Shug – Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Age Level: 9+
Reader’s Annotation: AnneMarie, or Shug as her mother calls her, is torn. She is really excited about starting middle school and getting new school supplies. At the same time, she knows that life is going to change. Then one day she starts liking her best friend, her Daddy stops coming home, and a boy she hated stands up for her.
Summary: Shug is a wonderfully likeable girl next door character. She strives to be beautiful like her sister Celia, special like her momma, and really “seen” by her best friend next door. When middle school starts everything starts to slowly unravel. The boy next door kisses someone else and her best friend accuses her of being selfish. Life for Shug has become complicated and gets worse when she opens her eyes to her momma’s drinking. Pushed to the brink when a dance goes bad, Shug is forced to accept her life as it.
Evaluation: Shug is a great character and this book is a real winner. Growing up is tough, and Shug’s story hits all the right notes. Her voice is authentic and the trials she faces are real. Her struggle to stay true to herself while her world changes rapidly is admirable and readers will understand where she is coming from. This would be great paired with Ida B by Hannigan.
Author Info: A quirk – the author’s name is pronounced by Han Solo.
Booktalk Ideas: Middle school – what’s scary, what’s not
Challenges: Frank discussion of menstruation.
Selection: I love the cover. I’ve been meaning to read this one for years.