SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS

Jennifer Scott

The national bestselling author of The Accidental Book Club shares a novel of four ordinary women rediscovering themselves and their futures at the most unexpected time…

Karen Freeman, Melinda Crocker, and Joanna Chambers have never met—but every morning they get their coffee at the Tea Rose Diner. Karen stops in on her way to the office job she’s held for more than twenty years, wondering how her sweet-faced boy turned into a misguided young man. EMT Melinda fuels up for her days helping others, after nights spent worrying her fear of having children could drive her husband away.

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The national bestselling author of The Accidental Book Club shares a novel of four ordinary women rediscovering themselves and their futures at the most unexpected time…

Karen Freeman, Melinda Crocker, and Joanna Chambers have never met—but every morning they get their coffee at the Tea Rose Diner. Karen stops in on her way to the office job she’s held for more than twenty years, wondering how her sweet-faced boy turned into a misguided young man. EMT Melinda fuels up for her days helping others, after nights spent worrying her fear of having children could drive her husband away. And Joanna, with her long blonde hair and bohemian flair, digs into the Boston cream pie and hides—from her friends, from her family, and most importantly, from herself.

Their paths may have never crossed. But one morning, on the lawn of the Tea Rose, the three women collide during a searing event in the life of twenty-something Maddie Routh. In the nine months that follow, they return to the spot over and over. To discover what it means to be a mother, a wife, a lover, a friend. To find Maddie Routh. And to find themselves. Despite the challenges they’ve faced, these four women unite to show us second chances do exist, if only we have the courage to see them.

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  • NAL
  • Paperback
  • May 2015
  • 352 Pages
  • 9780451473233

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About Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is the national bestselling, award-winning author of Second Chance Friends, The Accidental Book Club, and The Sister Season. Her acclaimed YA novels under a pseudonym, Jennifer Brown, have been selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA Perfect Ten, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.

Praise

A really wonderful book and a pleasure to read.” —Jen Lancaster, New York Times Bestselling Author of Best of Enemies and

I Regret Nothing

An uplifting story about the pull of the past, the need for forgiveness, and the redemptive power of familial love.” —Liza Gyllenhaal, Author of

A Place for Us

“Will have you laughing and crying at the same time.” —Fresh Fiction

A fantastic story about the (often dysfunctional) ties of family.” —Examiner.com

Discussion Questions

Small-town diners are often pictured as meeting places—places where we can see familiar faces, catch up on the neighborhood gossip, and enjoy a sense of inclusion. This story begins in such a place. But with the rise of social media and electronic devices, we’re also finding virtual communities. Do you still find a sense of community in places such as diners and bookstores in your neighborhood? Do you participate in virtual communities? Do you find these two things at odds with each other? Do they enhance each other?

The story is told mostly from the point of view of three different women: Karen, Melinda, and Joanna. Did one of them resonate with you more than the others? If so, why? Do you find yourself often drawn to the same types of characters in the books you read?

After the accident, Karen, Melinda, and Joanna decide to search out Maddie, the young woman in the accident. They come, unbidden, into her life. Do you believe them when they say they’re acting purely out of concern for her? Are they being nosy? Are they being supportive? Are these two sides of the same coin?

Discuss the different issues of motherhood the characters struggle with as the story builds. Think of Karen and her wayward son, or Melinda, who quietly deceives her husband to avoid having a child, and Maddie, who initially doesn’t want the child she’ll have. How do the women help one another through these issues? Does one of these issues resonate with you more than the others?

Romantic love and sexual identity are also issues confronting the characters. Think about their different conflicts in this area. Joanna, of course, comes readily to mind. But think also of Karen, who is in a very different phase of her life, and of Melinda, who is married. What challenges are they facing in their romantic lives? Do you think they work through them successfully? Do you feel they have work left to do when the story ends?

There are many secrets in this book—secrets the characters hide from themselves and from others. List the secrets you observe. Do they remain at the conclusion of the story? Do you have secrets you keep—from your friends, your family, or yourself? Do you think revealing them would help enrich your life? Are there times secrets are best kept concealed?

For women who become mothers, balancing the physical and emotional demands of a job with the role of motherhood can be difficult. In this story, Karen seems to be able to use her job to strengthen her position as a parent and grandparent. But Melinda decides she needs to leave her job as an EMT in order to be a mother. Do you understand their decisions? Do you believe them? Do you feel you’ve had to make similar choices in your own life?

For Joanna. the arts, and in particular theater, play a crucial role in her personal development. Has artistic expression helped you understand something about yourself?

The epilogue is a critical part of this story. What role does it play? Why do you imagine the author chose to write it in this format? And are the characters where you thought they might be in their lives?

This book begins with a tragedy—with an accident that claims lives. Yet it ends with great joy—a child is born and friendships have blossomed. So would you call it a sad book? A happy book? An honest book? Why? Have you had experiences that you feel are similar to what the women here have shared? Do you believe we can heal from the tragedies we’ve endured? Do they weaken us? Strengthen us? Or perhaps simply change us?

What scene did you find most moving in this book? Reread that section. Is it the language that moves you, the event that challenges you, the tone of the writing that affects you? Can you pinpoint why that scene in particular is moving? Did it bring you to tears? Make you laugh? Should fiction seek to do one or both of those things—or something else?