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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Someone Else's Love Story

1. What does the title tell you about the story this story? What do we learn from the first line? How does the book's opening set the stage for the events that follow?

2. "That afternoon in the Circle K, I deserved to know, right off, that I had landed bang in the middle of a love story. Especially since it wasn't --- it isn't --- it could never be, my own." Why could this story never be Shandi's? If it's not hers, than whose love story is it?

3. Everyone sees William as a hero for his acts during the robbery. How does William answer this? Would you call it brave? Why did Shandi have such faith that William would save them?

4. Destiny and choice are major themes in the novel. What does destiny mean to William? What about Shandi?

5. Shandi and Walcott have known each other forever. Discuss their relationship. How is it transformed? Why do we often miss the obvious in our lives?

6. How do the religious references sprinkled through the story --- Natty's virgin birth for example --- add a deeper level of flavor and meaning to the book?

7. Why is William angry with Bridget and not her "imaginary God"? When bad things happen most people blame God. Why? Why doesn't William?

8. Think about the novel's structure. The story moves back in forth in time between Shandi and Williams's pasts and their present. How does this form of storytelling shape your reading experience and comprehension of events as they unfold? How would the story be different if it began with William instead of Shandi?

9. How does their meeting change both William and Shandi? Would you call their meeting fate or destiny or maybe a miracle? "It isn't every day he meets a girl who killed a miracle," William thinks when he agrees to help Shandi. Why does her having "killed" a miracle so intrigue him?

10. How do each of these characters' certainties and beliefs change when they are confronted by unexpected circumstances --- the robbery, the fireworks, the DNA results, meeting Natty's father, for example?

11. The possibility of goodness and forgiveness are also themes in the book. Talk about how they are demonstrated in various characters' lives and experiences.

12. How many different kind of love stories are in the book? How do they all intertwine?

13. We're you surprised at the ending? Was it exactly what should happen for all the characters?

Someone Else's Love Story
by Joshilyn Jackson

  • Publication Date: August 5, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062105663
  • ISBN-13: 9780062105660