The Unmaking of June Farrow Book Club Questions and Discussion Guide

Your book club made a great choice in picking The Unmaking of June Farrow. There’s so much to talk about with this book! This was definitely not a book that you could skim, it took all of my concentration to stay on top of the overlapping storylines and twisty time travel. June’s journey to eliminate the curse that has plagued the women in her family sets her on a complicated, time warping path. In addition to the time travel rules, the book explores themes of motherhood, memory and sacrifice.

This The Unmaking of June Farrow discussion guide will help you and your book group unpack all of that. We’ve got 10 book club questions for The Unmaking of June Farrow, along with a synopsis, some selected reviews and three related reads (for next month’s book club).

The Unmaking of June Farrow book club questions, with book cover.

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The Unmaking of June Farrow 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.)

The Unmaking of June Farrow, Adrienne Young

In the small mountain town of Jasper, North Carolina, June Farrow is waiting for fate to find her. The Farrow women are known for their thriving flower farm—and the mysterious curse that has plagued their family line. The whole town remembers the madness that led to Susanna Farrow’s disappearance, leaving June to be raised by her grandmother and haunted by rumors.

It’s been a year since June started seeing and hearing things that weren’t there. Faint wind chimes, a voice calling her name, and a mysterious door appearing out of nowhere—the signs of what June always knew was coming. But June is determined to end the curse once and for all, even if she must sacrifice finding love and having a family of her own.

After her grandmother’s death, June discovers a series of cryptic clues regarding her mother’sdecades-old disappearance, except they only lead to more questions. But could the door she once assumed was a hallucination be the answer she’s been searching for? The next time it appears, June realizes she can touch it and walk past the threshold. And when she does, she embarks on a journey that will not only change both the past and the future, but also uncover the lingering mysteries of her small town and entangle her heart in an epic star-crossed love.

10 Book Club Questions for The Unmaking of June Farrow

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. The primary question for this book, and one that you could spend all of book club discussing are the rules regarding how the time travel worked? Did they make sense to you? And if not, which element was the most confusing for you?
  2. All books with a time travel element have to create a series of rules which govern the time travel…and consequences for what happens when those rules are broken. Compare some of the rules in June Farrow with other time travel books. What are some key differences?
  3. The book opens with this quote- “The easiest and most widely accepted explanation for my mother’s strange disappearance was madness—the same affliction to befall every woman in my family for as far back as anyone could remember. We were cursed—the Farrow women.”

    This is June’s point of view at the beginning of the story, but how does her viewpoint change as she learns more about how the locket and doors work?
  4. Most of the action in the book occurs in 2022 and 1951. What aspects of Jasper are the same…and what has changed in the intervening 71 years?
  5. “Time is like a rope, made of many fibers, and when they’re bound up together, they make one strong timeline.”

    The book uses the rope as a metaphor for how time works…and how it frays when there is too much travel between the timeframes. Did that metaphor work for you?
  6. “I’d been wrong about the June who came through that door five years ago. I’d hated her for the choice she made because I thought it was cruel. I thought it careless. But this aching love that was breaking ground inside of me didn’t feel selfish. It felt brave.”

    2022 June had made the choice to try to break the curse by not having children. But 1951 June found herself falling in love with both Annie and Eamon. Was it selfish? Or was it brave?
  7. Motherhood is a major theme in the book. But because of the intertwining timelines, the generational relationships were somewhat mixed up. How did this affect how Esther, Margaret/Gran, Suzanna, Annie/Birdie and June interacted with one another?
  8. The plot is very female-centric. Were the men ancillary to the story, or key to it? Alternatively, which of the male characters was most key to the story?
  9. Memory is an important element in the story. June “remembers” memories with Mason that seem to be in the future. And the longer she stays in 1951, the more she remembers of meeting Eamon and the more she forgets of 2022. How is this device important to the story?
  10. If a random weathered red door simply appeared in your backyard, would you step through it?

Selected Reviews for The Unmaking of June Farrow

(Use these selected Goodreads reviews to compare with your own experience of the book. Do you agree or disagree with the reviews?)

“I haven’t experienced the greatest joy and brilliance of what-the-heck-I-just-read kind of twisty, brain cell burner fantasy/sci-fi novel, giving me the same feelings of binge-watching the craziest Black Mirror episodes and Chris Nolan’s complexly written movies at the same time!”

“For starters, this book is pitched as magical realism but it’s really more like watered down diet sci-fi. the “curse” was extremely convoluted, and utilized a trope that I, personally, don’t enjoy; and dear God did this book drag. it dragged like that alien Will Smith hauled through the desert in Independence Day. it felt so bogged down in mundane details given to us via a very passive narrator who felt about as substantial as a Flat Stanley doll.”

“I love that the theme of this book is love, but mainly familial. The women in this book are so strong and protective of each other. No family is perfect, and there are moments where they hurt each other in the process of trying to love. Seeing the love of mothers, daughters, and granddaughters portrayed in such a profound and realistic way was very touching […]”

” […] it’s not explained at all how this curse came to be or why the Farrow women specifically are affected by it, and there’s very little understanding about it as a whole, which i found frustrating at times. it was also frustrating that so much of the story was driven by people choosing to withhold information from June even when she would ask a direct question. i thought the climax of all the small town drama was painfully toothless.”


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

3 Books Like The Unmaking of June Farrow

Some have compared the “what if I had made different choices” element as similar to The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, for which we have a discussion guide. We’ve also got a guide for Weyward, which is a story imbued with light magic and the curse of trauma that has carried through the generations.

The links will take you to a discussion guide and there will be a synopsis for each book toward the top of the article.

The Covenant of Water, book cover.

The Covenant of Water, Abraham Verghese

If you want more female-centric stories with curses that carry on through generations, this is your next read. Verghese’s sprawling tale opens with the 1900 marriage of a 12-year-old girl to a 40-year-old widower with a young child. The bride becomes “Big Ammachi”, the matriarch to a large Kerala family. They are plagued by “the condition”, in which a mysterious drowning occurs every generation. Fear of water looms large in the family even as the book tackles themes of colonial history, the caste system and classism.

Read it for book club and use our The Covenant of Water discussion guide.

The Time Traveler's Wife, book cover.

The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

I thought of this book a lot while reading June Farrow. And just in cause you didn’t read it when it hit big in 2014, now would be a great time to pick it up.

The book is a tender love story between Henry and Clare. Their relationship is made difficult by Henry’s “chrono displacement” ailment, which is a condition that suddenly whisks him into a different timelines. He meets, falls in love with and conducts a loving relationship with Clare….out of chronological order.

Wayward, book cover.

Weyward, Emilia Hart

This book covers three time periods and three story lines involving Weyward family women. In 1619, Altha is accused of witchcraft, in 1940 Violet is dealing with a frosty father and a dead mother, and in 2019, pregnant Kate flees her abusive boyfriend.

All three are subjected to the whims and cruelties of the patriarchy. But they persevere thanks to a strong dose of magic and raw determination. Billed as “where Margaret Atwood meets Practical Magic.”

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The Unmaking of June Farrow discussion guide.

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