For Book Clubs and Libraries

Hey! So glad you found your way here—I love when book clubs and libraries reach out. If you're local to me (Saskatchewan, Canada), feel free to email me ( about book club visits, readings, etc. I'm a member of the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild and they have a lot of great programs set up to help both of us arrange (and afford) author visits. The link is here, if you're interested.

If you're not local to me, definitely feel free to send a quick email anyway. I love to connect and answer questions.


(Thanks to Kate Evenson for these!)

  1. Valencia says that debt is the meaning of life (page 4). What does she mean by this, and do you agree?

  1. How did you think the stories of Valencia and Mrs. Valentine would intersect? Were you surprised at how they did?

  1. Anna says her mother always tells her “fear of other people could turn into hate if you didn’t try to understand them” (page 92). Do you have an example of a time in your life that you feared or hated someone, but understanding them changed your mind?

  1. Has this book changed your view of people with a mental illness in general and with OCD specifically?

  1. Mrs. Valentine “knows that people don’t want to talk about heartbreaking things, for your sake or theirs; you have to trick them into it” (page 42). How true do you think this is? What makes someone more willing to talk about heartbreaking things?

  1. What does the story Mrs. Valentine tells Anna about her life have in common with how things really happened? What events and details did she change, and why do you think she changed them?

  1. If you were taking part in the music boxes project, what would you write on the piece of paper, and what song lyric would you put on the envelope?

  1. How culpable do you think Valencia is for Charlene’s death?

  1. Have you learned to find joy in staying still? If you have, what has helped you be able to do that?

  1. Mrs. Valentine says, “Playing make-believe in order to make yourself feel better isn’t just for little kids” (page 224). What does Mrs. Valentine ‘make-believe’ about her life that isn’t actually true? Do you think this is a helpful way to cope with her losses, or something dangerous she should not do?

  1. Mrs. Valentine says, “A song can be sad and beautiful at the same time. Life too” (page 240). Do you agree? Is this book sad and beautiful, just one, or something else?

  1. Mrs. Valentine says to Anna, “What’s the difference between me telling you something that happened and something I made up? They’re both the same to you. They’re both real to you” (page 224). Do you agree with Mrs. Valentine? What matters more, the truth or a good story?


And just for fun, here's a playlist I made when I was writing V&V. The song Mrs. Valentine plays on repeat in her apartment is in there, as well as the song that inspired a lot of the book, and the song that gave me Valencia's name.