Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Review: Shug by Jenny Han

Shugis an ordinary 12-year-old girl, just starting junior high (real name: Annemarie). She also just realized she's in love with her best-friend-since-forever Mark. But, when school starts, Shug realized there's a lot more changes happening than just switching schools.

Things I Liked:
This book captures almost perfectly the awkward transition from kid to tween. Shug (short for sugar, not like shrug) is at that tricky stage where she likes someone, but isn't sure if he likes her back. The intricacies of being popular and accepted at her new school are proving too much for her and she is saddened to watch all her old friends drift away from her. The changes that happen in this time of life were very real and I almost felt like I was right back there with her; dealing with my own ugly duckling years where my best friend left me behind to be popular (but not in such a mean and horrible way). It was really well done.

Things I Didn't Like:
I was just the tiniest bit annoyed by the fact that their favorite book was The Color Purple. But, that's probably because I loathed that book. Purely my own personal reaction. And that I'd be reluctant to let my 12-year-old pick it up, no matter how mature.

Really reminded me of Flippedby Wendelin Van Draanen
A little like Stargirlby Jerry Spinelli

s-factor: !
maybe one or two

mrg-factor: none
kissing only

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ****


  1. Great review, Melissa. But can you give me a rundown of the content ratings and what they stand for? I can guess, though...

    I didn't like the Color Purple either. It feels good to admit that, and get it off my chest.

  2. Brodi, there is an "about the ratings" place on my sidebar, but basically it says:

    s-factor is swearing content (number of characters indicates the amount of swearing)
    mrg-factor is mature romantic garbage (yeah, yeah, you know what that is) - number of symbols again indicates amount
    v-factor is violence (and sometimes scary stuff), # indicates amount
    Overall is my subjective opinion of the book.

    They are all on a scale of 1-5.

    Clear as mud? Yeah, just getting that vibe myself. Maybe I should move up that explanatory section higher on the blog.

    So glad I'm not the only one who loathed The Color Purple.

  3. I just discovered your blog and I'm so excited! I spent last night looking back through lots of your past reviews and adding way too many books to my TBR list (we seem to have similar tastes!). Thank you for including your content ratings -- it's so nice to have a "heads up" on things like that. So glad I found you here! :-)

  4. Gayle, welcome! I'm so glad you found more to read. If you ever have suggestions, feel free to let me know!

  5. Glad you liked it. I liked how Jenny Han captures that middle-grade awkwardness as well. (She did a pretty good job of it in her next book, too.)

    And I've never had a desire to read The Color Purple, so it didn't really bother me.... :-)

  6. This book is driving me crazy.

    Why? you ask.

    Because the title looks like a typo.

    I'm too OCD for this....


  7. Melissa, I'll have to look up her next book too. I can see that if you don't know the book, you won't be bothered by its references.

    Britt, it bothered me a lot too. It looks a little naked on the cover, like it is missing an R.


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