday life can have the ability to let readers fully connect, but what this book lacks is a clear point. Over-explaining is Schwab’s downfall with this one…Schwab kept substantiating the point she was trying to make a thousand different times in exactly the same ways, I ended up being bored out of my mind.
3 Books Like The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
If you like speculative fiction that focuses on life (and death), then check out our discussion guides for The Midnight Library (what if you had made different life choices), Sea of Tranquility (pandemic/dystopic sci-fi time travel), or The Measure (what if you knew when you were going to die).
How to Stop Time, Matt Haig
For another creative story about love and a centuries long life, How to Stop Time is an excellent choice. The main character Tom Hazard has been alive for centuries, and has been longing for an ordinary life. He is protected by a secret group, the Albatross Society, which has one rule: don’t fall in love. Of course, that is now the one thing he wants to do, and is forced to consider his life, love, loneliness, and the inevitable changes in life.
Circe, Madeline Miller
Like Addie, Circe is also an immortal trying to get away from family. In this retelling of Greek Mythology, the story focuses on the life of Circe, who was born into the house Helios. She does not fit in with the other gods in her family, and turns to mortals and witchcraft to find herself. After Zeus banishes her to her own island, she must battle to be true to herself and find her place among the gods and mortals. Circe tells the tale of how women’s stories are told through her life’s journey.
Read it for book club and use our discussion guide for Circe.
The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Daniel starts on a journey following a book mystery, every one of Julian Carax’s novels is being stolen and destroyed. As Daniel follows the mystery of this destruction, he is led on a path through Barcelona that takes him through mystical libraries, love, loss, darkness, and murder. Like Addie LaRue, it’s told in a moody, atmospheric setting, complete with a creepy, devil character.
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