Questions and Topics for Discussion:
1. In Have You Found Her, Janice has gone back to the shelter where she once lived in order to volunteer. She also voluntarily accepts a great deal of responsibility for Sam's care and well-being. How else does the theme of volunteering apply in this book? Some self-help books discuss the notion of "volunteering for victimhood." Can either Sam or Janice be seen this way?
2. Another theme of the book is addiction. Both Sam and Janice have drug addictions, but they also exhibit other addictive behaviors. Can you identify these other addictive behaviors? How do these other addictions affect their lives, and the events of the story?
3. Janice often mentions her skin color, ethnic background, and economic class, as well as the color, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation of the girls at the shelter. How do you think color, ethnicity, class, and sexuality play into the events of the story? Do you think such issues are handled sensitively in this book?
4. Janice admits to lying, taking drugs, and evading rules a number of times in the book. Does this influence your perception of her as a reliable narrator? Why or why not?
5. Janice is also a writer, as is Sam. How do you think Janice's being a writer affected the events of the story? Does this make her more or less reliable as a narrator?
6. Were you surprised by the conditions of the shelter as Janice describes them? What do you think of the shelter system, and how do you think it could be improved? What kind of services do you think should be available to homeless and addicted youth?
7. Have you ever known someone like Sam? Is there anything about her behavior that you recognize in other people, or even in yourself? How do you think her behavior differs from that of "normal" people?
8. On page 336, Janice writes, "Something had happened in that house… something that had helped make Sam very, very sick." Do you agree with her assessment? Do you think Sam's sickness was a product of her upbringing, or biological in nature? Do you think her parents were responsible for making her the way she was?
9. One title that was suggested for this book was Sucker: A Love Story. Do you think that title is apt?
10. What do you think happened to the redhead who panhandled on Janice's block? What about the other graduates of the shelter? What kind of outcomes do you imagine for these girls?
(Note: Janice is available to call in to your book club meeting -- email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.)