Discussion Questions

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read the book yet, you may not want to read on.

1. So many times, Amber claims to be “sorta like a rock star.” What exactly does she mean?

2. At the beginning of the novel, Amber is homeless and living on a school bus with her alcoholic mother. She has every reason to give up hope. What keeps Amber moving forward?

3. Is Amber a mature or immature seventeen year old?

4. When Amber’s mother falters, several adults emerge as parental figures. Which one of these characters plays the most important role in Amber’s life?

5. How is Amber able to keep her homelessness a secret? What does the secret say about Amber? Her community?

6. Why does Amber feel such an intense need to take care of others?

7. Amber creates her own unique language by mixing and matching popular catch phrases with her own quirky expressions. Why does Amber speak the way she does?

8. Why does Amber seek out relationships with men like Father Chee, Mr. Franks, Private Jackson, and Old Man Linder? What do they all have in common? What makes each man uniquely important to Amber?

9. All of Amber’s friends are boys and Donna seems to be the only woman on whom Amber relies. Why?

10. What role does humor play in Amber’s life? Joan of Old tells Amber, “Laugh at yourself and others will always laugh with you.” What does she mean by this? Do you think Joan’s statement is true?

11. Why do so many people end up caring about Amber?

12. Amber claims to be a “hope spreader.” Have you ever known a real-life hope spreader?