Plano Reads: Need to Know

Discuss our January book for the Young@Heart Book Club on Monday, January 13 at 7 pm at Harrington Library.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland is our January book choice for the Young@Heart Book Club, meeting Monday, January 13 at Harrington Library at 7 pm. Young@Heart is our newest book club, and is geared for adults who enjoy reading about the lives and emotional experiences of young characters. We will explore adult and young adult fiction and nonfiction for readers who feel “young at heart.” See our 2020 Young@Heart book list here to prepare for future meetings.

Place a hold for Need to Know through the library catalog in the following formats: print | eBook | eAudiobook

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight. After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her–her job, her husband, even her four children–are threatened. Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust? — Summary of Need to Know by Karen Cleveland provided by publisher.

This book is a tense and page-turning piece of fiction that is hard to put down once you begin. It challenges the reader to think about how far they would go to protect the ones that they love and to ponder the meaning of loyalty and trust. Karen Cleveland expertly taps into her experience of being a CIA analyst in order to lend atmospherics and authenticity to the story. Readers also will find themselves wondering what they would do in a similar situation, and whether they agree or disagree with the choices that Vivian makes throughout the course of the novel. Need to Know is a very promising start for an author I feel will be a force in the future. – William at Harrington Library

Curious about this new author? Find out more about Karen Cleveland on her website.

Check out this review and interview with Karen Cleveland from The Real Book Spy, or, listen to this interview with Karen Cleveland from CBC Radio.

Below are some discussion questions sourced from Reading Group Guides. Use them to delve deeper into Need to Know:

  1. Did you believe Matt when he assured Vivian that his intentions were pure? Were you suspicious of him at any point in the novel? Why?
  2. Vivian tampers with confidential CIA files and programs multiple times throughout the novel. Were the things she did unethical or justified? Did she jeopardize the nation’s security?
  3. Karen Cleveland was a CIA analyst herself. Think about the scenes where Vivian is inside the CIA headquarters. What details interested or surprised you? Did you feel you had an inside perspective into the processes of the CIA?

If you’ve read Need to Know, or just want to be part of our club, join us on Monday, January 13 at 7 pm at Harrington Library for our Young@Heart Book Club.

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