Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Shug, by Jenny Han, 2006

All Annemarie 'Shug' Wilcox wants in this whole wide world is for Mark Frindley, her best friend and boy-next-door, to like her back. But he's got the hots for her gorgeous 16-year old sister Celia, like every other boy in town, and it looks like he's paired off with another seventh-grade girl. All the other new junior high students are pairing off, too, but Shug can't talk to her mom about it, because she's rarely sober, nor her father, because he's rarely home. Sterling middle-grade realism. A triumphant first novel that delivers on the promise of its opening, and then some, blending humor and tragedy adroitly. Complex, gritty, endearing characters and a voice that reeled this reader in hook, line, and sinker. Most strongly recommended.

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