Reading Guides

How to be Cool
Johanna Edwards



Kylie Chase was convinced that losing weight would make her life perfect—and it did for a while. After shedding seventy-five pounds, she reinvented herself as a savvy trendsetter and started teaching classes transforming those who were socially inept to chic and fabulous.

But when her apartment burns down, she’s forced to move back in with her parents, which is most definitely not cool. To make matters worse, a sexy journalist has been shadowing her every move, trying to uncover her past.

The stress is driving Kylie nuts, and the weight she struggled to remove is creeping back on. But with the help of her best friend Ruby, a confident plus-size model, Kylie’s starting to learn that appearances aren’t everything—and that maybe being the queen of cool isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.



Johanna Edwards Johanna Edwards, the author of Your Big Break and The Next Big Thing, is an award-winning journalist and radio/TV producer who has written for Woman’s Day and Figure magazine. Visit her website at


“Engaging…Edwards is good where it counts.” ––Boston Globe

“A light-hearted, well-plotted debut with a surprise romantic ending.” ––USA Today

“A fresh, funny treat.” ––Jennifer Weiner, author of Goodnight, Nobody



  1. To steer her clients away from their poor self-images, Kylie tells them that they are exactly who they think they are. If you think you’re a nerd, you’re a nerd; if you think you’re cool, you’re cool. How do you think Kylie truly perceived herself at the beginning of the book? Did her self-perception change at the end?

  2. Kylie can trace most of her insecurities back to a time in her life when she was overweight. Ruby is a plus-size model, yet her self-image is much more positive. Why do you feel that is? What made Ruby’s persona so different from Kylie’s at the end of the book?

  3. Kylie speculates, “Coolness is a complicated issue. For starters, there are a million different kinds of cool: arthouse, trendy, retro, glamour, laid back, et cetera.” Do you agree with her statement? Do you have your own definition of cool? Has it changed since reading the book?

  4. When in your life have you felt cool, and why?

  5. Discuss Kylie’s complex relationship with her mother, the former model and Studio 54 groupie. Did you feel she was supportive of Kylie?

  6. Do you feel Kylie’s personal makeover simplified or complicated her life?

  7. When Dennis Moop wants to attend a Star Wars convention on a first date, Kylie discourages him. Does being cool sometimes mean temporarily denying your true nature, and if so, is it worth it? What do you think Kylie would say?

  8. Were there any hints along the way that made you doubt Ty Benedict’s motives? How does Kylie’s history with men influence her treatment of Ty Benedict?

  9. How do you feel Kylie’s father informed her personality?

  10. In the end, Patrick helps Kylie come to some conclusions about her career as a cool instructor. She decides that all she’s been doing is “helping people fake it.” Yet she saved Charity, the Paris Hilton wannabe, from making some big mistakes that would have ruined her dream of co-running a boutique with Kylie. Is Kylie being too hard on herself? Or is the cool instructor gig essentially just teaching people how to fake it?